The Netherlands – Edam; Volendam



Partially-skimmed pasteurised cow’s milk. Medium-hard, with a sweet, slightly nutty flavour. It is lower in fat content than most other cheeses.


Fat content:




Between the 14th and 18th century, Edam was the most popular cheese in the world, mainly because it aged and traveled well.  It was included in the staple diet of mariners who sailed to and from the colonies.  It was originally made from whole milk, however in the 19th century the milk was partially skimmed to make butter and Edam started being made from partially skimmed milk. In the early days the curd was poured into wooden moulds to ripen.  These moulds were also used by the Militia as helmets during riots and civil disturbances, which is why the Dutch are to this day, known as “Cheese Heads”.



Smooth, beige to yellowish paste; sweet, slightly nutty flavour.  Edam which is made for export is coated with wax to preserve and protect the cheese.  Standard edam balls are coated in red wax, while Edam loaves are coated in red plastic.  Mature Edam (17 weeks old) is coated in black wax; Vegetarian Edam in green wax; Red hot Edam in orange coloured wax.

Edam sold in the Netherlands for domestic consumption is seldom coated, except during the tourist season, making it easily recognisable.

Related Cheeses

Gouda, Mimolette.


Appropriate Wines

Pinot Gris; Dry Chardonnay; Riesling; Syrah and Dark Beer.

Bottom line

One of the world’s most popular and recognisable cheeses.



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