The chances are you probably won’t have heard the name Reypenaer before. ‘Reypenaer’ means ‘ripening’ in Dutch and Reypenaer (pronounced ‘ray-pen-are’) is arguably one of the top Dutch Cheeses around.
I can say this with confidence as Reypenaer, an aged Gouda, is an artisan cheese in the true sense in that it is matured in an entirely natural and sustainable way, using no artificial mechanics or temperature control.
Essentially, it’s slow cheese. The unique taste and texture of Reypenaer is due to a large extent to this entirely natural aging process, where the cheese is allowed to take its own time to mature, exactly as nature intended. In warm weather, the aging process gathers momentum, slowing down again in the colder winter weather, resulting in a natural weight loss.
Each round of Reypenaer cheese spends anything from one to three years maturing in this manner.
Its home during this time is a very special place – a 100 year old cheese warehouse, which was custom-built for maturing cheese back in 1906. Here, artificial temperature control is shunned and ventilation is provided by opening and closing a series of wooden vents.
The Wijngaard family, who produce the cheese, are master cheese makers for three generations, with an unerring focus on quality and taste. Reypenaer is their flagship brand and each Reypenaer cheese gets the best possible start in life – only the finest milk is used from cows roaming freely on green pastures.
The Reypenaer collection comprises three cheeses:
Reypenaer – one year matured: This cheese lingers on the palate with a soft and creamy flavour.
Reypenaer VSOP – two years matured: Described in-house as ‘the showpiece’, this cheese sheds approximately 25% of its original weight during the maturing process. It has a superb flavour, aroma and texture.
Reypenaer XO Reserve – matured for two three years: This limited edition cheese has a uniquely rich, pure flavour that lingers on the palate. They call it ‘a sensation’.
Reypenaer is a cheese with credentials. It has won has won several prestigious award and graces the cheese platters of many of Europe’s Michelin starred hotels. It is a gourmet product with limited distribution. You won’t be able to buy it in the supermarkets. The main outlets are the Reypenaer Cheese Tasting Rooms (Proeflokaal) in Amsterdam or at the Deli at Schiphol airport.
Where to buy Reypenaer Cheese outside Holland:
The best way to buy Reypenaer is online, direct from the Wijngaard family. Worldwide shipping available.
Each pack comes beautifully packaged complete with the story of the artisan techniques used to produce this very special cheese.
Visit the online shop for a browse…
Our special tip:
VSOP – 1/32 double pack for only €25 excl. p&p (approx.. £21.25)
Two blocks of the showpiece Reypenaer VSOP