Amsterdam – Reypenaer Cheese Tasting Room
I always describe Reypenaer cheese as the kind of cheese that Dutch people buy each other for Christmas.
Reypenaer is a cheese company run by the Wyngaard family and they ripen cheese in an old fashioned way and produce an exceptionally high quality end product. There are 2 vital elements to this, first, to buy a great quality cheese and second, to age it properly in their classic old warehouse.
The starting product is cheese that is made from milk from cows that graze on quality grass high in nutrients grown in the rich clay of North Holland’s drained lakes. These lakes were drained iin the 1600s to make fertile farmland and they keep delivering!
Next, the warehouse. In Woerden, the Wyngaard’s have an antique warehouse where the temperature and humidity are controlled by cheesemasters opening or closing shutters and vents. The fluctuation conditions impart a complexity to the cheese. The cheeses are ageded on wooden shelves and are frequently turned and checked and ripened for up to 2 and a half years. Cheese from this warehouse is labelled ‘Reypenaer’, which is a reference to this special ripening process.
The antique warehouse is used to its capacity so what they have done to increase production is have sensors in the old warehouse and they replicate the same conditions in a new warehouse. They ripen cow and goats milk cheeses here on stailess steel shelves. The scheese aged in the new warehouse are labelled ‘Wyngaard’.
If I could only eat 2 more Dutch kinds of cheese in my life, ever, they would be the 10-month goat’s cheese (Wyngaards Chevres Gris) and the 2-year cow’s milk cheese (Reypenaer VSOP).
It comes vacuum packed, so it lasts for 3 months out of the fridge and you can take it into the US.
Drop into the shop and try their cheeses. Or, you can do a 1-hour tasting in their very stylish basement tasting room, see picture, where you are guided through a tasting which comprises 6 wedges of cheese and 3 glasses of wine: white, red and port, to pair with the different kinds of cheese. They are very generouus with the cheese, you decide how much you eat!
The shop gets busy on the weekends and the tastings sell out so it is best to book online in advance.