If you’re yearning for a literal taste of the Dutch capital, look no further than the Old Amsterdam Cheese tasting – whose flagship store hosts a daily cheese tasting at 5:00 PM. During an hour-long session, you’ll get to sample five different local cheeses along with sommelier-paired wines.
If you love world cheeses, check out this post on scrumptious world cheeses – from Italy to Colombia.
Top tip: Before the cheese tasting, resist the temptation to snack on all the samples in the store. You will have plenty of time to try them all afterwards – if your stomach still has room! Although the slabs of cheese aren’t ginormous, they are quite filling. Plus, you’ll receive a 10% discount to purchase your favorites afterwards. (It will be in the back of your ‘passport.’)
Oftentimes dining experiences abroad lack a connection to the region’s history. However, the Old Amsterdam Cheese tasting situates the cheese within a larger context. For instance, you’ll learn why the Westland gave up fishing to produce cheese and how the Old Amsterdam Cheese brand became distinguished within the Dutch cheese market.
You’ll also find out why the brand, officially established within 1985, is called Old Amsterdam – in addition to what the hard deposits on cheese are made of (they’re not salt crystals) and why lactose intolerant people can eat goat cheeses.
Attending the official Old Amsterdam Cheese tasting is much more interesting than just nibbling on shards of cheese at stores and markets. As you taste the cheese, you will learn about the general process of cheese making – and what makes each variety distinct.
The understanding that you will gain about the cheeses will enhance your gastronomic experience, as you attempt to identify the flavors mentioned and observe the differences in taste and texture.
If you would travel for a cheese festival, add Trujillo, Spain to your list!
They hold a ‘feria del queso’ every spring.
Forget attempting to gorge on tiny Gouda cheese samples amongst hordes of other ravenous tourists. The casual, educational experience at the Old Amsterdam cheese store will be much more memorable. Plus, you can relax in the cosy, private tasting loft and chat with other fromage aficionados at your table. We were sat with another couple from the UK and a couple from the Bahamas, and there were attendees from all over the world.
Surprisingly, I found the Old Amsterdam Cheese tasting more interactive and interesting than visiting the actual Amsterdam Cheese Museum. (The Amsterdam Cheese Museum seems to value their shop more than their exhibition, which sits in the basement, almost as an afterthought.)
A combination of film clips, discussion and question/answer sessions helped us to learn about the cheese making procedures and cheese varieties. Throughout, we filled out our cheese passport books for a chance to win a mini cheese wheel souvenir.
If you like cheese, chances are you’ll enjoy the dairy-focused culinary tour. It’s informative, but casual; and it serves as an aperitif before you head to dinner. While you may be able to sign up in the shop on the day, it’s advisable to book online beforehand. You’ll avoid disappointment and save a few Euros (€2.50 per adult ticket).
If you go:
Old Amsterdam Cheese Store
Damrak 62 1012LM
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Tasting at 5:00 PM.
All information is accurate at time of posting.
Dying to try these cheeses?
Disclosure: Up&AtEm Travel was provided admission to the Old Amsterdam cheese tasting. This is a sponsored advertorial post.
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