This week has been travel vacation tyme with the first half in Brussels/Bruges and these last couple of days in Amsterdam. I/we were too busy with gaufres and frites to really pay attention to buying cheese EXCEPT the one day we had sharp white cheddar (which we should really be calling cheddar and what we call cheddar should be called orange cheddar but I digress) for apéro and lemme tell you what a taste of home that was! Sharp, crumbly, a little oily; I would say just about as good as cougar gold and maybe 1/5th the price because it doesn’t come from the wsu creamery.
So then we were in Amsterdam which = Holland = the Netherlands = dutch people live there = gouda is dutch = there is good cheese in the Netherlands. Curiously enough, In the supermarket (Alfred heijn) the cheese was rather uniform in that not the different textures/colors/smells/sizes of the cheese in france but lots of rounds and hard cheeses. Initial hypothesis is that the dutch prefer not terribly strong/smelly cheeses and I think tis correct. Most of the cheese was medium or medium-hard and had eyes the size of swiss at the largest. The first day we bought sliced geiten kaas belegen 50 aka 16 week ripened goat cheese (50% fat i think) and it was so choquant because here we had something that is usually from a vache but now in the netherlands comes in goat variety! It had that goaty dairy taste but also provolone (actually better) texture and a little cheddary bite. Really exciting stuff, I could nom HAM on this if we made a sandwich with multigrain bread and apricot preserves and BACON or prosciutto. Also the cheese was ghost white (and a little jaunatre on the edges) and that was striking visually and psychologically. Final love note is that this geitenkaas falls under the umbrella of gouda = like all the normal cheese here is gouda = i wish all the normal cheese in america was goudaaaaaaa
Then next cheese was kinda more of the same, this time not goat cheese but just regz gouda. Buttery, a liddle nutty but still tangy good, and suuuuuuch a smooooth tezzzzzture. We bought a presliced pack and it was gone in one night like dès que possible. It was gouda, I love gouda, happy to have introduced my life to gouda. Cheese doesn’t seem to be as much of a staple here as in France but I think there are several reasons for that. The first is that there are soooo many ethnic groups here in Amsterdam that the pure dutch influence is more dilute than in France, which has superstrate influence of french and substrate influence of french and then iddle biddle substrate influence of kebabs. In sum, the french abide by their cheese and bread and wine because thats what their ancestors have done forever and here in the Netherlands there are more options to sample ancestral choices. Well played Europe.
AND THEN pièce de resistance = KAAS SOUFFLÉWhat this is…. In the Netherlands (maybe just amsterdam? But I think this exists in Japan too) there are snack bars and then the uber snack bars where you put money in these quasi-vending machines and boom pops open a silver door and your chosen victual is there on a plate. This time we were at Febo which is one of the biggest snack bar competitors and I chose the kaas soufflé aka = as my friend put it, fried alfredo sauce. This could honestly be marketed as fried alfredo sauce. Which is alarming for my heart and developing tachycardia (lol joke) but sooo good for the soul. 2 pieces of pastry dough and inside a coupla slices of good old kaas all creamed and fried and hawt. 1.60 euros, not too bad for something that you write about later on your blog. Alors in conclusion, there is no dearth of cheese in the Netherlands as I had not actually feared before!