I am back!  Sorry to say, but this kitchen is leaving me unmotivated and basically killing my creative cooking spirit.  I don’t want to be a downer, but I’m sure my mojo will return with the arrival of my boxes filled with kitchen supplies!  I’m sure I will hop around with my spatula in one hand and my chef knife in the other raised high towards the sky while images of sugar plums dance in my head… wait, that went a little far.

So, in the meantime I did become a Proefmeester (read: tasting master).  Yah, I am an expert in cheese tasting.  Boo-ya! I even got a certificate to prove it.  In the heart of Amsterdam there is a small cheese boutique called Reypenaer.  In the basement, there is a small tasting room, with tables and chairs set up facing the front of the class.  On the table sits 6 cheeses, a guillotine for slicing, a port glass, a wine glass and a carafe of water.  Who needs the water?  rhetorical question.

With my husband Arne and friends Rob, Ryan and Tobey, we had an excellent time learning the wise ways of cheese ripening in the traditional Dutch method.  Get this, they buy the wheels of cheese and then ripen them in rooms by opening and closing doors and windows.  You might think the same type of cheese would taste pretty similar if it was ripened for 4 weeks, 6 months or 2 years.  As a cheese tasting expert, I now know that this is untrue.  The ripening process gives the cheese depth in flavour and aroma.  Are you buying this yet?

Things I learned that I feel I should share:

1. Port tastes good with goat cheese.

2.Red wine tastes good with cow’s milk cheese.

3. Gouda refers to the shape of the cheese not the region it was made.

There you go.  Some useful tips from an expert.

Just to show that we really went for the European experience, we stopped in a tiny chocolaterie for a handmade bonbon afterwards.  Sublime!