The Facts Behind Cheese

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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:

  1. Believe it or not, you don’t have to refrigerate cheese as long as it is sealed. It actually tastes better (I tried it).
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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?
  5. Salt is one of the least important ingredients when making cheese.
  6. 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.

Photo Jun 28, 6 03 26 PM
Me standing next to the unrefrigerated rows of cheese
Photo Jun 28, 5 59 46 PM
My family and I at the farmer’s shop
Photo Jun 28, 5 50 52 PM
Our farmer guide taking a crazy selfie
Photo Jun 28, 6 04 17 PM
My sister Sophie standing next to a shelf of clogs. In addition to making cheese, this farmer also produced traditional Dutch clogs.
Photo Jun 28, 6 11 14 PM
Sophie next to the tons of farm cows used to make cheese

7 Comments Add yours

  1. RC says:

    Nate, I learned so much in this post. I didn’t know that you liked pigs first, cows second. And I knew nothing about the square/circle sticker, factory-made versus farm-made, etc. So all they had at the farm you visited was gouda cheese?

    I love Amsterdam. Great city.

    MOO MOO.

    Like

    1. n8chen says:

      Yeah, Gouda all the WAY!!!

      Like

  2. Cathy says:

    Such a wonderful article, Nate!!!! Congratulations!!! I love Amsterdam, too, although I never went to a farm where they made cheese. How interesting! Can’t wait to read more posts about your trip. Say hi to your family for me!

    Like

    1. n8chen says:

      Thanks! Amsterdam is definitely a cool place to visit if you are looking for fun food activities!

      Like

  3. Gunks says:

    Great blog nate
    Are you now a Green Bay packer cheesehead

    Like

    1. n8chen says:

      Nah, I still like the Broncos. I think you would have loved this farm!

      Like

  4. rsaxena01 says:

    Great post. I would love to read more about Gouda cheese

    Like

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