The Beemster Cheese Family

February 26, 2009

The Lady was thrilled this week when three varieties of Beemster Cheese arrived at her Kiosk: the twenty-six month aged “XO”; the sublime “Vlaskass” and the delightful mustard-seeded “Mustard Seed”.

 All three became the centerpiece of the Gouda section of her Kiosk.


The Beemsters
The Beemsters
(Note they are sitting next to The Lady’s most-favored cheese, Rembrandt, another cheese from Holland… I see a pattern beginning…)
The Beemster cheeses have quite a history, as does the polder where the cows graze that produce the milk for this family of cheeses.
In the Nineth Century this area was covered in peat. Its inhabitants would dig the peat for fuel to warm their homes; and as is common with humankind…they were greedy; they dug too much peat, which caused the land to be flooded and returned to the sea…fast forward to the early 1600s.
Humankind, not to be outdone by nature (imagine that kind of attitude…), learned to build dykes and with the aid of windmills, reclaimed the land and ta da…the Beemster Polder was created. The land was returned to the humankind and the bovine of Northern Holland. The humankind began to make cheese from the milk from their beloved bovine friends. And a fine cheese it was.
Overtime, the farmers banned together and formed the Beemster co-op and began producing extraordinary cheeses from the milk that tasted of the blue sea clay where the grass grew that the cows ate. You might recall The Lady wrote about terroir and the Beemster Cheeses are the quintessential poster cheese of how terroir does make cheese better and different.
The Beemster co-op was pleasantly surprised to discover that traders in the early nineteenth century were willing to pay a premium for their milk and cheese. Eventually the Royal Court of The Netherlands asked the co-op to provide cheese to the Royal Family; indeed, an honor.
Today in addition to making wonderful cheese, the co-op is also the exclusive provider of milk for the Ben and Jerry Ice Cream European Division (and you all know how picky those two guys are…).
A bit of Beemster trivia: The grid pattern of the Beemster Polder was the pattern used to lay out the street pattern of Manhattan when the Dutch landed on the Island…who knew…
And another interesting fact: The Beemster Polder has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1999.
Now for the good stuff. The Lady brought home Petite Morsels of all three of the Beemster cheeses for The Man and her favorite Feline Foodie (that would be me) to try…it’s nice to live with The Lady…
(My thanks to the Beemster website (be sure you visit; it really is a treat) for providing much of the information about the cheeses and and the co-op. The thoughts regarding the cheeses themselves are my own…
Beemster Xo
Beemster Xo - Aged Twenty-Six Months
Beemster Xo – Aged Twenty-Six Months
  • Matured for a minimum of 26 months
  • Flavors of Butterscotch, Whiskey and Pecan
  • Long lasting taste
  • Deep golden color

This cheese starts out smooth but the bite is amazing. All of a sudden, your mouth explodes as the taste of whiskey grabs your tastebuds and throws them against the roof of your mouth. It’s a taste you won’t soon forget…and you’ll find yourself sitting outside the fridge door praying The Lady (or The Man) will come along and take pity on you…and just so you know, it doesn’t help your case to be waiting with a recently deceased, but still warm Sciurus griseus laying in front of your feet…try convincing The Lady that it’s a gift…sheesh…not buying it…but I digress…


Beemster Mustard

Beemster Mustard Seed

Beemster Mustard Seed

Beemster with Mustard is a unique cheese with robust flavour. This cheese is sure to pleasantly surprise any audience. Beemster with Mustard Seed is a superb addition to hamburgers on the grill or any dish where the added texture of the mustard seeds can be appreciated. With some English Cheddars that include mustard seeds, the mustard taste overpowers the cheese. Not with Beemster; the balance is just about perfect. The cheese is sweet and creamy and the mustard seeds blend very well.


