Parrano is a hard cow’s milk cheese made in Holland.  It is a gouda-style cheese that uses Parmesan Reggiano cheese cultures during production.  According to our cheesemonger, this is a relatively new Dutch cheese, with production beginning in the 1970’s.  Parrano is aged for 5 months and has a waxed rind.

Parrano

Parrano is the color of cheese pizza, with bland interior shades and a sharply contrasting red rind.  Parrano’s interior is light yellow-orange, darkening to orange-brown near its rind.  The waxed rind is labeled.

To the touch, Parrano is solid and firm.  Its surface is smooth with small intermittent holes.

Parrano is like a distant cousin of Parmesan Reggiano: it has the aroma and nutty flavors of Parmesan Reggiano, but is closer in texture and mouth feel to Gouda.  Parrano is milder than Parmesan Reggiano, not as salty or nutty and it lacks a long after-taste.  Its texture is flaky like Gouda and has that cheese’s creamier mouth feel.

Parrano is a modest diversion from the traditional Aged Goudas of Holland.  Our tasters were mixed on this cheese; those that already enjoyed Parmesan Reggiano liked this cheese, while others thought it too tangy and reminiscent of Aged Gouda. Parrano is a cheese somewhere in between Aged Gouda and Parmesan Reggiano, so comparisons to those two mother cheeses were inevitable.  This is a nice hard cheese for a picnic or as an everyday snacking cheese, but it’s not compelling enough to put on a party plate.

Lampchopper

Lamp Chopper

Lamb Chopper is a sheep’s milk gouda made in Holland specifically for Cypress Grove Chevre (of Arcata, California).  Lamb Chopper is a firm cheese made from pasteurized milk and is aged for 3 months.  It has a dark waxed rind.

The interior of Lamb Chopper is a pleasant beige, turning to a deeper gold at the rind.  The surface of the cheese has small, shallow dimples yet is otherwise smooth to the touch. Lamp Chopper is easier to slice than the aged gouda we tried in early June and does not have the aged gouda’s flakiness.

Lamb Chopper’s scent is akin to parmesan “with more pump.”  The odor is tangy and sharp, but not unpleasant.

The flavor of Lamb Chopper is similar to an aged gouda or sharp cheddar in that its flavor is tangy and salty.  However, we found Lamb Chopper more mellow and with creamier mouth feel than the aged gouda we tried in early June.  Lamb Chopper’s flavor does not linger on the tongue.

Lamb Chopper failed to win over Ben and Jacob and neither suggested that I buy this cheese again. Since neither was a big fan of the aged gouda, I am curious to explore if there are any gouda-style cheeses that will catch their fancy.

Lamb Chopper is more mellow than an aged gouda in color, initial flavor and aftertaste. This would be a nice cheese to share with family (especially those with small kids) or take on a picnic.

Dutch Gouda, Aged 2 Years

Gouda, Aged 2 Years

Gouda can be a young semi-soft cheese or an aged hard cheese.  We tried a dutch Gouda that had been aged for 2 years.  This cheese is made from cow’s milk. Our sample of Aged Gouda is the color of uncooked pasta, deepening in color towards the rind. Ben noticed that it’s hard surface was slippery like glass yet uneven with some dimples and bulges.  Jacob said the cheese had an aroma similar to parmesan cheese. The cheese is hard and dense with a thick rind.  Use a sharp knife with this cheese as it is hard to cut.  Slices flake from the cheese. A small flake packs a lot of flavor.  Jacob and Ben agreed that this cheese is tangy–very tangy.  Ben commented that it had an even tangier after taste (we need to develop a tang-o-meter to scale cheeses on this adjective).  Neither was willing to buy it again.  I’m partial to hard aged cheeses and I liked it.  Matt was ambivalent. The 2-year Aged Gouda may not warrant a second try for us, but it would make a fitting end to a rustic meal.