Wednesday, June 30, 2010

I found cheese heaven in Amsterdam


Amsterdam and cheese farms are as iconic as pandan cake and Singapore. There are two famous cheese farms; Alkmaar and Henri Willig. The former only opens every Friday whilst Henri Willig is open nearly every other day. Enter the doors of every cheese lover's dream.


Greeted by a random rooster strutting around.


A dutch dressed in a dutch maid's outfit carefully explains the cheese making process.


Extracted from the Henri Willig website;

Milk is poured into a cheese tub and a bacterial culture is added to give cheese its special taste. After heating the milk to 29º Celsius rennet is added to help the milk coagulate. Milk becomes thick, like a pudding, and the milk is cut with special knives. The milk separates in two parts: a liquid part (whey) and a solid part (curds). Ninety percent is whey and ten percent is curds.


The curds are put in special cheese moulds. These moulds are placed under a cheese press before being pressed together for 2 hours to attain the traditional shape of cheese.  When the cheeses have been pressed, they are placed in a brine bathe to give cheese a natural rind, preserves the cheese and gives it a better taste.When the cheeses have absorbed enough salt they are put on shelves for drying. Two days later a coating can be applied to prevent the cheese from drying out.



Time for cheese sampling in every colour and flavour available. Cheese heaven it was, endless sampling and the fingers could not stop moving.

I probably got lost in all the sampling but for the interested, below's the full range they offer;

Natural Gouda
Herbs and Garlic
Cumin Seeds
Pesto
Pepper
Fenugreek
Hot & Spicy
Goat
Sheep
Smoked Gouda
Smoked Herbs
Smoked Goat


Polder Gold won big at the 2006 World Championship Cheese Contest in Madison Wisconsin - Hard Goat's Milk Cheese. I was so smitten, I had to buy a chunk home, it's rich and unlike the other soft cheeses, it is hard. Not quite the kind to eat with bread but more to nibble on or for shavings on top of pasta.


A peek into the cheese prices but there were mad queues for them anyway. Of course, in true tourist fashion, we contributed a fair share.

http://www.henriwillig.com/

Henri Willig

5 comments:

  1. I love cheeses! The stinkier the better. French cheeses are the best, love the cheese trolley at Saint Pierre.

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  2. "the stinkier, the better."

    DITTO, DITTO, DITTO! What's the diff betw french and the other cheeses? quite a noob here.Before this I was a diehard camembert, brie and blue cheese fan.

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  3. I don't know how to explain either, but camembert, brie & some of the best blue cheeses are French. Some examples of the more common Italian cheeses: ricotta, mozzarella, mascarpone, parmigiano, gorgonzola (blue cheese). Sounds familiar?

    There're many classifications for cheese, I'm a noob too! If you like stinky cheeses, try Époisses & Vacherin Mont d'Or. These two are really awesome, super stinky & pungent, runny & very creamy. Roquefort (blue cheese) is one of the finest blue cheese too.

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  4. ahhh so very familiar! where can I lay my hands on Époisses & Vacherin Mont d'Or? I've a feeling the family will avoid the fridge like plague. teehee!

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  5. I had these cheeses at Saint Pierre but I'm sure you can get them at La Fromagerie at Chip Bee Gardens at Holland Village (near Da Paolo). La Fromagerie is the biggest artisanal cheese and gourmet concept store here which retails a variety of over 150 kinds of cheeses. It's more for retail but you customize your own cheese platter for dining in. There's a small dine-in menu with cheese dishes & traditional French food.

    They also hold cheese & wine tastings from time to time so do subscribe to their newletter to get updates. Oh try coulommieurs when you're there. It's awesome!

    Here's their website:

    http://www.julienbompard.com/lafromagerie/index.html

    You'll go mad over the cheeses!

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