Interestingly enough the Netherlands had really fantastic artisanal cheesemaking traditions instilled in their society in the "olden days," but with the onset of modernization, a lot of their old food production procedures were lost. But fret not, this week our reliable spy found one of the best native cheeses at the height of the new artisanal cheesemaking revolution in the Netherlands.
This week, our spy went shopping at Caulils located at Haarlemmestraat 115 to buy a wonderful assortment of cheeses for a boating trip on the canals, what could be better to bring than cheese and snacks?
What did the spy find? Well the first discovery was an excellent local cheese known as olde remeker, a truly special award-winning Dutch style cow's milk cheese also aged for eighteen months. Unlike a lot of cheeses coming out of the Netherlands nowadays, this cheese is produced by a small farm, not a big industrial plant and trust me you can tell it is artisanal from the moment you lay eyes on it -- it a deep mustardy yellow hue. On the tongue, this is a chalky, nutty, butterscotchy mouthful of goodness - piquant, pungent, biting and fantastic -- it harkens back to the old school cheesemaking traditions of the region.
The next cheese our spy discovered is also aged eighteen months, except this time around, it hails from a little further away -- Spain. It is a Spanish Manchego -- crumbly, hard, caramelly, and all around delish! The flavors of this cheese have fully developed in its aging process making it a really dynamic and truly unique cheese.
But the best thing that our faithful cheese spy found was what is known as the "Dylan" mix -- the ultimate combo of nuts, dried cranberries, and wasabi dots... named after the Amsterdam hotel The Dylan -- one of the city's nicest boutique hotels, overlooking the fifth canal, the Keizersgracht. The building was certainly not always a hotel -- from 1773 till 1998, it was utilized by the Regents of the Roman Catholic Church Authorities as the Old and Poor People's Office. However, in 1999, the building reopened as the hotel it is to date, fantastically new yet imbued with the city's historical memory -- a must visit on your next trip to Amsterdam.
Check back next week for another Cheese Spy Story dispatch from a totally new locale.