10 May2006

kaas1

(I have managed to finagle a high-speed internet hookup for a few hours so I am taking the opportunity to upload some of my Amsterdam posts now… enjoy!) Soon after checking into our small hotel on the Prinsengracht canal, we stepped out to check the surrounding area… a quick food reconnaissance mission. The food Gods were definitely looking out for Marketman & family as one of the first promising food related storefronts that we came across was a cheese shop named De Kaaskamer. I didn’t know it at the time (having only landed hours before) but the name meant “The Cheese Chamber” – and that is EXACTLY what it was. Located on a chi-chi side street (Runstraat, 7) along with several other notable food shops, this was the absolute “jackpot” in cheese, in the land of cheese. Less than 100 meters from our hotel, I was certain we were pre-destined to enter this fantastic store.

The simple but stunning façade street side was striking because of its yellow awning, black lettering, and a kaas6window display with old tires painted white resting on white river pebbles. Resting on top of the white tires were enormous wheels of yellow, red and black wrapped wheels of cheese. On closer inspection, two whole wheels of Italian Parmegiano Reggiano were on display and I knew there had to be a lot more good stuff inside… There were also blackboards in the window that announced what cheeses were on offer and the prices…what a beautiful and inviting window indeed!

Inside the small (perhaps 50 square meters) shop, your senses are just kaas8 overwhelmed with the volume of cheese in stock. Floor to ceiling, in just about every space possible were wheels and wheels of cheese! The more “common” Dutch cheeses were represented in abundance but there were also approximately 200+ other types of cheese from all over Europe. Frankly, this was the most impressive cheese shop I have ever seen. And because it was the day before a long holiday weekend, it was packed to the gills with customers (the Dutch apparently consume over 30 pounds of cheese per capita per annum)! Though I have to admit I have seen only a limited number of truly impressive cheese shops in my lifetime due to limited interest until recently…

The cheese inventory alone was probably the value of a few Mercedes Benzes but there was more… a huge selection of kaas2nuts and dried fruit, a selection of at least a dozen olives, an impressive array of pate and olive oils and other less perishable food items. The shop was small but manned by at least five salesmen who attended to each customer like they were buying diamonds… knowledgeable, amiable and efficient…what more could you ask for? So how could you not inspect the merchandise and select something to purchase?

My wife is more of a cheese person than I am so she was the one scouring the choices more intently while I simply gazed with jaws dropped. We decided to just buy a small wedge of French triple cream to whet our appetites and settled on a kaas5SUPERB Brillat Savarin that we had with some wheat bread as there were no crackers in sight in our hotel room. The cheese was one of the best triple creams I have ever eaten. It was FRESH and simultaneously creamy, light and richer than Bill Gates. A very generous wedge was just Euro 4 or PHP250 and easily fed 3 people…it was the best food bargain in Amsterdam!

 

COMMENTS:

  1. skiemermaid says:

    you have a very nice site. i came across it while googling for what to do with my leftover queso de bola. yes, i know it’s already May.

    the amsterdam cheese shop looks yummy. the bicycles outside the shop look cool too.

    May 10, 2006 | 5:49 pm

     
  2. Wilson Cariaga says:

    I do not have a good background about cheeses but I really would like to learn what cheese is for what. . . The shop looks amazing . . . I love cheese. . .

    May 10, 2006 | 8:20 pm

     
  3. millet says:

    drool, drool, drool………

    May 10, 2006 | 9:42 pm

     
  4. Mandy says:

    my mouth is watering… i’m not a cheese lover but i’m loving how that cream cheese looks! so creamy looking. i am imagining how it tastes like. def better than philadelphia! hahaha!

    May 10, 2006 | 10:24 pm

     
  5. fried-neurons says:

    Yum! That looks fantastic! We have quite a few good cheesemongers here in the Bay Area, but none of them is quite like what you described.

    If you’re still in that shop’s vicinity, try some epoisses (soft creamy cheese from France with a bit of that “ripe, vaguely moldy” bite). And for some comparative tasting, try a French or Belgian mimolette, which is supposedly a close cousin of Edam. Masarap when you eat in thin shavings.

    May 10, 2006 | 10:58 pm

     
  6. Mila says:

    what a lovely cheese shop and all that goodness in one location. Wouldn’t that be a great store if they had it in Schipol airport? I wouldn’t even be that bothered if the plane were late!

    May 11, 2006 | 11:20 am

     
  7. Marketman says:

    Mila, if they had this at Schipol I would be handcarrying 20 kilos home in a flash! Fried neurons, you have read my wife’s mind…she is the cheese expert in our home and she lived in France for graduate school so you can imagine what grief I get for not appreciating all of those superb french cheeses.

    May 12, 2006 | 3:59 am

     
  8. Lourdes says:

    My mouth is watering. I can’t help it. I love cheese so much especially the white cheese. The best that I only tried is the one in Philadelphia. Thanks for sharing your yummy look cheesy picture MM.

    May 12, 2006 | 4:18 pm

     
  9. Bay_leaf says:

    lovely report. i have turned into a cheese lover myself having lived here in Switzerland for many years.
    fondue and raclette, anyone? ;)

    May 12, 2006 | 8:46 pm

     
  10. Luis says:

    Very interesting posts on Amsterdam. I haven’t seen anything on the “coffeshops” though. Did you guys not go to any of them or can’t you guys remember? :-) Kidding! Will definitely check out what you posted when Mitch and I go.

    Jul 5, 2006 | 4:56 pm

     
  11. joey says:

    I love this store! I used to go when I was based in Amsterdam…super knowledgeable staff…I used to go and just tell them things like “I feel like having something creamy and not too sharp…” and they would suggest some great gem…Aaargh! I miss this store :(

    Aug 14, 2006 | 10:14 am

     
  12. Alex says:

    i just came back from amsterdam. i was lucky to step into that cheese store on my last day there. brougt 2 pieces old dutch cheese (2 year and 3 year old). best i’ve ever had.
    highly recommended.
    btw, the price is much less expensive than those stors in tourist areas. and the quality is way better.

    Jun 4, 2008 | 7:57 am

     
  13. crystal says:

    Was there in May – it is one of the most wonderful places on earth. Do you know if they have an online site?

    Dec 14, 2008 | 2:23 am

     
  14. thea says:

    I’m glad I found your blog. I’m going to Amsterdam on Sunday and I’m really looking forward to buying some cheese!

    Apr 11, 2009 | 6:57 pm

     
  15. Kathy Rastar says:

    I want to know if this is the most economical place to buy cheese. Is it or would the markets be cheaper?

    Apr 23, 2009 | 3:47 am

     
  16. Tom Andrews says:

    I visited Amsterdam several times in the late ’90s. I found this shop accidentally, and went back each trip thereafter. For two or three years Loek, who worked there, would ship cheese to me in the US to keep me going inbetween my trips. I understand the shipping cost became prohibitive, though, from Kaaskamer’s viewoint so they curtailed shipments at some point. I hope it’s temporary change in policy though.

    May 6, 2009 | 10:09 am

     
 

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