Lilly Likes Amsterdam

Awesome Amsterdam

An Evening With Cheese & Wine In Amsterdam


Few things are as quintessentially Dutch as cheese. Well, clogs and windmills perhaps, but they don’t taste quite as good! The world (and Instagram) has gone food mad these days. Every second show on TV is about cooking or baking or cronuts, and we here at Lilly Likes are just as guilty of liking a good nosh-up as the next person.

So, we were rather excited to hear about a new entrant to the Amsterdam food scene, Dutch Cheese Tasting. It’s a two-hour feast of organic Dutch cheese, accompanied by organic wine (or beer), other organic nibbles (they’re rather insistent on the organic thing, but fair enough if you’ve gone to the trouble!), and it takes place in an actual Amsterdam wine-and-cheese shop after it closes for the evening.

It was started recently by Rory, who’s Irish, and is one of Amsterdam’s best reviewed off-the-beaten-track tour guides (he also runs , and Marcel, who’s Dutch, and who owns the Netherlands’ only all-organic delicatessen. The tasting takes place in Marcel’s shop, which is called For Tour Taste Only. We learned that the Dutch actually have a name for places like this, it’s called Bourgondisch Lifestyle, or Burgundy Lifestyle. Basically it’s posh eating but elevated to the realm of lifestyle choice.

Now that we think of it, perhaps we shouldn’t have referred to their tasting event as a nosh-up! Let’s just keep that between ourselves, okay?

A couple of us from the Lilly Likes crew attended a recent cheese tasting (yes, we know. It’s a tough gig) and here comes our school report on the experience. Hopefully we’re Teacher’s Pet and get an A.

So, first of all this is a cheese tasting and not a wine-and-cheese tasting. There is plenty of wine served, and they explain a little why those wines pair well with cheese, but you won’t be rolling it around your palate searching for hints of cinnamon. Oh no. You’ll simply be quaffing it.

The focus is supposedly on explaining Dutch cheese and Dutch culture via their cheese, and this very much is the case. Marcel and Rory do a great job of explaining both. However, this event really just felt like a fun social occasion. You sit around a communal table and over the course of 90 -120 minutes as you’re served seven organic Dutch cheeses and can snack on other nibbles too.

Each serving of cheese brings with it a little explanation about the particular cheese itself, as well as some interesting other titbits about the Dutch or maybe the food industry (the politics around organic-food certification was fascinating!). 

And then in between servings you just eat, drink, and chat with your neighbours. Rory and Marcel do a great job about getting guests opinions, attitudes, and preferences on the fare they taste and that acts as a great social lubricant.

The Cheese

Yeah, the cheese is fantastic. It’s organic, it’s Dutch, and it’s delicious. There were seven cheeses served and we actually had plenty to eat (most people won’t need dinner beforehand, or at most just a snack). Apparently Dutch cheese is quite straightforward (according to Marcel), but there was still quite a lot of variety. There was  young cheese, mature cheese, and over-mature cheese. There were four cow’s milk cheeses, two goat’s milk, and one sheep’s milk

Many of these were classic cheeses and a couple were flavoured. For example there was a fenegreek cheese. We had no idea what fenegreek was beforehand but it’s a rather obscure herb that happens to taste delicious in cheese.

There was also a clove-flavoured cheese included which split the room, but that didn’t matter. It was fun to taste something different, and you could always have more of a previous favourite. (We’re also told that the individual cheeses themselves might vary from tasting to tasting).

Officially it was 250g of cheese per person, but it wasn’t measured out and you could take more if you liked.

The Drinks

You get three glasses of wine or beer (or unlimited soft drinks) with the ticket price. If you want to have a fourth (or fifth!) you can buy it separately (we think it was €5 for a fourth drink, which seems reasonable) but we don’t recall anyone doing so. They’re generous servings of wine, and for those of us who were drinking (guilty, Your Honour!) it was just the right amount.

The Setting

The setting was fantastic. You’re in an actual Amsterdam wine-and-cheese shop. There are shelves of wine bottles everywhere, one wall of cheese wheels, and then other random fancy food products. The shop itself is a little bit out of the centre of Amsterdam (but still accessible) and this also enhances the local, authentic feel as you’re not amongst touristy shops.  You sit at a communal table at the back of the shop after it has closed for the day.

Of course, you can buy cheese after the event too, but they aren’t at all pushy about this.

The Cheese Explanations

Well really it was explaining Dutch cheese and Dutch culture, and it hit the mark in the right way. There was enough so that you felt you were learning about it, but neither Rory nor Marcel got overly technical in their explanations. Having said that when asked a very specific question (such as why cheese comes as a wheel and not a square) Marcel was able to answer it.

It felt like they measured out the explanations according to much banter they would stimulate.

Fun fact: You can’t make old cheese. All you can do is let young cheese age!

The Verict

The Verdict:

It was fantastic!

If you like cheese and wine (or even beer) and you enjoy social interactions then it’s hard to go wrong with this. It was delicious, fun, and informative, and you’ll meet some new people.  The tasting costs €40pp which is not exactly cheap, but you get a lot of food, three drinks, and it takes two hours, so you basically get dinner and a night’s entertainment.