Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Amsterdam - Cheese Factory, Edam Volendom

Date: 12th October 2015

Volendam is a small town harbors which the Dutch are so proud of. In the 16th and 17th centuries, Edam, Volendam, Marken and Monnickendam were a bustling places with a flourishing fish trade. In Edam and Monnickendam the merchants lived the high quality of life and had a beautiful monumental properties built. Many of those buildings are still standing. Volendam is located about 30 km away from the windmill Zaanse Schans. The bus took us there and later it proceeded to Marken, allowing us to take a short cruise over to that fisherman island.

From where the bus parked, we followed the Tours & Tickets 2 cheerful tour guide to the famous cheese factory in Volendaram.  The Cheese Factory Volendam  is one of the famous tourist attraction in Amsterdam. We were then ushered to their museum located right at the lower ground of the building. We were informed that making cheese is not just a process, it's an art, thus, we had an ultimate experience in the world of cheese by being in this place. The factory occupies a premises of over 400 m2 where they have created a small Cheese Planet, consisting of 3 areas; the Museum, the Factory and the Shop. we got to know the process of how the milk later becomes a flavorful slice to spice up our bread. 

The cheese making machine, the 60 year presenter...

The tour guide started off the introduction before this humorous and beautiful 60 years old lady begin her talks and demonstration. Accordingly, cheese is one of the most common products in Westerner's food consumption, not to the Asian like me. And yes, Netherlands is one of the largest cheese producers in the world. She shared some educational stuff like how the holes appear in the cheese (*Answer=it is created by flecks of hay which develops into bigger holes as the cheese mature) and what makes the cheese taste different (Answer=because it has different process of making it each time) etc. and above all, we get to taste everything ourselves at the end of the demonstration. Obviously it is an exciting and entertaining experience for all age group of people.

Cheese has a long and thrilling history to tell. This particular product was accidentally discovered by the nomads about 6,000 years ago. It used to be quite different from the cheese we all know at present, maybe because of the technology advancement. In the museum we will get to know the farmers' traditional way of making cheese, the initial ingredients of the cheese and the long way of turning milk into creamy cheese. This cheese factory museum houses the unique collection of historical artefacts, pictures and items that vividly demonstrate the development of cheese making culture throughout the years. 

After our lady was done explaining the history of cheese, she proceeded on explaining how the modern process of cheese production. In addition, she demonstrated and explain how the fresh milk turns into the famous Dutch cheese. With her humor talent, she even suggested how to knock a husband head with hardened and old cheese, should he did listened to the wife.

1 of the unique artifacts found in the museum

The Cheese Factory provides us with small excursions around the factory where we get to indulge ourselves in the cheese making process. The excursions, which are available for groups as well as individuals, are held in Dutch, English, Spanish, French, and German. During the excursion we tasted several types of cheese with different additives and spices. Never ever in my whole life that I get to enjoy eating cheese with wasabi, jams, pickles etc etc. And of course later, we had to pay their hospitality by buying what they have offered in their special Cheese Shop. There's no free lunch right? We found a freshly homemade cheese from Volendam, exclusive cheese products, nice and handy cheese accessories and a wide range of souvenirs for the real cheese lovers. I'm very sure the cheese lover would agree but those I purchased, including a smoked cheese still have lots of balance in the fridge. Finally let's enjoy the various cheese photo in their shop.

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