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Marieke Penterman Is Making Rattling Good Gouda within the Coronary heart of Wisconsin

We’ve teamed up with Wisconsin Cheese for an interview mini-series known as Meet the Makers, that includes a sampling of the state’s most interesting cheesemakers and their award-winning creations.

In 2019 I used to be fortunate sufficient to attend the annual American Cheese Society Awards, hosted that yr in Richmond, Virginia. Of the numerous fond recollections I’ve from that journey, there’s one specifically that tends to rise to the highest of my thoughts each time I’m reflecting on it: a large sea of proud Wisconsin cheesemakers cheering one another on because the state took dwelling win after win for its unimaginable cheeses. I misplaced rely of the variety of awards that the state’s cheesemakers took dwelling for cheddars and cheese curds—I’d anticipated them to shine in these classes. What I wasn’t anticipating was for a Wisconsin cheesemaker to take dwelling not one, however two awards for Gouda, a cheese I’d lengthy related solely with Europe.

That yr, Marieke Gouda took dwelling 1st place within the Worldwide-Fashion with Taste Added class for his or her Bacon Gouda and 2nd place in that very same class for his or her Foenegreek Gouda. However how did award-winning Gouda make its solution to the midwest? I sat down with Marieke Penterman, founding father of Marieke Gouda, to seek out out.

This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.

MADISON TRAPKIN: What introduced you to Wisconsin?

MARIEKE PENTERMAN: I grew up on a dairy farm within the Netherlands on a 600-cow farm. Holland could be very small, it matches about 5 occasions within the state of Wisconsin, and we’ve about 80 million folks, which makes [farming] fairly difficult and really costly. So to ensure that [my family] to proceed dairy farming, we wished to look overseas and the place else are you able to go in the event you love cows and good cheese? Wisconsin, in fact.

Wisconsin is America’s Dairyland, in order that is smart! How did you make your solution to the cheesemaking aspect of issues?

I’ve [always been] very proud to be a dairy farmer right here in Wisconsin, however after a short while, I used to be lacking my good kaas from Holland. I’d go to the shop right here and I’d discover great, lovely cheeses, however I could not discover good Gouda. [I had a] loopy concept to start out making [it] as a result of we had good Wisconsin milk proper right here on the farm and it appeared like a terrific concept. The one downside I had was that I didn’t know tips on how to make cheese.

Ah, a minor element.

I had to return to high school right here in Wisconsin to get my cheesemaker’s license, which I did in October 2006. However that didn’t imply that I knew tips on how to make Gouda. So, I needed to [go] again to Holland [where I] labored with a woman who had 10 cows and a dairy farmer that had 200 cows and it was actually fascinating to see what the distinction between a smaller and an even bigger Gouda producer was.

Photograph by Dusan Harminc

What are a very powerful issues to contemplate whenever you’re making Gouda?

As a Gouda cheesemaker you possibly can play along with your cultures, in fact, however [you can also play with things like] your water—how a lot water do you add? And [what’s] the temperature of it? How lengthy do you wash it? These are all essential elements [that go] into creating your individual recipe. I made my very first batch of Gouda in November of 2006.

What makes Marieke Gouda so distinctive?

Initially, I am very happy with our cows. They produce a really prime quality of milk and [we are] a farmstead creamery, which signifies that we’ve cows proper right here on the farm. When the cows are being milked, that milk goes straight by a pipeline below the bottom into our cheese vat, so brisker than you will get it [from elsewhere]. It’s the prime quality of milk and the actually fast approach of us having the ability to make it right into a scrumptious wheel of Gouda ([which happens] inside 5 hours) that makes our cheese actually distinctive.

How does your Gouda examine to Dutch Gouda?

We do import among the cheese gear from the Netherlands simply to return as carefully as attainable to the Dutch approach of constructing it. A few of our elements come from the Netherlands, like our cultures and a few of our herbs, however we’re not as adventurous within the Netherlands as we’re right here in the US. [At Marieke Gouda], we’re a bit extra extravagant with our flavors.

That jogs my memory of your Foenegreek Gouda—the place did the concept for this taste combo come from?

The primary time that I used to be cooking the [with this] herb it made my entire kitchen scent horrible, to be sincere. It smelled just a little bit bitter and I used to be unsure if I wished so as to add it to it, however we did not need to waste it both, so we added it to our very first batch of Foenegreek Gouda. [This cheese] makes use of a seed that tastes just a little bit nutty, however smells like maple syrup. It’s very pricey to me as a result of it is one in every of our signature cheeses.

Since making that first wheel in 2006, your cheeses have gained fairly just a few awards! Are you able to inform me about a few of these accolades?

We gained a golden award straight away with our Foenegreek Gouda, which was tremendous thrilling. At the moment we had been simply with three folks, and now we’re [a] staff of fifty folks…a staff coming collectively [and] conducting nice issues [in order] to make the best of positive Gouda. We simply gained extra awards and that may put us [at] round 250 [awards]. In 2013 we had been nominated [as] one of the best cheese in the US. I additionally name it my inexperienced card as a result of at that time my immigration lawyer mentioned, “Let’s qualify you for the extraordinary potential route,” which they authorised.

Photograph by Dusan Harminc

What a tremendous inexperienced card story!

I am really the primary cheesemaker that obtained her a inexperienced card that approach.

I imagine it.

In 2011, I used to be nominated because the Grand Grasp Cheesemaker within the Wisconsin State Honest. [I was] the primary girl to have ever completed that, so it was actually an honor. And I type of like successful.

It looks as if there’s fairly a little bit of successful happening for you. What’s it wish to be a part of the Wisconsin cheesemaking neighborhood amongst so many different winners?

I began my profession as a result of I used to be lacking Gouda from my dwelling nation and I wished to start out a enterprise earlier than I turned 30. I stumbled into this business [filled with] camaraderie and I fell in love with the folks. I am a really proud cheesemaker, particularly [in] Wisconsin, as a result of the individuals are great. They share their ardour, and I feel that is one thing that bonds us generally on this business. Wisconsin is chilly, however the folks within the business are very heat and passionate.

I hear you’re working in your Grasp Cheesemaker Certification. What’s the method like?

Sure, I am very proud to say that they accepted me within the Grasp Cheesemaker program. Ten years after you may have your cheesemakers license, you possibly can apply for the Grasp Cheesemaker program, which is a troublesome approval course of. I type of [wanted to] postpone it as a result of I used to be just a little bit nervous and after I lastly went by the entire course of they usually authorised me, I used to be very comfortable.

I’ve discovered a lot and it reveals how a lot Wisconsin cares and the extent of data that’s required to make actually good cheese. If every part goes properly, then I hope to have the ability to get my certification in 2025, which might make me the fourth girl Licensed Grasp Cheesemaker in the US.

That might be actually unimaginable! I’m certain you’ll make it to that stage. What else does the long run maintain for Marieke Gouda?

Loads of thrilling issues. We began mainly with nothing 17 years in the past, and I can’t wait to see what we are going to do in 5 years, ten years, and even 15 years down the street. One factor that’s for certain [is that] we need to make one of the best Gouda in the entire broad world.

What’s your favourite taste of Marieke Gouda? Inform us within the feedback beneath!

Our buddies at Wisconsin Cheese are dedicated to showcasing all of the wonderful cheeses the state has to supply—and there is lots of them. Wisconsin has extra flavors, varieties, and types of cheese than anyplace else on this planet. From Italian classics like Parmesan and ricotta to Wisconsin Originals like Colby and Brick, this cheese-obsessed state has just a little one thing for everybody. Discover out extra about Wisconsin Cheese by visiting their web site.

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