Where's a good place to start? The label, maybe? Note that it says "caramel washed" rather than caramel-infused or caramel-flavored. In fact, there's not a ton of caramel taste here, much to my chagrin. I mean, there's almost something innately caramel-esque in other gouda cheeses I've had, and this variety doesn't seem to be head-and-shoulders more caramelly, if that makes sense. There's still just a whisper of caramel.
The cheese is nutty and creamy, and perhaps a bit bolder than other goudas I've tried by virtue of this one having "aged 5 months." It's rich and ever so slightly sweet. Yes, I do wish it were a tad sweeter.
Although just now as I'm writing this, Sonia has used the remaining portions of our block of gouda to make grilled cheese...and it tastes sweeter than I remember. It actually makes a very decent, exotic-tasting sandwich. I much prefer it this way to room temperature, served on crackers. It's almost like the heat woke up the flavors, including the sweetness. The texture is better this way, too.
Sonia points out that it's not as oily as other goudas, which is a big plus in her book. It's nice and thick and creamy, texture-wise, but not super greasy. She gives this cheese a solid four and a definite thumbs up. I might have been tempted to go lower, but after having it as a grilled cheese sandwich, I think it's easily in the "would purchase again" tier of cheeses, so I'll go with a respectable three and a half. Apparently Trader Joe's Caramel Washed Gouda has been around for at least seven years or so. "Better late than never" applies here.
Bottom line: 7.5 out of 10.
Just picked this up last night with some sourdough and will definitely be turning it into grilled cheese after your review. Thanks!ReplyDelete