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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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Edam a cheese named after a small port on the Ijsselmeer north of Amsterdam, is for many people the archetypal Dutch cheese. It is always spherical. The cheeses for export are coated with red wax, which makes them instantly recognizable. The inside is pale yellow.

Edam, gouda, and Friesland cheese all date back to the early Middle Ages. It is said that Edam was exported to England in the 8th century ad; but the first certain information is that by 1250 cheeses were a major manufacture and commodity all over the green grasslands centred on the markets at Gouda and Alkmaar (near Edam) and at Harlem. Cheeses were becoming a major export at that time, by land via the Rhine, and by sea through the ports.