Picture if you will, a decadent treat, rich with notes of butterscotch, caramel, perfectly firm and crunchy, with the occasional bite of sea salt.
Only it's not a butterscotch rice crispy treat, nor a toffee crunch cake, it's cheese. Blissfully delicious, fit for royalty, can't get enough of it cheese.
Hailed from the Netherlands, this is Noord Hollander, the golden brittle of cheese.
This deep pumpkin-colored orange beauty bears the traditional and welcoming Swiss eyes and a flinty surface.
It's a champion cow's milk Gouda, not your run of the mill, trip to the corner market, sort of Gouda. This is the Gouda of mother Queens, Maharajas, and the grandest of Dukes.
You'd be hard pressed to find this decadent hard pressed cheese, but trust me when I say that sinking your teeth into the snap, crackle, pop, feel-good, crunchy sensation of unfathomable texture calls for a trip to the specialty shop that will be well worth your while.
And what exactly are those crunchies you ask?
No, they're not Pop Rocks, but bits of amino acid clusters, or what I liked to call the protein gemstones indicative of a well aged cheese.
These bits become trapped within chains of proteins following acidification and after quite some time, the protein chains begin to unwind, leaving behind those fantastically rich, crunchy deposits, while adding textural intensity throughout.
The end result is a cheese aesthetic perfectly suited for a Facebook cover image, or more appropriately, a Fall cheese board.
Noord to the far left: a perfect stunner for any cheese board
Following this description, I may have very well earned myself the title of Noord Nerd. A name I shall proudly bear.
Try some crunchy bits with toasted pecans and any of the following:
• two fingers of a fine single-malt scotch
• a pint of Amber Ale
• a sweet glass of the noble Sauternes
A fine wine fit for four year old Goudas,
and noble types like you.
For after all my friends, are you not Kings and Queens of doing things?