30 minutes outside of Amsterdam is a Dutch village known for its cheese called Edam. Since it is known for its cheese, I just had to go to De Simonehoeve which is a traditional cheese farm and clog factory! It was extremely interesting and true representation of traditional dutch culture which makes it a must-do.
First off, you sit in front of a glass room where you watch one of the workers there glaze the cheese. While you are watching, one of the workers explains about how the cheese is made and preserved. The fact that it was in a glass room was oddly comforting, as I for one am not keen on hair in my cheese!
You then get to see a shoemaker make a clog out of a block of wood. I couldn’t believe how fast he could carve a a piece of wood into a shoe! Today, people still use clogs for a variety of jobs such as farm work. There are tons of clogs that you can purchase with all different designs, styles and sizes to fit everyone’s needs and tastes (if you like wooden shoes that is!).
At the end of the tour there is a chance to taste any of the different cheeses they make, ranging from plain to pesto and gouda. I happily stuffed myself with unlimited free samples! I had a hard time choosing, but ended up finally deciding on the smoked cheese. I really wanted to buy the smoke ham cheese as well, but as it is made of meat, I would not have been able to take it on the plane. If cheese and clogs aren’t your choice of purchase, there are of course other souvenirs that you can choose from in the gift shop that are travel friendly.