Cheese straight from the source
Holandský Kluk offers the freshest Dutch cheeses
Posted: April 4, 2012
Forget tulips, windmills and clogs. The Dutch are also world leaders in another export market: cheese.
In fact, in some quarters cheese is even known as "Dutch Gold" - and Prague is experiencing something of a gold rush.
Alongside existing shops like the chain Cheesy, established in 2006, last year saw the arrival of a new Dutch cheese business: Holandský Kluk, or Dutch Boy.
It was founded by Frank Wickerath, a Dutchman who lives in the Czech Republic, and Lucie Struik, a Czech woman who lives in the Netherlands. They realized they could develop a business when they were bombarded by requests from Czech neighbors to bring back Dutch cheese after trips to the Netherlands.
Pražská Tržnice, Prague 1-Holešovice
Tel. 774 247 837
They now import 4,000 kilograms, or two truckloads, of Dutch cheese a month.
The cheese is delicious: 12 different varieties, including a shocking red one colored with pesto and tomatoes, a goat's cheese and a variety with walnuts. Of course, there is also the famous Gouda, which shares with Champagne, among other regional products, the honor of being licensed by the European Union. Only the real thing now gets to call itself Gouda, after a ruling in January 2011.
Wickerath believes the unique taste of Dutch cheese comes from a combination of factors, including good Dutch milk - it takes 10 liters to produce 1 kilogram of Gouda - as well as the traditional Dutch technique of making the cheese. The cheese is made slowly and allowed to ripen on wooden benches in warehouses. Looking after the cheese at this point is an onerous task. As it dries out, it has to be taken out weekly and cleaned on both sides. As the cheese loses vapor, it also loses size. A normal wheel is between 10 and 12 kilos, but as it gets older, it gets smaller and darker.
It's worth the wait, Wickerath says. He sells cheeses of different ages, the youngest of which is six to eight weeks. In his current stock, the oldest is 1 year old. You can't cut it anymore because it crumbles, and you have to eat it with wooden sticks. It's also very strong.
Wickerath is passionate about the different flavors of cheese.
"Even with Gouda, there are 180 different tastes, depending on whether the cheese is young or old, or made with herbs and garlic. Every cow has its own taste," he says.
Holandský Kluk's main sales point in winter is from a mini-Dutch house in the vegetable hall at Pražská tržnice (Prague Market) in Holešovice. In summer, they also sell at farmers' markets across town, including on náměstí Republiky.
(See the food blog at Praguepost.com/blogs for a quiche recipe using Dutch cheese)
Jennifer Rigby can be reached at