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About L’appel Du Vide
There exists a psychological phenomenon in which perfectly sane people, with no desire to die, find themselves faced with a steep cliff and experience a strong desire to leap. To jump from their safe vantage point into the unknown. This phenomenon is so common in fact, that the french have a term for it: L’appel du Vide – Call of the Void.
Read more here.
When I started planning my trip to Amsterdam, I knew I would be faced with temptation. Temptation to indulge in something that is probably not all that great for me. I don’t like to say that I’m addicted (and no scientific evidence has ever proven that it is addicting) ,but I have to admit that in the past I’ve been known to over indulge. I’ve tried to cut down. I really have. But then I find myself buying it on a fairly regular basis and always keeping a supply in the house. In fact, there have been times when I’ve held get togethers with my friends for the sole purpose of sharing my favorite varieties with them. And now, here I was planning a trip to a city that is famous for its many opportunities to experience one of my biggest weaknesses.
I am, of course, talking about cheese. Glorious, wonderful cheese. Mmmmm.
Amsterdam is full of cheese. Giant yellow wheels of cheese. Small sausage shapped cheeses. Sliced wedges of flavored cheese. As soon as I planned to visit, I knew I had to attend a cheese tasting, and I had heard that there was no better cheese tasting in the whole city than the Reypenaer tasting. Through their website, I was able to book a one hour class online that included unlimited cheese tasting and wine pairings.
As it turns out, Reypenaer, which runs a shop near the Anne Frank house is not a cheese maker. They are a cheese ager, which – I learned- is one of the most important aspects of the cheese creation process. Of all the cheeses we tasted, there were only two different types of cheeses – the main difference in taste came from the age of cheese: 3 months, 6 months, etc. I was amazed to find out what a huge difference the aging process can have on the taste of the same cheese.
The classes took place in a classroom underneath the store. What it lacked in information it more than made up for in delicious cheese and wine. I literally ate so much cheese that I didn’t need lunch.
But of course, my cheese odyssey was just beginning. Among a few other things, the number of cheese related activities attended is one of the largest metrics I use when judging the success of a trip. My next stop was the cheese factory in the country side near Amsterdam. Located near the famous windmills, this small cheese factory is no doubt set up mainly for tourists. However, it still gives you a look at the traditional cheese making process. And, of course, there is the opportunity to sample tens of varieties of cheeses to your hearts content.
And so another day in Amsterdam passed where a major meal was replaced by cheese. At this point I’m willing to admit I have a problem. I’m just not sure it’s a problem I’m willing to solve.