The Dutch are often referred to as ‘cheeseheads.’ Though it started out as a slanderous, derogatory term, most of us wear it with pride.
Why not? The Netherlands is among the world’s top producers — and exporters — of cheese, and we eats lots of it ourselves.
Gouda, Edam, Beemster, Maaslander, Leyden, and so on, are household names here. The cheese departments in our supermarkets are large. They carry not just domestic products, but also a great variety of cheese from all across Europe.
While most of us get our cheese at the supermarkets, many also — or exclusively — buy it at street markets, farmers’ markets, or in specialty stores.
One such store that Janet and I frequent ourselves is De Kaaskamer, in the Negen Straatjes (‘Nine small streets’) shopping district in the center of Amsterdam.
This store carries a fantastic variety of authentic, high quality cheeses from all over.
Take a look around:
Understandably, this is a busy place. But the friendly staff is helpful and efficient. Trust me, if you don’t quite know what you’re looking for, ask for their recommendations.
One reason I’m posting this photo and information is that I, like many Amsterdammers, are miffed (to put if mildly) at the large number of tourist trap cheese stores that have opened in the city in recent years.
Shops like De Kaaskamer are authentic, even artisan in nature. As part of the Amsterdam community they serve locals and visitors alike.
But those tourist traps — with their ‘souvenir packaged,’ overpriced wares are places the locals avoid like the plague. So, dear friend, should you.