Cheesemakers bringing Dutch cheese traditions to the world.

Dutch Cheese Makers is the exclusive importer of Artikaas, a brand of authentic Dutch Gouda. Established with a passion for sharing the flavors and textures of the Netherlands’ famous dairy heritage, Dutch Cheese Makers has carved a niche as a leading provider of high-quality, artisanal cheeses.

Artikaas has been a family-run cheesemaker in Holland for more than six generations, making Gouda meticulously, with respect for nature, and using only the best milk from family farms.

Artikaas was founded nine years ago when a producer, Royal-A Ware, wanted to sell its specialty cheeses in the U.S., and saw a big opportunity for a further expansion of the product and brand awareness.

“We’re dedicated to our tradition, but we’re also determined to push the needle on innovation,” says Steve Margarites, chief executive and president of Dutch Cheese Makers and Artikaas, with U.S. operations in Garden City, NY. “We are continuously honing our craft while staying on the pulse of consumer and retailer desires so that we can develop new and unique products.”

Today, you can find Artikaas Gouda in retailers across the United States and Canada.

Margarites has been a veteran of the cheese industry for close to four decades. He established a strong reputation as a leader of Best Cheese and was brought on to Artikaas to lead the U.S. operation.


“This is a fun industry; it’s never boring,” he says. “Food is exciting and new trends are always exciting to tackle.”

Of course, it takes time to build a brand, and some of the early challenges revolved around getting the Artikaas name out there.

“While we are one of the largest producers of cheese in the Netherlands, we were the new kid on the block in the States. It takes time to build momentum, but we’ve accelerated the time by winning multiple prestigious awards over our short existence as a company, so we’re quite happy with the growth of our brand,” says Margarites.

Heritage and Craftsmanship

The origins of Dutch Cheese Makers are deeply rooted in the traditions of Dutch dairy farming and cheesemaking, an industry that dates back centuries. The company’s founders recognized the opportunity to share the quality and taste of Dutch cheeses with a global audience.

Its focus on importing Artikaas Gouda reflects its commitment to showcasing the best of Dutch culinary culture.

Artikaas Gouda is produced using milk from Dutch cows that graze on lush, fertile pastures. This high-quality milk is then expertly crafted into cheese by skilled cheesemakers using traditional methods. The result is a cheese with a rich, creamy texture and a nuanced flavor that changes with age, from mild and smooth when young to complex and robust as it matures.

“Artikaas started out as mostly red Gouda, processed smoke cheese, aged cheeses, and Pareggio, which is a mix of Parmesan and Gouda,” says Margarites. “We’ve since evolved into goat’s milk Gouda, sheep’s milk Gouda, Baby Swiss, and a variety of flavored cheeses including our five new additions to our Youngsters line.”

Those include Togarashi Gouda, Peppadew Gouda, Mesquite BBQ Gouda, Jalapeno Gouda, and Gochujang Gouda under the Youngsters line. Artikaas has multiple lines under its brand, such as Youngsters: young cheese aged 4-6 weeks; Hay There: raw milk Gouda; and Vintage Lot: aged Gouda.

The Import Process

Dutch Cheese Makers plays a crucial role in the journey of Artikaas Gouda from the dairies of the Netherlands to consumers worldwide. The import process begins with the careful selection of cheeses that meet the company’s stringent quality standards, Margarites says. Once chosen, the cheeses are meticulously packaged to preserve their flavor and freshness during transport.

“Our extensive knowledge of international shipping and distribution ensures that the cheeses arrive at their destinations in optimal condition,” says Margarites. “This attention to detail is vital to maintaining the integrity of Artikaas and other cheeses throughout the journey from farm to table.”

In one of the Netherlands plants, it produces more than 180,000 metric tons of cheese on an annual basis. Another plant is producing roughly 60,000 metric tons of cheese as well.

“We import close to 4 million pounds of cheese a year,” says Margarites. “It’s growing substantially year over year.”

The cheese comes in through the Port of New Jersey in Elizabeth and is shipped out from there.

Award-Winning Cheese

At the 2024 World Championship Cheese Contest, Artikaas earned several awards, including first runner-up and a gold medal for its 18-month-old Gouda, Vintage Lot 18, making it the world’s second-best cheese, and essentially crowning it as the best Gouda in the world. This cheese, carefully aged in the Netherlands, features a firm texture with crystallization, a rich ochre interior, and flavors of toasted walnuts and brown butter. It also won gold in the Gouda, Extra Aged (over 10 months) category.

