Nagelkaas is a Dutch cheese that is not from Holland. It is from Friesland, one of the 12 provinces in the Netherlands. Let’s have a brief look into it:
The name Holland refers to the two provinces, namely Noord Holland and Zuid Holland. Amsterdam is located in the Noord Holland province and it is actually not its capital. The capital of Noord Holland is Haarlem and Amsterdam is the capital of the Netherlands. One of the two capitals, actually. The other capital of the Netherlands is the Hague. The Hague is also the capital of the Zuid Holland province, and it is not the largest city in Zuid Holland, Rotterdam is. This is not confusing at all.
Friese Nagelkaas. A Low Fat Cheese
Friese Nagelkaas can be translated as Frisian Clove cheese. It is a low fat cow milk cheese with clove and cumin. Nagel stands for a nail. Kruidnagel means clove, or literally nailspice. Clove looks (and tastes if you chew it on its own) pretty much like a nail.
Nagelkaas is a type of Gouda cheese, which is pronounced Ghow-duh, by the way. The video below illustrates that it is really easy to pronounce.
It is low in fat because it is made of skim milk. As a rule, Gouda cheeses begin to taste good starting from jong belegen age, which is “young matured”. Nagelkaas, however, is already great in its jong belegen version thanks to the spices and a chewy texture from the higher protein content. So even Friese Nagelkaas jong (young) is good enough. The belegen, or matured age is exceptional, having a lot of flavor and being more brittle.
Frisian Clove Cheese combines “low fat” creaminess with spiciness from the herbs, which creates a unique taste.
Clove possesses antimicrobial properties, this is why Nagelkaas can usually survive long distance shipping.
Where to Buy Friese Nagelkaas
One recommended (non-affiliated) online store is Gouda Cheese Shop. They ship across Europe. Cheese is normally packaged in a foam container with an ice cooler bag.