Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Alkmaar Cheese Market

Kaas- Dutch for cheese

The following photos were taken on the last day of the cheese festival in Alkmaar, Holland. Alkmaar is a quaint town that hosts the cheese market every year. I learned that the production of kaas has been part of Holland's history since before the Middle Ages. The Netherlands have the prime conditions for cheese making due to the wet soil. The marshlands create the perfect conditions for dairy farming. The Netherlands is one of the world's leading producers in cheese.

When you arrive you encounter a massive group surrounding a fenced off arena where line after line of cheese is laid out on the ground. From there two men move the cheese from the lines to wooden carts. They carry the cheese gently stacked on a sleigh. One man leads in front and the other carries the back of the sleigh. Both men have leather harnesses that connect the sleigh to their shoulders. It takes two years for these men to train for this honored position. They must master balance with strength and learn how to work together. Most of the men involved have fathers or grandfathers who also transported cheese. It is a generational honor.  

After the cheese is moved from the sleigh to the wooden carts, the carts are then pushed to the truck where the cheese is loaded up for transport.  From there, Hollands famous kaas starts its journey to different parts of the world.

For more information about the Alkmaar Cheese Market you can click here

No comments:

Post a Comment