Tonight I wanted to teach myself how to make graphics for my blog and mess around with image optimization, and in the process of learning this I’ve decided to tell you about Dutch cheese.
I am not a cheese connoisseur. I can’t tell you about the types of cheese and how they differ or what region they originate in. But I can tell you how much I loved it all during my trip to the Netherlands in May 2017.
The first thing to know is this: cheese is everywhere. This delicious, basic cheese (usually Gouda, I think) that the Dutch take for granted can be purchased everywhere from the grocery store to a food stand at a tulip garden to the gift shop at a miniature village. It’s usually in a small sandwich form, sometimes with a thin layer of butter, occasionally with some herbs.
I could eat it every day, and I did. I only took pictures of some, but here are some of the cheese sandwiches I consumed.
OK so, first of all, here is one of the many, many cheese stores/museums. It’s everywhere. You can buy it in wheels and eat it later, or – in my case – stuff them into your luggage to bring home.
This was my favorite sandwich. I was hungover (I will do another post about the strength of European beers at a later time) and found this at a food court at the Keukenhof Tulip Garden. A fluffy wheat bread with some slices of cheese. Nothing complicated, just sweet, delicious cheese.
Cheese is also served at breakfast (continental-style), so you can start your day off right. I had this delightful breakfast spread at an Airbnb in Maastricht, complete with fresh-baked bread and several types of local cheeses – plus a soft-boiled egg.
This was a grilled cheese sandwich I had later that same day in Maastricht, in a restaurant above the Maastricht Underground caves. This was actually one of my least-favorites, as it was made with a strong Muenster cheese that left a weird after-taste. I had an even worse toasted brie sandwich later in the day that I got from a street vendor. But, honestly, even the worst Dutch cheese is better than any American cheese and I have no complaints.
This was a simple cheese sandwich with a thin layer of herby butter from a gift shop at Zaanse Schans. I ate two of them while admiring the windmills and dodging the children.
Clearly, this is not a picture of cheese. It is a picture of a Dutch apple tart that I ate at the Nationaal Militair Museum in Soesterberg. I was visiting my place of birth (my dad was stationed there when I was born) and was very stressed out because no one spoke English in that part of the country, so I forgot to take a picture of the delicious, fresh goat cheese wrap I ate just prior to the tart. So please imagine the goat cheese wrap. The tart was excellent as well.
And this is my last cheese sandwich of my trip. I ate it in the airport before my flight back to the US. It had a buttery spread, some veggies, and several layers of cheese. I was so, so sad to finish this sandwich. I will cherish its memory til the day I die.
I should note that there are several famous cheese varieties based in specific towns – Gouda and Edam, for example – and I did not visit them. I drove through Gouda but I got really overwhelmed because there was nowhere to park and no one spoke English and I panicked and kept driving. But if you’re less neurotic than I am, you could park and go see the cheese market.
In sum, the cheese was my favorite part of my entire trip to Holland.