Today’s journey from 16th century Gouda cartoons to modern Zwolle stained glass superheroes starts in Leiden. For a team activity during the Leidens Ontzet I was looking for unique places and objects. Research brought me in the St John of Gouda. There was a huge stained glass window depicting the Relief of Leiden. Why it was there and not in Leiden I will tell you later. For now picture yourself in the St John and think of a comic book.
They all come to Gouda, city of cheese. Cheese fans from all over the world look forward to the new season of the Gouda cheese market, which opens on Thursday 6 April 2017. Whether you like Old Amsterdammer, Beemster cheese or Edammer Cheese, Gouda is the place to taste the different types of delicious round gold. Gouda cheese market is only on Thursdays though. So, what kind of cheese related things can you do when you visit Gouda on another day? And, is there anything else worth seeing & tasting? Let’s find out.
It’s Saturday. In a Gouda cheese farm, a 5 km bike ride from Gouda, city of cheese, the women are making cheese. We arrive to early, the cheese is still curd and spinning in a big tub. So, I suggest to hit the road and visit the cheese warehouse first. Enroute we are thrilled with the sight of the typical Dutch landscape, we are amazed by the flat organised structure of the polders. Seeing the first windmill makes us clap our hands in excitement. It can only get better. And it does. When we reach the cheese warehouse, our jaws drop.
Gouda Cheese Museum & Cheese Shop
We do visit the Gouda cheese farm again, see the cheese go in the presses. Then we head back to Gouda city of cheese, because we have a full program. The Gouda cheese museum is first on our list. A volunteer of the museum guides us through the history of cheese and other dairy products. We are almost done with the cheese part of our visit to Gouda. We have tasted quite some Gouda farmer cheeses at the Gouda cheese warehouse and the cheese farm, but at ‘t Kaaswinkeltje we not only see the golden version, but also many other colours. One last time we taste different types of cheese, one last time we buy another Gouda cheese, this time a cheese with cumin.
Gouda city of cheese soup & syrup waffle dessert
After a lunch of Gouda cheese soup on the terrace of Belvedère, with view on the very attractive Saturday market, we pass by a couple of the stroopwafel shops to taste and buy the different syrup waffles – and yes, there is also great difference in the syrup waffles you get in Gouda-.
Gouda stained glasses & pollard willows
We’ve kept the best for last. On our way to the Gouda cheese farm & warehouse, we saw these special type of pruned trees along the canals. Apparently you don’t see them ( that much) in America. In the Netherlands we are used to them and they are centuries old. In the St John church of Gouda, famous of the large stained glasses, there is a pane that also depicts these pollard willows. The upper part of this stained glass depicts a scene in the life of John the Baptist. Although it doesn’t take place in the Netherlands, these pollard willows at the riverside give a Dutch touch to this Middle Eastern scene.
To be able to point the others to this specific stained glass in the St John church ánd to be able to show them Gouda city of cheese and so much more, made me immensely happy. And, not just me…