Cheese Tasting in Amsterdam
It was a splurge and well worth it…
We are not versed in the variances of cheeses in America. Even President de Gaulle once remarked about the French, “How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?”
Since we do have our favorites, can you describe how they taste, and why you enjoy them? Probably not, and neither could I. So how would one sift through hundreds of cheeses to find the type you would crave? Just like wine, there is a method.
About half way from the Central train station in Amsterdam, and the Anne Frank house, you can find the answer. Located at Singel 182, is the Reypenaer Cheese Shop. This is a well laid out cheese shop, but its treasure lies in the tasting classroom in the basement. There are about 24 seats with two at each table, in six rows. There is a large TV monitor in front for some explanatory videos on cheese making, and the history of the shop.
Their best advertising occurs if you should be present when school lets out. The students rave about the course and recruit the next group of students. Register while you are there, or go on line (website here) as the classes fill up. On your “lab” table there will be wine glasses, and a cheese board with slicer. Also, a methodical chart for your tasting notes and numbered picture graph to help define your tastes.
There are six cheeses and wine pairing flights that will be rated by you in seven categories. It was surprising, with the teacher’s direction, that you could distinguish the differences in the cheeses and how they changed with the accompanying wine.
You are directed to use four of your senses. The tasting notes will direct you to your personal favorite, which you will be able to purchase at a discount after the class. There is no cap and gown… but each participant receives a signed diploma from the master cheese maker. It was a splurge and well worth it!
Our instructor for the cheese class…Ron Pieters