Gouda pittig: Loves me a like a rock

pittig (Wiktionary definition)

  1. (taste) piquant, spicy
  2. (person) energetic and having a strong character
  3. serious and difficult
  4. pithy, terse

Take it from me, when your job is to sample and sell gouda pittig, all of the above definitions apply.

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This incredibly flavorful, four-year-aged, Dutch cheese reminds me of a Minnesota lake in the dead of winter, six feet deep, hard as a rock yet cracked and pocked as though someone took a tiny mallet to its surface.

And straight out of a cooler, it is the very devil to cut.

You don’t slice a pittig sample as much as you shave off some crumbly bits that burst with sharp, rich flavors. I’m told one of our cheese shop customers runs a grater over it and uses the powder as a seasoning.

So what’s the big deal about pittig? Aside from its unique look and taste, this cheese is naturally lactose-free. The aging process converts lactose into lactic acid. The longer a cheese is aged, the less lactose it contains.

And this butterscotch baby has been sitting on a shelf for four long years. There’s literally no lactose left to bother you.

One word of warning: Aged cheeses are typically more expensive than younger ones. But the rich flavor means you’ll need less to satisfy your “cheese tooth.”

About the cheese: Dutch cheesemakers use pasteurized cow’s milk to create gouda pittig. You’ll notice a bit of a crunch, a complex, caramel and/or butterscotch flavor, and a bold finish. And do yourself a favor: Let the pittig warm up to room temperature before putting a knife to it.

Related: You’re probably pronouncing “gouda” wrong.