Belgium may not be well known for its cheese, but they have a vast, rich history in l'art de la fabrication du fromage. They produce over 300 different varieties, as many as the French. But why don't they have the same notoriety? Most of the cheeses are made by small family farms and not exported outside the country. But how small is small?
My latest discovery is a cheese that comes from Catharinadal Kaasmakerij, a 100 cow dairy farm in the province of Limburg, in the north part of Belgium. There, brothers Bert and Peter along with other family members manage a 20 hectare grass and clover pasture and cheese making facilities. They make, sell, and distribute all their products from this farm.
As with all of Catharinadal's cheeses, Grevenbroecker (Achelse Blue) is made of unpasteurized cow's milk. It's a deliciously soft and buttery cheese with a slightly sharp blue taste. What makes this blue different is that the cheese isn't pierced to allow the mold (Penicillium Roqueforti) to enter. Rather, the mold is introduced to the individual curds, then pressed together. This is what gives the cheese its distinct marble-like appearance. Though the marbling isn't so apparent in this photo, Grevenbroecker is one of the most beautiful looking cheeses I've seen.
Catharinadal is open for tours and best of all, cheese making workshops! This is something I'll hopefully be writing about soon.