It’s so bitter sweet! I am at the last stop on my 20 day vacation in Europe: Amsterdam. Now, before I get into the food, I want to say that the capital of the Netherlands is probably one of the most diverse cities I have visited. There are almost as many canals in Amsterdam as there are in Venice and enough bikes to keep you waiting on the sidewalk for a minute, watching for an opening to cross. Fun fact: did you know that bikes have the right of way? If they hit a car that isn’t moving, it is the car’s driver’s fault. Crazy! Also, did you know that Amsterdam is below sea level. Despite the fact that this thriving city is 2 meters below the sea, its architecture is pretty amazing. In addition, sometimes I can see five or six buildings in a row which have the same shape. Below, you’ve got your example.
Basically, on our second to last full day in Amsterdam, we went on a food tour and then a biking tour directly afterwards. You would think that the food tour is going to be the topic of this post, but I found something even more interesting on our 3 1/2 hour country side biking experience. Originally I thought that all we were going to do was bike around and look at stuff, but when we turned onto a pebble covered road with a barn house in the distance, I realized I was in for a treat.
Up ahead in the slight drizzle I could hear MOO MOO and see black and white bodies moving around in a pen to eat hay. Of all the barnyard animals, I like cows second best (pigs are my favorite). A farmer met us as soon as we got off our bikes and introduced us to his family farm. Inside the barn house, he explained how he makes his cheese taste so good. The ingredients include a “family secret” with some other mysterious powders and such. Now I don’t remember exactly everything you need to know to make cheese, but I can give you some interesting facts about this popular Dutch product:
- Believe it or not, you don’t have to refrigerate cheese as long as it is sealed. It actually tastes better (I tried it).
- Farm produced cheese has a square sticker, but factory produced cheese has a circle sticker. The cheese you buy at stores is most likely factory produced and doesn’t taste as good as farm cheese.
- Farmers who make this item usually keep the best ones to themselves while they sell the decent cheese to local markets. Of course because the local markets are provided by farms, their cheese is still better than the factory type.
- Cheddar, bleu, goat, feta, parmessan, american, and mozzarella are all types of cheeses that we eat everyday. You should know that farmers make none of that. Also, did you know that all cheese produced in the Netherlands is gouda?
- Salt is one of the least important ingredients when making cheese.
- You can add almost any herb or spice to cheese to make it taste like it.
After reading this I hope you all get a better understanding of cheese and how it is made and prepared. But most importantly, when you come across cheese, you’ll know the facts behind it.