Moreover, Artikaas’ Youngsters Goat Gouda, aged 4-6 weeks, secured silver in the Hard Goat’s Milk Cheese category. The company also achieved gold for its Artikaas Smoked Gouda in the Pasteurized Process Cheese Product competition.

“We accommodate almost any palette or customer with the assortment of products we sell,” says Margarites. “These awards mean a lot to all the people involved. From our cheesemakers to our team in the U.S., it shows us that we’re doing something quite special. It’s a great inspiration for our team to continuously strive for excellence.”

Commitment to Quality and Sustainability

One of the hallmarks of Dutch Cheese Makers is its unwavering commitment to quality and sustainability. The company’s production facility ensures that all cheeses meet strict quality and safety standards. This involves regular inspections and testing to guarantee that each batch of cheese is of the highest quality.

In addition to quality control, Dutch Cheese Makers and Royal A-ware are dedicated to promoting sustainable practices within the industry. The company encourages its farmstead partners to adopt environmentally friendly methods, such as responsible farming and production techniques. This commitment to sustainability not only benefits the environment but also contributes to the long-term success and reputation of Dutch cheeses on the global stage.


For instance, many of the farmers who work with Artikaas are adopting environmentally friendly technologies such as solar panels, automatic milking systems, and wellness trackers that monitor the health and needs of their animals. Over 70% of Artikaas’ farmers use KoeKompas (CowCompass), a tool similar to a Fitbit for cows, to track the well-being of each animal.

Additionally, about a quarter of Artikaas farms currently utilize a system that allows cows to choose when they want to be milked, a figure expected to double within the next decade.

Plus, the Kaasboerderij Verweij Farmstead, which produces Artikaas’s Lavender and Thyme Raw Milk Gouda, generates enough solar energy to run its entire farm, using only 25% of the energy it produces, returning the remainder (sufficient to power 300 homes) to the grid.

At the Artikaas factory in Heerenveen, nearly 6,000 solar panels supply energy for cheese production, while heat pump installations allow for gas-free cheese manufacturing. The factory reuses 2 million tons of whey water, and recycles 92% of the heat produced during manufacturing, all of which helps to minimize overall energy consumption, waste and greenhouse gas emissions.

A Global Impact

Dutch Cheese Makers’ dedication to excellence has made it a trusted name in the world of cheese importation. The company’s reach extends to markets across the globe, introducing consumers to the unique flavors and textures of Artikaas cheeses.

The company works closely with retailers, wholesalers, and distributors to ensure that its cheeses are readily available to customers worldwide. Through these partnerships, Dutch Cheese Makers helps to elevate the profile of Dutch cheeses and educate consumers about their distinct qualities and benefits.

“What makes us unique is our mindset,” says Margarites. “We analyze the market in the U.S., and try to adapt our products to what will work within the market. We are a direct source for the retailer and consumer to find us and understand us. We don’t sell cheese directly to consumers, but we worry about what they pay for product, so we work to be the best in the marketplace. We feel we have the best people in place to overcome any challenge.”

Customer Education and Engagement

In addition to importing cheeses, Dutch Cheese Makers is actively engaged in educating customers about Dutch cheeses and their unique characteristics. The company offers resources and information to help consumers understand the different varieties of Artikaas and how they can be enjoyed in various culinary contexts.

This educational outreach includes sharing recipes, pairing suggestions, and serving tips to inspire customers to incorporate Dutch cheeses into their meals.

“By fostering a deeper appreciation for Gouda and other Dutch cheeses, Artikaas helps to build a loyal customer base and drive demand for these exceptional products,” says Margarites. “We hope retailers and consumers continue to gravitate to Artikaas. We listen to what their needs are. If you don’t listen to what your customer tells you, you’ll never sell anything.”

Looking to the Future

As Dutch Cheese Makers continues to grow, it remains committed to its core values of quality, sustainability, and traditional methods. The company is always exploring new ways to expand its product offerings and reach new markets while maintaining the high standards that have earned it a reputation as a trusted importer.

“We’re 9 years old, so the growth opportunities are endless; this is a big country,” says Margarites. “We have affordable, imported product that has outstanding quality and flavor.”

The company’s role as the official importer of Artikaas Gouda highlights its dedication to sharing the rich culinary heritage of the Netherlands with the world. Through its commitment to quality, sustainability, and customer education, the company continues to make a significant impact on the global appreciation of Dutch cheeses.

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