Cheese-loving travelers will spend eight hedonistic days exploring and tasting the rich bounty of fine cheeses, artisan and world-renowned beers, and all that the ‘Venice of the North’ and its environs offer, as Cheese Journeys brings its unique mix of culture, craft, and luxury travel to Amsterdam, April 11-19, 2019.
While travelers meet in the iconic capital of the Netherlands, the journey truly kicks off in the lush countryside, north of Amsterdam, at Beemster Dairy. This farmer-owned cooperative was founded in 1901, but their story dates to the early 17th Century, when the Dutch reclaimed a coastal lagoon and created the nutrient-dense pasture that continues to feed the herds and produce some of the finest milk in the world. With artisan, time-tested techniques, Beemster uses this incredible milk to handcraft the richest, most flavorful gouda-style and other cheeses.
A tour highlight will be time spent with the energetic Martijn Bos, owner of Boska Holland Cheesewares. This traditional, yet innovative family-run company has been crazy about cheese since 1896, making every tool needed for the cheese enthusiast or professional. Not only will travelers tour Boska’s headquarters and enjoy dinner with the legendary Bos, guests will experience the city canals on Boska’s private boat. From the farmer’s markets, to chocolate, candy, cheese, bakery, and charcuterie shops, to historic sights and bridges, travelers will feel like a local as they hop on and off the boat at key locations throughout the city.
Guests will also get a behind-the-scenes visit with local host and cheese legend, Betty Koster of Fromagerie L’Amuse. Betty is not only a cheesemonger, but an oplegger (affineur) of her shop’s namesake cheeses. Known internationally as Holland’s ‘Julia Child of Cheese,' Betty’s quest for quality and her deep, long-established relations with Dutch farmers, cheesemakers and other affineurs have given her access to an unparalleled range of cheeses. Travelers will be introduced to the makers of some of the region’s most interesting, innovative cheeses, such as Remeker and Wilde Weide, as well as other award-winning, small-scale producers of Holland’s best blue and goat cheeses.
An educational evening of artisan beer and cheese pairing at the Jopenkerk Brewery will further one’s appreciation of Gouda-style and other cheeses; secrets to the unique pairing of cheese with tea will be shared; and a cooking class highlighting classic, old-world Dutch cuisine will be offered by a local chef.
A cheese journey to the Netherlands would not be complete without a visit to the Alkmaar Cheese Market for the most Dutch of cheese experiences. This bustling market is filled with vendors and cheese-hauling carriers, upholding the tradition of weighing and selling local cheese for over 500 years. And a trip during the springtime must also include a visit to Keukenhof Gardens, the world’s largest flower garden, to enjoy the tulips and more.
Finally, this cheese journey to Amsterdam is intended to put to rest some of the misconceptions surrounding cheeses from the Netherlands. While some highly-processed, red-waxed, factory-produced, pink or green cheese may be called “Gouda”, the name refers more to style of cheesemaking than to a specific kind of cheese. As with all cheeses, quality and taste vary widely based on terroir, technique and time (aging). Experiencing Dutch cheeses with experts and renowned makers at the source will be transformative for the Cheese Journeys traveler.
This trip is co-hosted by Cheese Journeys founder and CEO, Anna Juhl, and writer and cheese maven Tenaya Darlington, a.k.a. Madame Fromage. Cheese Journeys is privileged to be hosted by Holland’s ultimate cheese experts: the makers and sales team from Beemster; Martijn Bos, owner of Boska Holland; and cheesemonger and affineur Betty Koster, owner of Fromagerie L’Amuse.