Cheese Valley is a small but charming region that covers four towns and cities, each with its own cheese history and traditions. And each of them as hospitable as the other.
Semi-hard cheeses from Bodegraven-Reeuwijk receive awards nearly every year and there’s always one farm in this famous cheese centre that is awarded the Boerenkaas Cum Laude trophy. So Bodegraven-Reeuwijk really is a must-know if you love cheese! Another special event is the decades-old tradition of the crowning of the Cheese Queen. A fantastic highlight of the Autumn Market!
At the Cheese Museum, you can admire portraits of all Cheese Queens and learn about the rich cheese history of Bodegraven-Reeuwijk. But the most important thing to do is to actually taste the cheese. This picturesque region is full of authentic cheese farms, cheese shops and a cheese tasting parlour!
Gouda, the city that oozes cheese, as it were. But did you know they don’t make any cheese in Gouda? So what’s the secret of the city that is world famous for its cheeses? The key word is trade: regional farmers took their creamy round cheeses to Gouda’s weekly market, where they were sold as ‘Gouda cheese’. And it didn’t take long for these ‘Gouda’ cheeses to become world famous.
The key building for the cheese trade, De Goudse Waag, still forms an impressive setting for the weekly cheese market. You can just pop in because the beautiful building designed by Pieter Post is currently home to the Cheese Museum as well as the Tourist Information Centre. With a Gouda Ticket it’s easy to fill your day out in Gouda with cheese! And you can relish the memory by buying a piece of cheese in one of the original cheese shops in the historic city centre…
The Netherlands’ best-kept secret, Krimpenerwaard, can be found between Rotterdam and Gouda. It’s an area of outstanding charm and individuality. Every spring, the dairy cows literally jump and dance back into the fields. A magnificent sight! Farmers have been keeping the grass as protein-rich and juicy as possible for centuries now. And you can taste it: the cheese is rich in milk flavour.
Because if you thought all cheese is made in factories these days, you’re wrong, fortunately: there are still plenty of active cheese farmers in Krimpenerwaard! Examples include Dairy Cattle and Cheese Farm Schep and Hoogerwaard Cheese Farm. In Krimpenerwaard, you simply cycle from one to the other!
In the old days, merchants would bring products from the farms to the city. A smart move because it yielded better prices! But farmers soon noticed that Woerden was an important trading place and that it would pay off to undertake that journey themselves. So off they went, to the city with horse and cart but without merchants. And they weren’t the only ones… The first farmers’ market started in 1410. The early beginnings of today’s farmers’ market city of Woerden!
These close ties with the countryside and the down-to-earth entrepreneurial spirit have never left the city. And to this day, every Saturday, Kerkplein is the ultimate place to trade the most delicious farmhouse products. At Janmaat Cheese Farm you discover how farmhouse cheese is made, while you can admire the cheese maturing process at Reypenaer Cheese Warehouse. And the full story of making, maturing and tasting cheese? That’s something you can experience at the Cheese Experience Centre.