This time my hostess was Annelies van den Ende, owner of the cheese-shop “Zuivelland” on Bankastraat. I love cheese, but I know very little about it. I can taste the difference between young cheese and old cheese and that is about it. My visit to Annelies taught me a lot. She spoke about cheese with so much enthusiasm, passion and knowledge that I immediately felt like taking one complete cheese home with me.

“When I was fifteen years old and still in scondary school my dearest wish was to buy a moped. To make some money I took a part-time job in the cheese-department of the Albert Heijn in Nieuwerkerk where I lived at the time. During my study Culturele Maatschappelijke Vorming Kunst en Cultuur (cultural and social education in the arts and culture, also called “spare time studies”) I worked 5 years in a theater cafe and I loved that job.

“But I found cheese a beautiful product and I tried my luck at a cheesemonger’s of Zuivelland in Rotterdam and I was given a part-time job for Saturdays and my holidays. By that time I owned a car and I travelled the  country to assist here, there and everywhere in Zuivelland shops. So I landed in the Theresiastraat, met a nice man and settled down in The Hague.

“When I finished my study I started looking for a job, but I soon found out that I would rather be “my own master” and cheese was still my passion. In cheese “one eats the land”. Even in The Netherlands there is a difference in taste between cheeses from North Holland, South Holland or Friesland. Because of the type of grass the cows eat.

“For 3 years I worked here as an employee at Zuivelland and 7 years ago I bought the shop.

Annelies specializes in farmhouse cheese that is made from non-pasteurized milk from one and the same livestock. And then she sells no less than 280 brands of cheese from abroad and 60 Dutch specialties, among which her own “Madurodammertje” – a small round cheese, as the name indicates. And she knows all about each of these cheeses!

In 2010 Annelies has won the award for the best farmhouse cheese shop in the country. Since no town or village in The Netherlands counts so many cheesemongers as The Hague, she can be proud of it! In 2011 she was declared to be the Best Specialist Foureign Cheeses by Vakcentrum Food & Delicatessen. She is a member of the Board of the French Cheese Guild and gives workshops on cheese in various places. And she is a member of the Board of the Archipel Business Club that is mentioned in this newsletter.

“My clientele is very diverse. Of course many residents of our neighbourhood, wives of ambassadors and ministers, famous Dutch people who live in the Archipel (no names mentioned) and many expats. All of them nice and friendly people, which makes working in my shop here in the Archipel very pleasant.” 

When you are you planning a party where a cheese plateau cannot be missed or when you are looking for a “real” cheese, you should pop in at Annelies’. She can give you valuable advice. As I am slimming again I tried her 20+ cheese and, as Annelies had promised me, it tasted very different from the cheese from the supermarket!

20 February 2014,  Josephine de Vijlder