Edam finds its origins in the northern regions of the Netherlands, with milk from cows or goats allowing this semi-hard cheese to attain its savory flavor. Left to age, it intensifies in taste, while creamy textures and milder undertones fill your palate when it is enjoyed young. A mellow blend of creamy and nutty tones comprises the base, with hints of salt appearing in gentle sparks. Displaying a springy texture in its youth, it approaches a drier, more crumbly consistency over time.
Paired with rich fruit (i.e. apricots, peaches and cherries), young Edam delights in brightly contrasting the lively and fresh tones of its counterparts. As a starter or dessert, aged variants blossom when coupled with zesty apples or pears.
Also produced in Spain, North and South America , Edam is considered a delicacy and a great option for younger audiences with its softer nuances and texture.
The production of Edam focuses on simple, yet flavorful ingredients to produce a powerhouse of soothing flavors and textures. The flavors are left to settle on their own without any means of acceleration or artificial seasoning.
Natural animal rennet is added to pasteurized cow’s milk. This triggers coagulation and helps create the curd. Once set and formed, the curd is then cut and separated, allowing the whey to strain off. The draining of excess whey promotes the ideal concentration of flavor and texture, preventing any trace of acidity and bitterness. Once fully drained, the curd is placed into molds or pressed into spheres. A thorough brining of salt inhibits any unwanted bacterial growth, while simultaneously adding flavor. The next month is spent maturing on wooden shelves, with mature cheeses reaching aging periods of up to one year. If the cheese is to be exported, the rind is covered in wax to ease transportation and shield against contamination.
Traditionally, no additives or preservatives are used in the production of Edam, making most versions gluten free. However, vegetarians should note the source of the rennet and will want to avoid Edam if it is made with animal rennet. Be sure to check the label in any case.
Mild semi-hard cheeses can offer similar but unique angles when substituting Edam in a dish.
Equally mild in taste, Gouda shares nearly identical qualities with Edam. Dense and springy in texture, this cheese features sweet and creamy tones with notes of hazelnut and soft butter.
A sharper, bolder stand-in for Edam, Cheddar is ideal when looking for a cheese that can stand on its own or be paired with other ingredients. It boasts tones of hazelnut and caramelized butter as its signature flavors.
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