Alkmaar – opens on Friday morning from the 1st of April until the 1st Friday in September.
A traditionial ritual is followed: Four teams (vemen) of cheese porters all wearing different coloured straw hats (red, yellow, green and blue), bring in the different cheeses on stretchers and here the merchants get the chance to taste the cheese, and decide on a price using a barter system known as handjeklap (clapping hands).
Edam – sells mainly Edam cheese which is traditionally brought to the market by horse-drawn carriages or boats.
The market operates in July and August on Wednesday mornings.
Gouda – this market has been operative for over 300 years. Open from the middle of June until August, every Thursday morning.
There are loads of other Dutch products exhibited as well.
The farmers bring their cheese to have them weighed, tasted and priced.
Hoorn – the market is held every Thursday morning during lunch time, from the 20th of June until the 20th of September between 21h00 and 22h15.
It also works on the porter system with the cheese being carried in on stretchers to go to the weighing house (the Waag) with live commentary in English and Dutch.
Woerden – is a no frills cheese market, where every Wednesday, beginning at 9h00 the kaasboeren (cheese farmers) and the marktmeester (market boss) trade in boerenkazen (farmers’cheeses).
Cheese lovers naturally prefer valuing the cheese which is why trading is brisk and very serious.
Woerden historic Cheese Market – once a year, on the last Wednesday in August this historic market is held and cheese farmers and their wives dress up in costume to re-enact an old fashioned cheese market.
For those of you that want to offer your guests local cheeses, try Cheese Gourmet (011-888-5384) in Johannesburg for the largest selection of local cheese in the city, and for those of you living in Cape Town, pay Raiths (021-4652729) in the Garden Centre a visit for a super collection of local and imported cheeses.