Golden Glow over Gouda City
The Gouda city hall lights up in a golden glow. The few rays of sunlight passing the city hall direct all attention to the negotiation game of the cheese farmer and the buyer on this Thursday’s Gouda cheese market. After the deal has been sealed the farmer approaches me and asks:
“Would you like to try out different cheeses and make your own cheese in a cheese farm”?
There’s a little spark inside me and I nodd my head. He makes a phone call, arranges a bike and….
I’m off to explore the typical Dutch countryside in Gouda region. I’ve heard that there are many cheese farms in this area, all producing their own variety of cheese. Eager to find out all the inside stories of the cheese farmers I get on my rented bike and hit the road.
Cycling in Gouda region
The bike trail follows the river and for miles I can only see green meadows and grazing black-and-white cows. I let my mind wonder and almost cycle past the first farm. The cheese farmer stands at the entrance with a welcoming glass of buttermilk. Apparently he can see the surprised look in my eyes and starts explaining:
“I’m not just a cheese farmer. We make all kinds of dairy products.”
The glass of buttermilk sure tastes like more, so I say goodbye to the farmer and his family and hop on my bike again to find out more about cheese. The cycle route takes me past idyllic Old Dutch farms and high tech cheese factories.
Cheese tastings & cheese making workshop
One of the farmers tells me he has to keep reinventing himself and his business. Recently he started cheese tastings and it’s quite a big hit. Especially as his neighbours on one side have a pop-up camping and those on the other organise creative events on the farm lands. A few meadows further a guy is fanatically waving at me. I cycle towards him and he presents me a small cheese.
“This is the end result. Now use this example and make your own cheese”
I breath in the smell of the Dutch countryside and start working on my cheese. It’s so peaceful here and at the same time there’s so much to discover, I wonder why I’ve never done this before.