Henri Willig: Cheese, Anyone?

Hey there, people of the world! How are you doing today? I hope extraordinarily well!

Today we are writing about cheese! Yes, good ol’ gouda and ’em!

On the trip to Amsterdam I visited one of many cheese shops owned by the Henri Willig family. Although to this day the company is family-owned, I didn’t get to meet any of the family members. I did, however, meet a wonderful young lady dressed in traditional Dutch dress, who told me quite a bit about the company’s history and about cheese! It was quite…gouda (of) her! Hehe….hehehe…hehehehehe

I was walking around Amsterdam, taking pictures to print for offices and hallways, when I happened upon the Floating Market and a seemingly quaint cheese shop. Here my cheese adventure began (Click ‘here‘ to watch a short video.)

History in the room upstairs

Seen in the photograph above is some of the machinery used back in the day when Mr. Willig first started making cheese.

Wheels on wheels on wheels

I know someone who would have loved for this to have been their AirBnB room, as long as they could eat this cheese freely! Many of the cheeses in the Netherlands are traditionally made and then preserved in wheels like these.

Old cheese

As you see in this photo, there is sheep cheese that has been aged and is labeled extra old. Think a mature and rich flavor with a dry texture. There is cheese made of sheep’s, goat’s, and cow’s milk, and sometimes all three are mixed to make one cheese; which is delicious!

Cow-milk cheese

Next to the sheep cheese there is the vaca cheese. If you’re unsure about the words, the images on the packages help. This happened to also be extra old cheese, which means it tastes saltier and richer than your young cheeses.

Sample plate

In addition to the plain (yet tasty) cheeses, I was told these are some of the most popular cheeses purchased by customers: cow cheese with herbs & garlic, and one with red chili peppers. These were young cheeses. The herbs & garlic one is also known as the dynamite cheese and contains herbs like chives and parsley. The red chili one is gouda cheese with jalapeño peppers. They were both exceptionally good, but my palate liked the simplicity & complexity of the plain cheeses.

There is something about the cheeses I ate in the Netherlands, Belgium, and Italy, in that they didn’t bother my stomach like cheese in the United States (unfortunately) does. So I ate as much cheese as I pleased, and walked & walked & walked some more to balance it all out. Hahaha!

If you’ve heard of gouda cheese, then you have heard of Nederlands cheese. Gouda is a town in the Netherlands from whence this world-renowned cheese is known. When it is made in the Netherlands it will have a seal on the packaging, showing you as much. You can find some in the United States, but not all European cheese sold here is actually made in Europe.

Gouda is pronounced as gha-oo-da; not gooda. Gouda cheese is usually creamy, comes both in young and aged varieties and if you haven’t tried smoked gouda….it’s time you do!

You may have heard of Edam cheese, which is said to only be made in the Netherlands. It is wrapped up in wax and it doesn’t spoil easily.

Henri Willig as a company began in 1974 and is known for producing fine cheese products. I like the fact that his family still helps run the company, almost fifty years later. For more information on Henri Willig’s cheeses, visit their website. One cool thing you could also do when you visit the Netherlands, is to book a trip to visit one of their cheese farms. If you go to Zaanse Schans, admission to the farm is free and you can also see the remaining eight wind mills (there used to be 600 in that same area.) Getting there is an easy train and bus ride from Amsterdam Centraal.

Thanks for coming along this delicious cheese ride! See you next time!

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