Have you ever seen the Austin Power’s Goldmember movie? What movie quote comes to mind? My college friends and I changed the phrase “I love gold” to “I love cheese.” Wine and cheese parties would never be the same with one of us always declaring our love for cheese.
After passing cheese store after cheese store in Amsterdam, I couldn’t help but go in one. I then learned that Amsterdam cheese is delicious. Little did I know that tour companies actually do cheese tours throughout the city. I’ve never been one for tours, so my friends and I decided to create a do-it-yourself (DIY) Amsterdam cheese tour.
Sampling many variations of gouda cheeses from smoked to green wasabi to purple lavender. It was like a craft brewery scene but with cheese. A creamy delight for snacking between tourist attractions and the canals. There are large chain cheese stores, along with smaller ones. We tried them all.
What to expect?
Since we were doing the tour ourselves, we weren’t served wine or had a personal guide talking about the history of cheese. Though, if the store isn’t busy at the time of visit, most of the staff are well informed and will tell you about the cheese as they replace the samples for customers to taste before purchasing.
Here are the five we stopped in during our quest for cheese tasting. Disclaimer: There are many more options than listed below and more than on the map at the end of the post.
Kaaskelder Henri Willig
The Bloemenmarkt is located in the city’s south canal belt, which claims to be the world’s only floating flower market. The market was closing for the day, but we were still able to see the vibrant varieties of tulips bulbs being sold. Tourists can buy the wooden tulips as a souvenir to remember their visit to Amsterdam. They look real, right?
Hidden in a cellar near the market’s stands, one could easily walk by admiring what the market has to offer. Fortunately, we were on a mission and ducked our heads below the sign to a world of cheese. My favorite cheese sample here was the smoky gouda.
Henri Willig Cheese & More
A larger and more modern storefront than Kaaskelder, I spent time tasting new cheese I hadn’t tried before. Getting a little more experimental with a floral tasting lavender cheese.
Amsterdam Cheese Company
Similar to Henri Willig brand, you’ll find multiple locations for the Amsterdam Cheese Company throughout the city. The shop was one of my favorites with the wooden racks and exposed red brick walls. My favorite cheese here was a roasted red pepper gouda. It was here I finally found the courage to try the wasabi cheese I was seeing at other stores. It wasn’t as spicy as I had imagined but did have notes of horseradish.
De Kaaskamer Van Amsterdam
A smaller store than the others didn’t mean that it had less variety. The walls were packed with cheese and the samples were in little plastic dishes to try. After a few stores, it was hard to remember what stood out here. I found this store a little less stocked with samples and the staff at the time of visit weren’t as available than the other shops we tried.
The staff was helpful and offered to vacuum seal any cheese we bought for flights. They must have picked up on the U.S. accents. Here, we did buy cheese as the prices were reasonable and paired the cheese with red wine for a mid-afternoon snack at the apartment.
Amsterdam Cheese Museum
After the Anne Frank tour, I had a few hours to kill before catching the train to the airport. I couldn’t have imagined a better end to the trip than learning how cheese was made and the history of Amsterdam cheese. Located in the basement of an Amsterdam Cheese Company store (time for more samples), walk around and read how cheese is made. Bonus, it’s free!
DIY Amsterdam Cheese Map
Of course, grocery stores probably sell the same high-quality cheese cheaper than some of the stores listed here, but the experience of seeing racks of cheese made my tastebuds water.
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