The Dutch are crazy about their cheese. They eat it for breakfast, for lunch, for dinner. You never have to walk far to come across a cheese shop or a cheese stall at the market. I don’t think a single day has passed since I have lived here that I haven’t eaten cheese.
Yesterday we went for a cheese tasting at a speciality cheese shop in Amsterdam that sells Dutch cheeses matured in a traditional warehouse in use since 1906. For €12.50 each, we got to taste six Dutch cheeses along with a glass of white wine, a glass of red wine, a glass of port, and commentary from the cheese “Tasting Master,” who was more enthusiastic about cheese than any other person I’ve ever met.
As we tasted the cheeses, we were expected to take “tasting notes” about the colour, smell, taste, age, consistency, and “overall impression” of the cheese, and grade the cheese on a scale of 1 to 10. This is harder than it sounds. I mean how do you describe a cheese (no matter how good) in so much detail? I’m afraid some of my notes read as follows: