Thursday, 11 January 2007

Cheese and Clogs Factory

From Volendam to Den Haag, we stopped at one from many Cheese and Clogs Factory located here in Volendam. At first, we just want to snap one or two picture outside the factory.

Not long after, came a young lady asking whether we care to join her for a short factory tour? When she saw our long dismissal face...she quickly explained that there will be no entrance fee., dah sampai sini..takan tak nak singgah betul tak? So..what the heck...lagipun free.

Cheese and Clogs Factory

As you all know, Holland is unquestionable the `cheese country' not only because of its high export or the wide variety of Dutch cheeses available at the supermarket or delicatessen but also because the Dutch culture is entrenched in cheese. Cheese primarily consists of the solid elements of milk: the fat, the proteins and the vitamins and minerals. Ten kilos of milk are required to make one kilo of cheese.

Inside the factory we had a small tour. We were explained how cheese being made and also the complicated process of cheese making. From what I am understand, cheese is made by curdling the milk. After a while, the homogeneous fluid changes into a mixture of solid particles and a pale yellow liquid. These are separated and the solid elements make up the curd. The residual fluid is called whey.

The curd then pressed into moulds. After which the cheese goes into a brine bath for several days. The reasons for this process, salt (brine) gives the cheese its savoury taste and inhibits the growth of undesirable bacteria which can also affect the flavour. Whilst the cheese is maturing the long molecules break down. In addition, carbon dioxide is formed, which causes the `holes' in the cheeses which professionals call `eyes'. Some cheeses have extra large holes due to the addition of propionic acid which also gives the sweet, nutty flavour.

During the maturing, the cheeses are provided at regular intervals with a thin coat of plastic which protects the rind against the formation of mould. And the cheese also turn regularly. Most Dutch cheese must, by law, be matured for at least four weeks.

Cheese or 'kaas' in Dutch

Subsequently it is stored and thus gradually matures into the delicious product we can buy in the shops. Well, that's about it..short tutorial in making Cheese.

In addition, after serving, if you have any cheese left over, you'll want to re-wrap it and place in the cheese or vegetable compartment of your refrigerator. These drawers are designed to provide extra humidity, just the thing for keeping cheese at its peak.

Clogs. Traditional clogs were made out of willow or poplar wood. For the Dutch, clogs are known as klompen. The traditional, all wooden, Dutch clogs have been used as everyday shoe during 18th and early 19th centuries. During that period, most of the Dutch were living in inadequate condition and generally they can't afford leather shoes.

So, instead of wearing a leather shoe, they wore a wooden shoe that made from willow tree or Poplar Tree which they can be acquire easily.

Also, Dutch people mainly were farmer, the use of wooden shoe also apply as a safety shoe to provide them from cow or horse stumping to their feet. Early version of OSHA in the 18th centuries. Plus, they were heavy duty too. From what I've learned form the clogs lady, a pair of clogs can withstand as long as 3 years in the hardest circumstances.

Today, Dutch clogs are available in many tourist shops. Wearing clogs is considered to be healthy for the feet.

Start with a block of wood

Below is a picture of one of traditional tool in clogs making. A very good clogs maker can produce as much as 3 pairs in a day. The tools below is where you shape a block of wood into clogs shape.

Well, guys that's pretty much about it.

p/s:Although there is no entrance fee, she sure knows how to take Euro21.50 out from me for a pair of clogs and a smoke brown cheese.


Johnny Ong said...

how's the taste of such cheese? did u get a tryout on making those clogs?

Leather Coats said...

nice post love reading it.