The famous Golden Wheels of Gouda at a cheese market, in Gouda
Gouda is a kind of soft cheese made from cows' milk. The cheese is named after the city of Gouda, which is famous for it. The name Gouda is not protected, so Gouda is made all over the world. There is also a protected designation of origin Noord-Hollandse Gouda (Gouda from North Holland). This may seem inaccurate, because the city of Gouda is in South Holland. Most of the cows however graze in North Holland.
There are two varieties of Gouda for export: Young gouda, which is between one and six months old. Young gouda is usually sold with a yellow or red coating of paraffin wax.
Gouda that is older, is usually sold with a black coating. It is more brittle, and has a stronger scent.
There are other variations, like Smoked Gouda, which is a processed cheese, and Leyden Gouda.
There is also spiced gouda which has spices in it to make it have more flavour.