My Cousin Pragya visited us in July this year, while she was travelling to Germany for some official work. She arrived here on Tuesday and we wanted to cover as much Netherlands we could in next 2 days.
We were searching on net and lonely planet for the 'to do activities'. And we found about this cheese market at Gouda which is held on every Thursday 10 am to 12:30 Pm during summers.
We planned, we would get up early then breakfast and would reach there by 10 so that we leave on time and head to Amsterdam.Great Planners!
Next day, lazy us, got up at 9 am, by the time we got ready, it was already 10:30 am. We were contemplating on the idea of going Gouda or straight to Amsterdam. Given that it takes 15 Mins. by train from here..we should take a chance..thinking that we just got out of the house. We reached Gouda station at around 11:15 am.
It was a great sunny day! there market is held in front of the Gouda - Town Hall, which is 10-12 minutes walk from station. From the approaching street we could see lots of hustle bustle on the other side. We reached there and found food stalls. we were wondering, if we had reached at the right place. We crossed the weekly market, which is also held on thursday for the obvious reasons.
We reached a open place and found cheese, cheese n cheese on the floor. The horse carts, weighing scales, cheese stretchers, the Dutch Cheese Girls in their traditional outfits posing for photographs with visitors and the retail cheese stalls around selling cheese.
Cheese has been traded at the market in Gouda for over 300 years. Farmers would come from far and wide to bring their cheese stretchers to the market every Thursday morning.They still do the same things they were doing all those years ago.The cheese market is held every Thursday morning from mid- June to the end of August.
We tasted various cheeses at this stall, cumin, herb, pepperika,black pepper, plain gouda n many more. we loved the one with herbs and pepperika so bought some!
I asked Pragya to enquire about cheese classes from her in dutch (as she speaks German and manages to speak in dutch). The lady said yes!, but guess the class would be in dutch, so i would have to wait until i learn the language. Well, this should be great motivation to do so! isn't?
This happens to be a craft market also, traditional crafts and products made in and around Gouda, such as earthenware, pipes, clogs, farm produce, treacle waffles. But by the time we were done with our cheese tasting and shopping, they were winding up.
Now, i would have to wait until next year as it held only till August end. The day after is Thursday but its first of September. I shall enquire, if they are on.. then will definitely pay a visit.
Anyways, after the hard work of cheese tasting, we headed to Dezalm stadcafe just in front of the market.(i don't remember where; but i had read about this cafe somewhere). Very crowded, but we managed to get a table for 2 outside with a perfect view of market. We had 'Goude stoopwafeltart'(a kind of cheese cake)topped with thin layer of honey caramel, which was awesome! a must try!
There local market around was great. Unlike Rotterdam, there were a lot of local shops for bags and shoes... n they were offering great discounts too..we did the typical girly shopping from buying bag to clothes and make up stuff!!! which of course led us to delay to reach to our next destination- Amsterdam.
Pictures Courtsey: Pragya Taneja