Last year, my boyfriend and I spent a weekend in Amsterdam.
The way it usually works is that I’m in charge of researching and planning things that we would both like to do, and he is in charge of navigating – finding where the places are on the map and working out how we will get there. I usually put together a list of ideas and we pick our favourites, which we then try to fit into our stay.
I looove cheese, and my boyfriend is quite fond of it too. So I was really pleased when I came across a cheese tasting session in Amsterdam. The Reypenaer family-run company has been producing cheese for over 100 years and where possible, it uses milk from cows fed on fresh grass, because apparently this gives milder and better milk. There was also some goats’ cheese on offer.
The cheese tasting took place in a room below the Reypenaer shop and as there was a mixed group of Dutch and English speakers, the presentation was in Dutch and English. I always find it fascinating when I go to Amsterdam because I can pick up odd words and phrases, as some words are similar to German. Still, this wasn’t enough to understand the presentation, so I was glad it was in English too!
We tried six different types of cheeses that had been ripened for different amounts of time, and later took the opportunity to buy some cheese in the shop.
My boyfriend kept the score sheet, and I took charge of the cheese guillotine, which is used for chopping slices off the cheese block for tasting. We could have done it the other way round, and I would have taken notes on my phone, but I thought the cheese chopper would be a good addition to our kitchen, so I wanted to try it out. In fact, we later bought a cheese guillotine too, because if you can’t see, it’s a handy way to line up the cheese and make sure you get a nice, straight, thin slice.
I didn’t know much about the production of cheese before and, as well as enjoying tasting different kinds of cheese, I enjoyed learning about the history and production of these tasty cheeses. It was also good to learn that these are natural products, with no artificial ingredients being used to speed up the ripening process.
The presenter was friendly and happy to answer questions. He walked around the various groups to answer any questions, and I am sure if a blind visitor had been on their own, it would have been no problem for him to also point out which cheese was next.
We chose a kind of fruit juice and then water, but various wines were available for those who wanted them to accompany the cheeses.
After the tour, we walked around the town for a bit, before making our way to the boats for our canal tour. Headsets were available so that you could listen to the presentation in a number of different languages. You just needed to select the appropriate language, then the audio tour ran along with the boat tour and you didn’t need to interact with it any more as you do with some tours, where numbers need to be selected etc.
If you are a cheese-lover too, this is definitely something worth adding to your list of things to do in Amsterdam! Also, I’d recommend that you try cumin and pesto cheese too because they are sooo good!
What do you think?
If we go back to Amsterdam again, are there any things that you would recommend for us to see or do?
What are your favourite cheeses?
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