Friday, February 22, 2008

Marieke Gouda

If you're looking for an amazing, authentic, farmstead gouda made in Wisconsin, look no farther than Marieke Gouda.

It's been awhile since I tried the many flavors of Marieke Gouda, but I was in luck today, as she is the guest cheesemaker of the month at Fromagination in Madison and was at the shop in person, sampling her cheeses.

I first met Marieke last summer at her farmstead grand opening near Thorp, Wis., and immediately fell in love with not only her cheese, but also her family. She and husband Rolf have four children: twin girls, Luna & Joyce -- adorable tots who just turned four this month -- Dean, 18 months and little Fenna, whom I have yet to meet, 5 months old.

The Pentermans milk 480 cows and pipe fresh milk to their on-farm cheese plant, where Marieke and four employees craft 13 flavors of gouda and age them on wooden planks. One has to wonder how this wife, mother and cheesemaker constantly finds time to come up with new recipes, but she's done it again.

I tried her new cumin gouda -- YUM -- it may be a new favorite to rival my previous all-time favorite -- Marieke Feonegreek Gouda -- and watched in delight as dozens of people coming into the shop tasted her cheese for the first time. She's got something for everyone -- from plain to melange mustard, to burning nettle, to garden herb, to black pepper.

Never one to sit still, Marieke also has a couple of new gouda recipes in development. The first is a cumin smoked gouda -- she's got one wheel aging to perfection in her cellar as we speak -- and another secret variety still in the experimental stage. She wouldn't divulge any details and only said it is "very Wisconsin and everyone will love it."

Hmmm -- very Wisconsin and everyone will love it -- and it's a gouda. Gotta wonder what that might be, but I know I'm looking forward to it!

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