WHAT IS MAASDAM?
This cow’s milk cheese was created in the 1980s as a local equivalent to the Swiss original. Maasdam is named after the Maas river that flows through the Netherlands, emptying into the North Sea. The second half of the name “dam” refers to a wall that holds back water. Maasdam is very similar to Jarlsberg (some would say identical) with its’ large eye holes and nutty flavor. Today this pasteurized cheese is made in both wheels and blocks. It takes only 1 to 3 months to ripen depending on the strength of flavor that you want. This kaas (cheese) also has a higher moisture content then Swiss Emmenthaler. That is why Maasdam feels slightly more “rubbery” then some other cheeses. Perhaps unfairly because of its affordable price, you tend to see this Maasdam a lot in food-service.
WHERE IS MAASDAM FROM?
In the Netherlands in the region of Holland. A lot of non-Dutch people get the two names confused. The official name of this sovereign nation is the “Netherlands” while “Holland” is the name of a province (split into North & South Holland). But along with wooden shoes, tulip bulbs and little boys holding their fingers in leaking dikes, the two became synonymous.
WHY ARE THE DUTCH MIDGETS OF YESTERDAY GIANTS TODAY?
Two hundred years ago, the Dutch were among the shortest people in Europe. Nutrition is often cited in various countries as to why younger generations are getting taller. But a study covering 30 years of records revealed that taller Dutch women tended to have more babies then shorter women, both in the Netherlands and in neighboring countries. To read this article in more detail click here!
WHAT CAN I PAIR WITH MAASDAM?
White wines with a mineral taste, mellow reds, Dutch beers or sparkling beverages like champagne can work well. This is a mild cheese so stay away from strong flavored wines or liquors that will overwhelm the cheese’s flavor, unless it is being melted as a part of a recipe. Then pair to the strongest flavors in that recipe. Cheese flight-wise, for a tour of the Netherlands Gouda and Edam are probably the 2 most known dairy colleagues. Honestly you can cube or slice this guy up, but if you’re looking for an affordable Swiss cheese for an inexpensive recipe, this isn’t a bad way to go.