Beemster Vlaskaas

Winner: 2009 Feline Foodie Award: Best Everyday Aged Gouda


Beemster Vlaskaas

Beemster Vlaskaas


Beemster Vlaskaas is the newest addition to Beemster’s line of Premium Gourmet Dutch Cheeses; however, it is the oldest cheese recipe of the group. When translated Vlaskaas mean Flax cheese. Back in the day, this cheese was made during the harvest festival of the flax for the workers to eat on thick slices of bread while they worked and celebrated. Over time, the festival ceased to exist and with it this cheese was also lost.


In 2004 the harvest festival celebration was recreated as a community event. While digging through archives for information on the exact way to recreate the harvest festival the recipe for Vlaskaas was discovered. It was soon decided that after generations of rest it was time for Vlaskaas to live again!
Renowned for the best milk quality in The Netherlands, Beemster was asked to make the Vlaskaas recipe. The result was spectacular! Vlaskaas became the centrepiece of the entire harvest festival. With much encouragement Beemster decided to enter Vlaskaas in the Wisconsin Cheese Makers Competition, which is regarded as the most fierce cheese competition in the world. Vlaskaas took home a Gold Medal in its category and 3rd place in the overall competition!


Of the three, Vlaskaas is my favorite. It is sweet and creamy like the Mustard Seed, and you can taste the blue sea clay in this cheese as well – terroir strikes again…


I give the Family of Beemster Cheeses 4 out of 4 Paws (cause that’s all I’ve got) and an enthusiastic tail wagging to make sure you understand how truly remarkable these cheeses are…


Serving Suggestions: These cheeses can all be used as table cheeses to be enjoyed on a thick slice of Artisan Bread or with grapes and pears. The XO can be grated and used as a substitue for Parmigiano-Reggiano on risotto and pastas.


Wine pairings: XO should be enjoyed with a Port or a robust red. Vlaskaas goes well with Beaujolais and Mustard Seed pairs with Pinot Grigio.


Beer Pairings: Belgium Beers.


Awards: Vlaskaas – Gold Medal 2006 – Wisconsin Cheese Competition.


Source: Cow’s Milk from the Beemster Polder

23 Responses to “The Beemster Cheese Family”

  1. Gary Peacock Says:

    Hi Marcie,

    Belgian beer is about the most expensive beer (here) in the market. Is the same true of the cheese? If so, is it an currencly exchange issue, or are they both pricy in their own countries?
    I notice that all three cheese photos show the wax rind over the round cheese shape. Are all their cheeses made that way, like Gouda and Edam?

    • cheesemonger Says:

      We only have the three Beemsters as shown in the picture. there are a few others they make and I assume they all have the wax rinds. I also believe that they are considered to be a part of the Gouda family. If I am wrong I will add that to this thread as well.

  2. J. Gualtiere Says:

    Thanks Spaulding for another wonderful review.

  3. Amy Queen of Cheese Says:

    Hi Spaulding–
    I know you and your Lady have only tried the three Beemster cheeses that you have in your Kiosk, so I thought I could help you out with some of Mr. Peacock’s questions.
    All of the Beemster cheeses come waxed. This waxed exterior and shape of the wheel (convex sides, almost pillow shaped) is typical of Goudas made both in Holland and in the US. Generally the color of the wax indicates its age. . .red for a young cheese, yellow for a medium aged cheese, orange or rust colored for an older cheese and black for a very aged or hard gouda. Sometimes gold stripes are added to black or burgundy wax to denote a “reserve” cheese–something extra special or something aged above and beyond. Beemster doesn’t seem to adhere to this tradition. . . the Vlaskaas is purple, and they make a Graskaas that has a vibrant green wax. Though the XO does have gold stripes. . . but the wax is kind of an ecru color, whatever, it’s good stuff and I am so glad you enjoyed it. The Vlaskass with a little truffle and cognac pate is really almost enough to send one over the edge.
    Edam, strangely enough, is usually made in balls. Really. About the size of a small canteloupe. US cheesemakers are not so keen on this shape and American Edam can show up in any one of a variety of shapes. Edam is not generally aged beyond 3 to 6 months and usually sports just a red wax.
    I am not the biggest beer fan, so I cannot comment about the price of Belgian beers. I do know that there are several domestically produced artisan Belgian style ales that may be less expensive than their imported cousins and be just as nice with the Beemster cheeses. Mr Peacock should rest assured though, that the Beemster cheeses (even the ones that the Lady does not carry) are more than reasonably priced given their amazing and consistent quality and the exquisite terroir evident in every bite. Indeed, I think the Beemster Cheeses are some of the more rationally priced artisan cheeses available.
    The Graskaas from Beemster should be available towards the end of June. This is a seasonal cheese made fromt he milk the cows give after being turned out onto the fresh spring grasses of the Polder. I will procure a piece for you and your Lady as soon as I can get my hands on some.

