*First published on my old blog 23rd January 2009
If you think you know about cheese have you tried any good Dutch cheeses?
I’m not talking about most of the mass produced Netherlands cheese that is sold in our supermarkets, I’m talking about hand made aged Gouda and in particular Reypenaer which is considered the best cheese Holland makes, often touted by Michelin-starred chefs around Europe.
Situated on the river Rhine in Woerden and still run by the same family for the last hundred and three years Wijngaard Kaas company is truly a labour of love.
Strict quality begins with only using milk from the finest dairy herds that graze on green summer pastures of grass, wildflowers and herbs. The cheeses are matured in a 100-year-old warehouse that was custom designed as a cheese-ripening house, each wheel of Reypenaer cheese is matured between 1-3 years.
The cheeses are aired traditionally, by the opening and closing of a series of wooden vents. This means the wheels of cheese are allowed to mature in naturally fluctuating levels of temperature and humidity.
The wheels sit on wooden shelves and are lovingly turned by hand once a week.
The wax rind is also cleaned once a week until the cheese reaches maturity.
The resulting taste and aroma of this Gouda is exceptional and is reflected by the many accolades and awards this cheese has won, including Gold in best Dutch cheese trophy for the best Continental cheese and Supreme Champion at the Nantwich International Cheese Show 2007.
My own liking for this cheese started several years ago when some good friends of mine held a dinner party. They rarely serve a dessert course but always have an exceptional selection of cheeses. I, like them prefer good rustic bread with my cheese to fussy little crackers, and to serve anything other than warm homemade bread with such fine cheese would be a travesty. That particular night a Dutch couple were amongst the guests and had brought along some of this truly delicious cheese.
If you travel to Amsterdam you must make a trip to their tasting house where you can sample and buy this cheese. They sell one and two years ripened cheeses the whole year long and the more mature 2-½ -3 year cheeses mainly during Christmas time. For more information please follow the links below.