In the 1980s, the traditional Dutch cheese market was tentatively exploring new options. French cheese was offered more often when serving a drink and tastier cheeses on bread were gaining ground. For example, more mature cheeses. Unfortunately for cheese lovers the quality of mature cheese varied greatly at the time. Older cheese often crumbled and the cheese rind was so hard that you had to resort to a plaster after slicing. The Westland family decided in 1985 that it was high time to develop a cheese with crystals but sliceable. Their experience selling cheese door-to-door meant they knew which characteristics were needed. They were looking for a cheese with Amsterdam star quality. A cheese that can be distinguished from all others.
There is no other city quite like Amsterdam. In Amsterdam people work and play hard. The free spirit of the traditional traders of Holland has been present in the people of Amsterdam ever since the Golden Age. The uniqueness of Amsterdam inspired the Westland family. The first cheeses were matured in the middle of Amsterdam, in a building on Lijnbaansgracht. The many contrasts in the city and its people pulled on the heartstrings of the family. And found its way to Old Amsterdam.
Dutch meadow milk is used to produce Old Amsterdam. Rennet and starter culture are added to start the cheese-making process. The starter culture gives the cheese its unique taste. The Westland developers experimented with the various ingredients until they found the ideal starter culture for Old Amsterdam. Milk vat 4 proved to contain the perfect mixture of natural ingredients. The M4 starter culture today is still the best kept secret within cheese making.
The quest to find out how to mature a cheese but keep it creamy came to an end in Italy. Cheese farmers in Italy have been producing creamy cheese with crystals for generations. The secret is in the whey, the liquid milk elements. The whey is separated from the curd, the solid elements of the milk. The whey is collected and added to the process later once it has cooled down. The Italians say that this is when the soul is added to the cheese.
The Westland cheese makers once again turned to their colleagues in Southern Europe, to ask for their help in developing the maturing process for Old Amsterdam. The maturing of a cheese determines the taste and structure of the cheese. A strict schedule of specific temperature and humidity was developed for Old Amsterdam. Taste is more important than the actual maturing time. Old Amsterdam matures in eight months on average.
People in over 60 countries enjoy this cheese with a very unique character. We have our own cheese stores in Amsterdam and our cheese has won international awards. Our family business makes us proud.
View all our products
Looking for delicious recipes or some inspiration for some snacks with your drinks?