Dutch Farm Cheese & Fun
Eating delicious cheese is one of the true joys of living in the Netherlands. Our middle little, O, is particularly fond of all things cheese. When we found a cheese farm outside of Utrecht with lots to offer we added it to our itinerary.
Although we’ve been to the cheese museums in Gouda and Alkmaar and are relatively familiar with the cheese making process, it never gets old seeing it in person.
The Kaasboerderij De Ossenwaard appears as an adorable little farm house on a farm road. As you pull through the gate you will see a fully working cheese farm complete with animals to see, a small museum and even a trampoline and swing set.
Our first stop though was the cheese shop. It’s lined wall to wall with cheese. Some of the cheese is ready for sale and some of it is still aging on the shelf. The cheesemaker’s wife is in charge of the shop. She was happy to let us sample the different types of cheese before we ordered. While we were in there a woman came in to purchase a variety of cheeses for a picnic, which the cheesemaker’s wife happily cut into cubes for her.
The store is linked to the room where the cheese is made. You can peek in and see the milk tank, pressing table and even the salt brine baths.
The cheesemaker took the boys into the room to show them just how cheese is made. First they showed us the stamp that goes on every cheese wheel. The cheesemaker told our kids, “When you were born you got a name. When cheese is born it gets a number.”
There was plenty of cheese sitting in the brine bath. They get flipped by the cheesemaker a few times a day and their duration in the bath is dependent on the size of the wheel.
Then we moved into the next room where the cheese is set to age. The cheesemaker showed the boys how he puts the wax coating onto each wheel of cheese. He has to put four coats on to get the rind. The wax helps to give the wheel its yellow color and while the wax shouldn’t hurt you, it isn’t advised to eat. We had to ask because O has eaten a bit of wax since his interest in cheese started a few months back.
The “old gouda” sits on the shelves for over a year. The younger cheeses spend a few months before they are ready to be sold.
Once you head outside you are free to explore the farm. There is a small museum which features tools used on the homestead. There is also a restored bread oven from 1810, which is currently being used to bake bread. The collection is quite varied, from chairs to tools, but all are part of this working farm’s history.
If the weather is nice there is a trampoline and swing set for the kids to enjoy. This was enough to get energy out of the boys before our drive home.
There were also bunnies, birds and chickens all for the kids to enjoy. Of course you can also visit the cows! These surely are happy cows in their beautiful green field! The farmer is the cheesemaker’s brother. Does it get any cuter then that?
For the curious the wheel of cheese is sold by weight, just like when you buy a piece of it. The large wheels weigh 12 kilograms and a typical price per kilogram is 10 Euros. So you can buy your own wheel for 120 Euros – no bulk discounts.
We had such a nice time we stayed longer than expected. On our initial trip into the store we didn’t buy anything that needed refrigeration but popped back in for some cream and eggs before we left the farm. This farm only produces cheese, so all other dairy products are from neighboring farms.
This is a great stop if you want to learn about cheesemaking and try some great cheese. It’s close to Utrecht, so combine it with a visit to the National Railway Museum or the Miffy (Nijntje) Museum, both in city center.
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