We all know the Dutch are obsessed with cheese. Luckily there are around 1,5 million cows that supply the milk to satisfy cheese cravings. In fact, The Netherlands produces 660 million kilos of cheese per year, making it the world’s fourth-largest producer of cheese. These numbers are not surprising since the average Dutchman eat 17 kilos of cheese per year! Breakfast, lunch or dinner, it’s cheese all the way. Cheese is the main ingredient in a Dutch breakfast (a cheese sandwich) and it can also be enjoyed with a little bit of mustard on a terrace or fried in a cheese croquette. Dutch cheese is loved all around the world for good reason.
Goudse kaas, Boerenkaas, Friese Nagelkaas, Graskaas ………
The list goes on and on. Perhaps the most well known Dutch cheese is Goudse kaas. Named after the city of Gouda where this cheese has been traded for years, it typically comes in a wheel that weighs around 15 kilos. Boerenkaas (farmer’s cheese) is traditionally made from unpasteurized milk which gives it a distinctive flavor. Friese Nagelkaas comes from Friesland in the north of Holland. Although the name might not sound very appetizing (it translates as ‘nail cheese’), it is loved by many for its distinctive flavor of cloves (kruidnagels). Graskaas is a cheese made from the first milk the cow gives in spring when they are fed grass for the first time after winter.
If you want to find out more about the varieties of cheese available on the markets of Amsterdam, you can stop by at the Cheese Museum. Your next stop should be the Reypenaer Tasting Room where you can taste some of the best quality and most popular cheeses. Great places to buy cheese are Tromp and De Kaaskamer, both popular cheese shops. De Kaaskamer sells variety packs so you can sample some favorites. Packs include ‘Amsterdam’, ‘Farmhouse’, and ‘Old and Spicy’, a perfect gift or souvenir so that you can enjoy the flavors of Amsterdam long after your trip.
Bar snacks and dining out
Cheese and a glass of wine make just the perfect combination and many of the bars and restaurants in Amsterdam include a Dutch cheese board in their menu. Other cheese snacks include kaassoufflés, which are considered a Dutch delicacy. Along with bitterballen they are known as ‘borrelhapjes’ and therefore have to be accompanied by a ‘borrel’ (alcoholic drink).
First of all if by now you’re not sick of all this cheese, you can visit a traditional cheese market. Yet these usually take place in summer in the cities of Alkmaar, Edam, and Gouda among others. Furthermore, You will see the traditional cheese carriers carry around 8 cheeses, in total weighing around 160 kilos, in and out of the market. The events are explained in several languages and this day out is a great way to experience traditional Dutch culture (and eat even more cheese).
Finally Book a Cheese tasting at Reypenaer, a family-run company that has been making fantastic cheeses for over a century.