As I’m sure many of you know, my family loves cheese, enthusiastically and nearly unconditionally. So it was that I flagged De Kaaskamer Cheese Shop in our guidebook on our recent trip to Amsterdam. It turned out I didn’t have to. As if by homing device, we managed to sniff out this haven of cheese (the name translates to “Cheese Chamber”) and spontaneously beeline to it almost the minute our luggage hit the floor of the hotel.
We adored much about Amsterdam, as we wandered its pretty streets and canals, admiring antiquarian books and handmade shoes, art, music, beer, and the citizens of Amsterdam themselves, most of whom seemed to roll upright and speedily on two wheels apiece, in all weather and clothing, carrying paintings, floor lamps, babies, friends, and yes, food.
In De Kaaskamer, we sampled Goudas of various ages and a delicious crunchy Beemster, which is very similar to the Saenkanter cheese that is a family favorite. The clerk told us that Gouda simply designates the “wheel” shape of the cheese, rather than a type. Gouda cheese originated from the Gouda region of the Netherlands, but apparently the name is not protected by terroir (place), and all kinds of cheeses can be referred to as Goudas. We satisfied ourselves with visions of pastoral Dutch farmland, portable cubes of wonderful 3-year Gouda, and a large baguette, and took to the Amsterdam streets.
Bonus pic: Willig Cheese Shop at Night or One Can Long
Have you seen and photographed something unusual, whimsical, beautiful, or otherwise interesting in your travels? Has anything surprised you or caused you to pause? Or have you simply experienced a small, lovely moment that you wanted to capture? If so, I hope you’ll share with us by leaving a comment with a link to your photo. I look forward to seeing it!
Photo by Susan Sachs Lipman
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Posted in Butter and Egg, Field Trip, Holidays, To Market, Who Moved My Cheese?
Tagged Amsterdam, Amsterdam Shops, Cheese, De Kaaskamer, Dutch Cheese, Family Travel, Food, Gouda, Netherlands, Photography, Terroir, Travel, Travel Photography
I did a doubletake when I first saw a picture of Jo Meesters’ adorable furniture for his Netherlands design studio, TESTLAB. Yes, it did — It looked just like the potholders I made as a kid, using cotton loops strung and woven on a small square loom. I loved the potholders’ colors and patterns, and made oodles of them. Nothing else seemed to have quite the same appearance of weave and texture. Until now.
Meesters’ furniture collection, “Odds & Ends, Bits & Pieces”, uses only recycled material — 34 discarded wooden beams and 16 leftover blankets goes into each four-piece set.
This stool looks so soft and appealing.
The studio explores the intersection of craftsmanship and mass production. Many of the forms are elemental. Sustainability, innovation and good design are guiding principles, as is the transformation that is possible when one considers or uses something in a new way.
The “My Secret Garden” carpet, which was done in 2005 in collaboration with Marije van der Park for Meesters & Van der Park, is made from discarded woolen blankets. Traditional needlework and floral patterns lend it extra charm.
This woodwork-inspired table, “Reshaping Wood”, was also created in 2005 in collaboration with Marije van der Park for Meesters & Van der Park. The project explored the intersection of traditional woodwork and cutting-edge water jet technology in its fabrication.
I find Meesters’ work incredibly inspiring, for its beauty and obvious love of craftsmanship and for its care and creativity in regards to re-use of everyday materials. Indeed, one of Meesters’ stated goals is to create a bond between object and user, to imbue his projects with an emotional value. If all that weren’t enough, Testlab and Meesters’ creations are just plain fun.
Photos by Marielle Leenders for Jo Meesters (Collection, Stool)
Photos by Jo Meesters (Carpet, Table)
Posted in Crafts, Design, Sustainability, To Market
Tagged Fabric, Flowers, Furniture, Jo Meesters, Loom Weaving, Netherlands, Potholders, Recycled Art, Tapestry, Testlab, Woodwork