The Wijngaard Cheese Family
Grandpa Piet started in 1936 with the trade in cheese, actually as a medium of exchange for the groceries who he provided to the farmers in the region of Woerden in the Netherlands, where he was paid by cheese. During that age, cheese got more and more important. The cheese was delivered by boat on the Old Rhine, where the old warehouse is situated alongside. Exclusively by many hands, the cheeses came on the shelves in the old warehouse.
His son Jan took over the company in 1946/47 and set out completely to the ripening process. The company developed slowly but steady. In the Netherlands the cheese was more and more appreciated. In 1975, the third generation showed up, with daughter Riet, son Jan and since 1995 son Rien.
The Wijngaard Cheese family has always set out to the ripening of cheeses for the gastronomy. Because it turned out very soon that the taste of the cheeses was extraordinary. Characterized by complete and complex flavours and creamy cheese. The old warehouse, together with the craftsmanship, hand down from father to son, played a leading role.
Even today it’s very important that the family and employees will be connected for a long while to the company, to make sure that the knowledge and experience for the ripening of the most beautiful cheeses remains kept. The time, the peace and the experience make the most beautiful cheeses.
Historical Warehouse – the Secret
The Reypenaer is ripening in an old cheese warehouse that’s more than a century old and that’s build as a cheese warehouse. With walls of stone, floors and beams of wood, provided with hatchways, inside as well as outside the cheese warehouse. It has three floors and the stands are above each other for enough stableness. The warehouse is situated on the Old Rhine in Woerden in the Netherlands, whence in the early days the cheese was delivered by boat. The green heart of Woerden knew a lively trade in cheese because there were a lot of cheese farmers in the neighbourhood. Everything happened by hand.
Because we have discovered by Reypenaer that the development of taste and flavour in the old warehouse isn’t equal to those developed with modern techniques, we have kept the cheese warehouse as it is and do we cherish it. The cheeses with the most beautiful taste come from this warehouse.
The circumstances of the ripening process in the old warehouse are the secret. We let the nature play with the fluctuations in temperature and humidity. The cheeses are ripening faster in higher temperatures and slowly in lower ones. The natural fluctuations give the complexity of the taste, by which the cheeses lose a lot of weight, but develop an extraordinary beautiful taste.
Together with the circumstances of the ripening process, the craftsmanship is at least just so important. It is the craftsmanship, based for decennia on practical experience, which the cheese master makes capable to lead the ripening process in such way that the desired taste can be developed in the most optimal way.
And then there is also the micro flora existing of bacteria and fungus, which have nested in the course of years in the wood of the shelves, beams and floors. These factors cannot be measured and we can’t build this effect on scientifically grounds, but we sure can taste the effect in the rich distinguished taste!
At Wijngaard Cheese we work with love and dedication towards the most beautiful development of the taste of our cheeses. We have a historical ripening warehouse of 1906 in Woerden in the Netherlands where our cheeses are ripening just like in the earlier days. In here, the cheeses are ripening slowly for a long time in an unique microclimate and natural changes in temperature and humidity. Every week the cheeses are turned around and rubbed by hand.
Our cheese is produced mainly of summer grass milk. Cows who eat fresh grass give softer and better milk. This gives the best tasting cheese.
At selected small-scaled cheese factories the curd will be put in drainage ditches where after the pasture go out slowly; with a lot of respect for the good elements of the milk. From this, the soft and distinguished taste will profit.
There is maximal respect for the natural micro-organism and enzymes when making the cheese, these are very important for the ripening process of the cheeses.
The Reypenaer tasting room
Tasting is believing. Reypenaer has an own Tasting Room in the centre of old Amsterdam, where you can personally test and evaluate the flavour, the aroma and the qualities of the Reypenaer cheeses, all under the guidance of an expert cheese taster. Each cheese tasting session lasts approximately one hour, and caters for a maximum of 20 people per tasting.