Travel blends the extraordinary with the simple, and on a recent trip to Amsterdam, that most mundane of meals, breakfast, became a moment of simple delight: strong coffee, fresh bread, and Dutch cheese. Gouda with cumin seeds, to be exact, a fancy meal served on napkins on a hotel room side table.
The translation of the cheese name (“Goudse kass komijn”) suggests cumin, but I’m not convinced it wasn’t primarily caraway instead, the two sister seeds being occasionally interchangeable. This firm, mature cheese lacked the stronger bite I associate with cumin, but regardless, the effect of the seeds in the cheese created a texture and taste very similar to that other firm cumin/caraway cheese, the Norwegian nøkkelost, with the semi-soft seeds leaving keyholes behind when they fall out. These tiny spaces provide an interesting and satisfying texture.