A Work of Food Art

Royal FrieslandCampina International cheeses resonates over the holidays and beyond

By Debbie Hall

Photos courtesy of Royal FrieslandCampina

The fifth-largest dairy company globally, Royal FrieslandCampina has been in business for 150 years, is the largest producer of Gouda and Dutch cheese and is one of the largest US importers of specialty cheeses. Its commitment to farmers includes over 17,000 member dairy farmers in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium providing the milk and the products from milk, which elevates its flavor and quality. Sustainability is a cornerstone of its business model as FrieslandCampina “nourishes by nature.”

Their selection of cheeses has satisfied millions of consumers’ tastes for celebrations, nutrition, and flavor profiles to add to meals, sides, salads, and snacks. FrieslandCampina offers a rich portfolio of over a dozen cheese brands, including A Dutch Masterpiece, Parrano, and Gayo Azul.

A Dutch Masterpiece is a collection of cheeses that is a work of art in a true Dutch tradition. Classic and unique flavors of the four premium mature kinds of cheese have won multiple awards of excellence worldwide with exclusive recipes and commitment to the art of traditional Dutch cheese making. Savor the slightly rich flavor of Vincent, the full-bodied flavor of Frans Hals, Vermeer’s delicate fruity flavor, or the sharp taste and delicious texture of Rembrandt. These cheeses are perfect for a cheeseboard as well as enhancing salads, casseroles, and pasta. With people spending more time with family and close friends at home, cheese brands like A Dutch Masterpiece make home celebrations richer and simply more beautiful.

Vincent is known as Gouda meets Parmesan, a rich, sweet-tasting Dutch cheese with the nuttiness of an Italian cheese that is fully ripened for six months. Frans Hals is a rich aged cheese made with 100% goat’s milk to create a unique, full-bodied taste and delicate aroma that is naturally matured up to six months. While made in the same way as Gouda, since it is made with goat’s milk and not cow’s milk, it is part of the collection, although not an actual Gouda cheese. Vermeer, traditionally ripened for five months, is an award-winning aged Dutch Gouda cheese with a delicate fruity taste and a delightful flavor. Rembrandt, traditionally ripened for one year, is an award-winning extra aged Gouda cheese with a firm texture, a robust flavor, and an exceptional taste. For recipes and pairing suggestions as well as retailers, visit www.adutchmasterpiece.com.

Parrano cheese, its Italian-style Dutch collection, features two mouth-watering tastes. Parrano Originale, aged for five months, blends Gouda’s smooth, creamy texture with the nutty, buttery flavors of Parmesan.

“This cheese is quite approachable,” says Debbie Seife, Marketing Director North America, of FrieslandCampina. “Parrano elevates the everyday blend of flavors. Parrano is a nice cheese to add to a cheese platter when entertaining. The cheese also pairs well with many different accompaniments, including fig jam, prosciutto, marinated artichokes, and roast peppers. I would recommend serving it with Lager beer or spicy Syrah.”

Parrano Truffle, aged for 5 months, layers the rich flavors of Italian Black Truffles blending creamy Gouda, nutty Parmesan, and earthy black truffle flavors. Pair it with Kolsch beer or earthy Malbec. Add honey and walnuts or top focaccia bread with a little olive oil and cheese, and the perfect holiday platter will be hit with guests, who will want more.

For a list of retail locations and suggestions on how to serve the Parrano collection, visit www.parrano.com.

The Gayo Azul collection comes with a rich heritage of a strong Dutch influence that has been a traditional staple for Caribbean Hispanics for decades. The cheese, including Gouda and Edam, gained popularity in the US beginning in Miami and surrounding areas.

Gayo Azul Dutch Gouda is a versatile mild and creamy cheese that will elevate a casserole as a gourmet meal, adds a twist to sauces, and becomes a delicious topping for soups and salads. This cheese, also sold as slices, is perfect for adding to a cold sandwich or melts beautifully in a hot one. For entertaining, it is the ideal addition to a cheese board or as part of hors d’oeuvres.

Gayo Azul Queso Blanco, a fresh mild white cheese, holds its shape well, making it ideal for pan grilling, especially paired with eggs. It also has a crumbly texture for topping salads, soups, and tacos.

Gayo Azul Dutch Edam is a bit firmer than Gouda with a rich flavor and smooth, creamy texture. This semi-hard cheese is aged in a red wax ball instead of a wheel, making it easy to cut on cheese boards, shred in baking dishes, and cube in salads and vegetable dishes.

Gayo Azul Sliced Swiss, a rindless European Swiss with perfect eyes; offers a sweet, nutty taste profile on cold and grilled sandwiches.

Delicious ideas for easy holiday breakfast entertaining and recipes for other meals as well as retailers can be found at www.gayoazul.com.

“Food has become even bigger in entertaining this year,” explains Seife. “People are not going out as much and spending more time with immediate family and a few close friends. Cheese is a fun way to create a centerpiece with a cheese platter. Along with crowd pleasers, I would recommend adding some unique cheeses for guests to try. They will probably become big fans.”

Consumers are looking for more international flavors and expanding their horizons. When they shop at retailers, consumers will go to the specialty cheese case or deli. Food is the new global arena as an exciting destination. Consumers are searching for products that are pretty with a different flavor profile that adds a unique taste and flavor palate.

Along with the quality of the food products, the packaging is just as important with a fresh new brand redesign that includes new packaging and a revamped website devoted to drawing cheese lovers to the amazing line-up A Dutch Masterpiece has to offer.

The redesigned packaging will feature readily identifiable and memorable Dutch painters and their recognizable work while providing informative tasting notes to better educate people about the cheese line and its’ delicious taste and texture. The new packaging for both the wheel and wedge provides a more powerful image of the current product, designed to stand out in the cheese case.

“Our cheeses are as much a work of art as the innovative and prolific golden age painters for which they are named,” says Seife. “Distinctive in flavor like their artists, our new brand identity and package design frames the distinctive features of each painter, their formative work, and the unique age and tasting notes of each of the awarding-winning cheeses in our masterpiece collection.”

Other changes include packaging in a resealable tray with a hard bottom and softcover, adding convenience for the Gayo Azul slices. The Gayo Azul Dutch Edam in the red wax ball now has a tab that can peel the bowl to remove the wedge easily.

Always a trendsetter, FrieslandCampina has been divided into four global market-oriented business groups: Consumer Dairy, Specialized Nutrition, Dairy Essentials, and Ingredients. FrieslandCampina’s rich portfolio of over a dozen cheese brands includes A Dutch Masterpiece, Gayo Azul, Kroon, Melkbus, Organic Kingdom, Parrano, and Wyke Farms. The main headquarters is in Amersfoort, Netherlands, with its main US offices in Paramus, New Jersey. This cheese-centric company was established by several farmers in the Netherlands that wanted to bring their milk into one factory rather than separately. Its first business model in the 19th century was to export mainly to countries where there were no farms and cows.

“Grass to glass,” FrieslandCampina now produces and sells to millions of consumers around the world dairy products including cheese, dairy beverages, infant nutrition, and desserts. Dairy products are exported from the Netherlands to European, Asian, and African countries through its own subsidiaries. Products such as cream and butter products are also supplied to professional buyers, to bakeries and catering businesses in Western Europe. FrieslandCampina has locations in 34 countries and is wholly owned by Zuivelcoöperatie FrieslandCampina U.A. with 17,413 member dairy farmers operating some 11,476 dairy farms in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium as one of the largest dairy cooperatives in the world. For additional information, visit www.frieslandcampina.com.