Cheeze It

Wednesday, 13 September 2017 11:18
Arthur Rubinstein

Arthur Rubinstein is an American who has been living in Belgium (Flanders) for over 40 years. He has had many years of experience in editing and copywriting, having worked with the Wall Street Journal Europe and, most recently, with KPMG, the professional services company.

I’ve never used this forum for any other purposes than to inform, shine a light on subjects and entertain. If you don’t agree, stop reading now.
This time, however, I’m going to expose a misconception. That misconception, the notion that the Netherlands is home to a marvellous array of cheeses, is a result of brilliant marketing. In fact, Dutch cheese is a number of variations on a theme. Every cheese produced in Holland is Gouda or tastes like it. What separates them is the time each variation is matured. Belgians derisively refer to the Dutch as “kaaskoppen” or cheeseheads.

This term should not be confused with the American version of “cheesehead”, which is a derogatory word for people living in the state of Wisconsin, a state in the mid-west of the USA. There, Wisconsin has a reputation as a cheese state, pretty much the same way Holland can be considered a cheese county.

Actually it’s Belgians that produce a wider variety of cheeses. The discerning palate is familiar with such Flemish cheese classics as Affligem Abdij, a semi-hard cheese from Flemish Brabant, the Kazemat, a soft cheese from West Flanders and the Oude Postel, a hard cheese from Antwerp. Fabulous cheese from Wallonia include Carré de Tourpes, a soft cheese from Hainaut, Fleur des Fagnes, a soft cheese from Liège and the Vieux Chimay, a hard cheese from Namur.

If you have not tried the above-mentioned Belgian cheeses, you are missing a taste treat. It’s the Belgians who are truly the “kaaskoppen”. And don’t get me started on the beers.

By Arthur Rubinstein
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