Wednesday, August 13, 2014

A Cheese Dream Come True!

The Alkmaar Cheese Market!  I have been wanting to go here for four years and we finally did!  It's only on Friday so that made it hard for Brandon to be able to go, and we really do not like to go to new places without each other. So since he was on leave while Vickie was here I made sure to put this on our list. If you want to read all about the history and details of the market you can do so here.

Basically, The Market has been around since at least the 1600s, most likely since the 1300s but without exact documentation, and it has been done the same way ever since. There are four cheese guilds, made clear by the colors red, blue, green, and yellow. Their hats and their cheese carriers are these colors. The cheese is inspected by the buyer, and once the buyer and seller agree upon the price, the carriers take the cheese to the scale, then back to the center where it is loaded on a cart and taken to the truck. It used to be taken to the canal and put on a barge. The carriers walk out of step so the cheese does not wobble so much, and the scales are rotated between the guilds so they cannot create any sort of fraud with their scales.

If you want to plan your own trip, all of the information is on the website. There is a free park and ride, you get your ticket like you are paying but that is actually your bus ticket, which is good for 5 people and takes you just outside the Centrum. Follow the crowds of people and you are there!  The Cheese Museum is also worth it, 3 euro per person I believe, and you get a great view of The Market. The presenter gives her spiel in three languages so it takes awhile, but you can get all of the same information from inside the Museum without all of the crowds.

Getting ready to start

Look at all of that cheese!!!

Loading it up

Taking it to the wagon. You can see how they are walking out of step. 

Notice the different colors

The buyers doing their taste test and inspection. We got to eat some too since we were in the front :) 

The museum

Inside the museum

The view from above, inside the museum 

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