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;
Herbs and Garlic
Hot & Spicy
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.