Edam cheese

Country of origin Netherlands
Region Edam-Volendam
Town Edam
Source of milk Primarily Cows / Goats
Pasteurised Yes
Texture Semi-hard
Fat content 11g/100g
Aging time 4 weeks – 10 months
Certification No
Related media on Wikimedia Commons

Edam (Dutch: Edammer, [ˈeːdɑmər]) is a semi-hard cheese that originated in the Netherlands, and is named after the town of Edam in the province of North Holland.[1] Edam is traditionally sold in rounded cylinders with a pale yellow interior and a coat, or rind, of red paraffin wax. Edam ages and travels well, and does not spoil; it only hardens. These qualities (among others) made it the world's most popular cheese between the 14th and 18th centuries, both at sea and in remote colonies.[2][3] A major producer of Edam is the FrieslandCampina company in Marum, The Netherlands. In the U.S., the May-bud brand is sold by the Churny Company, a subsidiary of Kraft Foods.[4]


Edammer cheese with crackers

Most "young" Edam cheese sold in stores has a very mild flavor, slightly salty or nutty, and almost no smell when compared to other cheeses.[5] As the cheese ages, its flavor sharpens, and it becomes firmer.[3] It has a significantly lower fat-content than many other traditional cheeses; Edam may have as little as 28% Fat in Dry Matter. Modern Edam is softer than other cheeses, such as Cheddar, due to its low fat-content. However, it is not quite as suitable for toasting as are certain other cheeses, such as Cheddar.


Mild Edam goes well with fruit such as peaches, melons, apricots, and cherries. Aged Edam is often eaten with traditional "cheese fruits" like pears and apples. Like most cheeses, it is commonly eaten on crackers and bread, and may be eaten with crackers following the main course of a meal as a dessert of "cheese and biscuits". Pinot gris, dry Riesling, semidry Riesling, Champagne, Chardonnay, and Shiraz/Syrah are some recommended wines to accompany this cheese.[6]


Shop with an assortment of Edam cheeses

Edam cheese is popular in North America, the Nordic countries, and many other countries around the world.

In the Maghreb region it is commonly known as red cheese.

Spain and former colonies

In Spain and some of its former colonies, such as the Philippines and many Latin American countries, the cheese is known as queso de bola ('ball cheese') and was long considered a delicacy.

In the Mexican state of Yucatán, queso de bola is prepared as queso relleno ("stuffed cheese"). A ball of cheese is cut in half and carved out; it is then stuffed with a mixture seasoned ground meat, raisins, capers and olives. Finally, it is braised in chicken stock, and served sliced with the chicken stock that has been thickened with cornstarch and spiced tomato sauce.[7] It is the most common cheese used in Czech Republic and also very often used as base of the snack smažený sýr, which is popular in the country and in neighbouring Slovakia (Slovak: vyprážaný syr) where it may be served with a slice of ham (Slovak: so šunkou),[8] and always with tartar sauce (tatárska omáčka) or mayonnaise.

In Belize, where it was once one of the few commercially available cheeses, it may also be known as queso de calavera or queso de colorado,[9] and usually eaten when well-aged and sharp, commonly with bread and coffee.

In the Philippines, queso de bola is popular during Christmas in the Philippines when Filipinos feast with family and friends. It is customarily served with jamón and pan de sal during the Noche Buena, the traditional feast taken around midnight of Christmas Eve and lasting until the early hours of Christmas Day.[10] The cheese is also associated with Christmas in Sweden due to its red color, and is often found on the Christmas Julbord buffet.

In popular culture

Edam has been treated dramatically and humorously in a variety of cultural art forms. In the novel All Quiet on the Western Front, the main character believes its red outer covering is a sign of impending death. It is a wine flavor nuance in Sideways[11] and an object of desire in the animated film Shopper 13. The book title East of Edam, a playful take on East of Eden by John Steinbeck, appears in the movie Curse of the Were-Rabbit.[12] Edam is a seriocomic pivot in the Australian film Three Dollars.[13][14] Actor Jason Flemyng advertised Edam in the UK.[15] Edam was tested by the MythBusters in episode 128[16] for its putative suitability as cannon ammunition against a ship's sail, but it bounced off the sail without damaging it.[17]

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Edam cheese.


  1. Official Edam Town website Tourist information. Retrieved 11 April 2007
  2. Miller, Laurel; Skinner, Thalassa; Tsai, Ming (2012). Cheese For Dummies. Culture Magazine, John Wiley & Sons. pp. 209, 210. ISBN 9781118099391. Retrieved 6 March 2013.
  3. 1 2 History of Edam Cheese Edam.com. Retrieved 11 April 2007
  4. "Kraft Food Operations". Kraft Operations, Waupaca, WI. Archived from the original on 3 February 2008. Retrieved 11 April 2007. Company website.
  5. Jenkins, Steven W. (1996). Cheese Primer. Workman Publishing Company. p. 373. ISBN 0-89480-762-5. Retrieved 25 May 2010.
  6. Slinkard, Stacy Serving Wine and Cheese About.com. Retrieved 8 April 2010.
  7. Queso Relleno Recipe. Yucatan Today. Retrieved 5 February 2013.
  8. Slovak Food TravelSpectator.sk. Retrieved 10 November 2010.
  9. Nuñez, Angel (January 6, 2016). "Remembering When WE USED TO...in San Pedro Village No. 10". Ambergris Today.
  10. Carballo, Bibsy (2 August 2009). Our one-of-a-kind ‘queso de bola’. Philippine Daily Inquirer.
  11. Jordan, N. (31 January 2010). "Would you like some whine with that cheese?". Salon.com. Archived from the original on 9 August 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  12. Edelstein, David (7 October 2005) 24 Carrot Bliss Slate Magazine Movie review. Retrieved 5 March 2007.
  13. Bowden, Tracy (11 April 2005). "David Wenham goes from strength to strength." (Transcript). Australian Broadcasting Corporation. Archived from the original on 8 September 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  14. Connolly, Robert (Director) (2005). Three Dollars (Motion picture). Australia: Dendy Films. Event occurs at 1:08:33.
  15. Lloyd, Dan (8 August 2008) Jason Flemyng:I'm sexy if you like gingers. The Mirror. Retrieved 15 February 2010.
  16. "MythBusters - Greased Lightning". Discovery.com. 28 October 2009. Archived from the original on 10 January 2012. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
  17. "Episode 128: Greased Lightning – Results". MythbustersResults.com. 28 October 2009. Archived from the original on 8 September 2015. Retrieved 7 September 2015.
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