    -Ever your fan
    Amy Queen of Cheese

    ps June sends her regards.

  4. Gary Peacock Says:

    Thanks to Amy for answering my queries. You guys are the best!

    Best regards,

    /s/ Gary

  5. D. Russell Says:

    I am interested in finding out about your hot air balloon school visitation program.

  6. D. Russell Says:

    I would like to find out about your school visits with the hot air balloon.

  7. cheesemonger Says:

    D. Russell, I have forwarded your request to my sales rep at beemster. He is better equipped to answer your question. I am a fan of beemster but NOT affiliated with the company nor the polder cooperative.

  8. Michael Blum Says:

    Mr. Russell,

    The Beemster hot air balloon program was established to inspire children to achieve goals in life through eating healthy and reaching for success.

    The balloon has a yearly schedule so planning is important; I would be pleased to talk about the hot air balloon program and presentations about cheese making in schools. Please feel free to email me:

  9. Joan Emerson Says:

    I live in Eureka, IL. Is there an area around where I live that sells mustard seed cheese? I would like to buy this cheese.

  10. cheesemonger Says:

    Joan, Here is a link to where Beemster is sold in Illinois:

    I am also forwarding your question to the US rep for Beemster.

    thanks for reading!!

  11. […] using Coastal Cheddar from the Ford Farm and other cheeses I have previously reviewed: Emmenthal, Beemster XO and Sartori Pepper. She served Beecher’s Original Crackers and just-out-of-the-oven a fresh hot […]

  12. […] likes them all: In addition to her first aged gouda love, Old Amsterdam, she also loves Rembrandt, Beemster XO, Beemster Vlaskaas, Parrano, UnieKaas Extra Old Gold Label (sold on The Lady’s Island – hmm, I […]

  13. […] Food Pairings ChartI Am An Artisan CheesemakerIstara Family of Cheeses – Part Two – P’Tit BasqueThe Beemster Cheese FamilyGeneric Cheese and Beer Pairing ChartLe Cendrillon Wins Best Cheese in the World […]

  14. […] with the Goudas from Holland. But not this one. It was similar in texture and taste to the Vlaskaas that Beemster  – quite a nice comparison, I might […]

  15. […] kind of kid. We began with Fromager d’Affinois, added Smoked Applewood Cheddar and a wedge of Beemster Vlaskaas. For the blue, we went with Oregonzola. As we were wrapping up our transaction, the mother stopped, […]

  16. […] makes several excellent cheeses and many are favorites around the manse: Vlaskaas, XO, Mustard and Graskaas to name a […]

  17. Ingrid Says:

    Hi there, it is kind of funny to see you talk so fondly about a cheese factory that I lived 4 miles from. I still buy my cheeses there.

  18. […] 16, 2010 XO, Classic, Vlaskaas, Farmer’s Choice, and Beemster Lite are naturally […]

  19. […] The Beemster Cheese Family February 2009 20 comments 5 […]

  20. […] This is the fourth Beemster cheese I have enjoyed. You can read my othe reviews here. […]

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