Monastery Country Cheese Gouda is produced by the sisters of Our Lady of the Angels Monastery, located in Crozet, Virginia. The cheese was developed in 1990 as a way for the sisters to remain self-sufficient.
The sisters use traditional methods to produce this Dutch-style Gouda. The milk of pasture-fed dairy cows is brought in to the monastery every week where the nuns begin the production process.
After pasteurizing the milk, cultures and rennet are added and the curds are cut by hand before gently setting them in molds to drain. After unmolding, the finished cheeses are immersed in a salt brine and a breathable rind is applied by hand to each wheel to protect it during the two-month aging process. Prior to shipping, the wheels are dipped in red wax.
The result is a semi-firm Gouda with a golden yellow paste. It has a smooth, dense texture that is still a bit moist with a bit of snap. The sweet and mild flavor of the cheese has notes of grass and sweet milk.
Pair it with an Amber Ale to enhance nutty undertones in the cheese and balance the dense texture.