In the 1980s, the traditional Dutch cheese market was tentatively exploring new options. French cheese was offered more often when serving a drink and tastier cheeses on bread were gaining ground. For example, Aged Gouda cheeses. Unfortunately for cheese lovers the quality of these cheeses varied greatly at the time. Aged Gouda cheese was often dry, crumbly and the cheese rind so hard that you had to resort to band aid after cutting. The Westland family decided in 1985 that it was high time to develop an Aged Gouda cheese with a smooth texture while sparked with ripening crystals. Their experience selling cheese door-to-door meant they knew exactly which characteristics were needed. They were looking for a cheese with Amsterdam star quality. A cheese that can be distinguished from all others.
There is no other city quite like Amsterdam. In Amsterdam people work and play hard. The free spirit of the traditional traders of Holland has been present in the people of Amsterdam ever since the Golden Age. The uniqueness of Amsterdam inspired the Westland family with the first cheeses also being matured in the heart of Amsterdam, in a building on the Lijnbaansgracht. The many contrasts in the city and its people pulled on the heartstrings of the family. And found its way to Old Amsterdam.
Dutch milk is used to produce Old Amsterdam with rennet, cheese cultures and salt being added to start the cheese-making process. The cheese culture is the ingredient that give the cheese its unique taste. The Westland developers experimented years with various cheese cultures until they finally found the perfect cheese culture for Old Amsterdam. Milk barrel 4 proved to contain the perfect mixture of natural ingredients. The M4 cheese culture today is still the best kept secret within cheese making.
The quest to find out how to mature a cheese while keeping the texture creamy came to an end in Italy. Cheese farmers in Italy have been producing creamy cheeses with ripening crystals for generations. The secret is in the whey, the liquid milk elements. The whey is separated from the curd, the solid elements of the milk. The whey is collected and added to the process later once it has cooled down. The Italians say that this is when the soul is added to the cheese.
The Westland cheese makers once again turned to their colleagues in Southern Europe, to ask for their help in developing the ripening process of Old Amsterdam. The ripening of a cheese determines the flavor and structure of the cheese. A strict schedule of specific temperature and humidity was developed for Old Amsterdam. Flavor is hereby more important than the actual maturation time. Old Amsterdam matures in eight months on average.
People in over 60 countries enjoy this Aged Gouda cheese with a unique character.
We have own branded cheese stores in Amsterdam and our cheese has won numerous international awards. Something the family is proud of.
Have you heard of Old Amsterdam Goat Gouda yet?
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