Local Heart, Global Soul

October 7, 2011

Groves of Cloves, Seeds and Nettles… in my Cheese!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Yet another cheesy post, taken from my archive photos as we take a virtual tour through one of The Netherlands best Specialist Cheese Shops: Ed Boele’s in the Fahrenheitstraat in The Hague.

Plain cows’ milk cheeses are of course what the Dutch are famous for.

The Dutch have both in the past and present, exported not only vast volumes of cheese, but also the world-famous back and white super-milker, the Friesian Cow too.

But of course not just cows produce milk… there are also goat and sheep cheeses available  in every cheese shop.  Usually quickly identifiable by their very white colour, these cheeses are often accompanied by a distinct sharpness, even in the young cheeses, and this can be an acquired taste.

When I first came to live in The Netherlands I found these far too strong for my taste, but this is where the little slip of cheese tasted in the cheese shop comes very much in handy. Over the years I have tried many a little slice of goat and sheep cheese and yes, to be honest  most have been beyond me, but over time, I have found several exceptionally tasty but also mild sheep and goat cheeses that I can now enjoy.

It’s always worth a try and who knows, maybe you’ll  find one that suits you too.

Then there are the “cheeses with bits and flavours”. Cheese makers are Foodies after all and what true Foodie doesn’t like a little culinary experiment?

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Brandnetelkaas”  (stinging nettle cheese) contains, you guessed it…. stinging nettles. …and No, they don’t sting at all once they are in the cheese.  There is a distinctive taste to it and it comes with small green pieces of stinging nettle mixed throughout the cheese.

Personally, I’m still working on liking stinging nettle cheese,  not because I actively dislike it but rather because I have  a long list of other cheeses-with-bits-and extras that I like even better.

Amongst others there is ‘knoflook kaas’ (garlic) cheeses, “gerookte kaas‘ (smoked) cheese, capsicum cheese (slightly spicy)…

westfriese-kruidenkaaas *’ (West Friesian herb cheese)  with garlic, celery, chives and paprika,  ‘noten‘ (nuts), ‘fenegriek‘ (Fengeek) ” mosterdzaden‘ (mustard seed)…

peperkorrels‘ (peppercorns) but  there are several others probably top the list of perennial Dutch favourites:  

komijnenkaas‘  (cummin seed cheese) This is another of the  ‘acquired taste’ cheeses and personally, I like it in small quantities.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

I have stood in the shop in times past and watched in wonder as I waited my turn as customer after customer before me buys  a slab of  cummin seed cheese with their regular order of cheese  and I’ve been facinated at the apparent national appitite for this particular cheese.  It’s so popular you can get it country wide in any cheese shop.

kruidnagelkaas‘ (clove cheese) This cheese is a must for any true lover of cloves… and one of my personal favourites.

(*) a small note about the westfriese-kruidenkaaas  I mentioned earlier, it’s fabulously delicious  “as is” on crackers or bread, but I wouldn’t recommend cooking with it because I tried twice. First to make a herb-y cheese sauce and second to mix with  hot pasta.

Both times it the result was excessively salty, even though I added no other salt to the recipes. You win some, you loose some, cooking with this one was a definite fail.

These are just a small selection of the Dutch cheeses on offer… now you see why a shop that specialises in just cheese is such an excellent idea here in The Netherlands… but I’m not finished yet!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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