The quintessential Dutch cheese is made from cows’ milk, and has a firm, elastic, pale-yellow interior with a sweet, slightly nutty flavour. The whole cheeses are spherical, and those intended for export are coated with coloured wax.
Edam is available in a wide range of flavours, and made throughout North West Europe, although Edam from the Dutch port of the same name is protected by a European PDO mark. It melts well, and is a popular ingredient in cookery. In its homeland, Edam is traditionally served at the end of a meal with pale ale.
Cheese from Edam itself will be labelled Noord-Hollandse Edammer. There are also low-fat and vegetarian Edams available, both coated in the same red wax as the standard cheese. Edam with a green wax coating will have been flavoured with herbs; brown wax indicates a peppercorn-flavoured cheese; and orange wax a cumin-flavoured one. Mature Edam, which will have been aged for six months, giving it a drier, harder texture, is sold with a black wax coating.