Curaçao’s love affair for Dutch cheese is naturally inherent; especially since the national dish “keshiyena” comes in a hollowed rind of Gouda. There are many places that sell top quality cheese like Gouda and Edam in big wheels to take home as souvenirs, and no self respecting island get-together would be complete without some “bolitadikeshi”(deep-fried cheese balls) as a snack. But now there’s a place where this delectable dairy product is not only the star, but also highly revered and treated with the respect it deserves. The Royal Dutch Cheesery in Riffort Village is that place.
Located in a charming corner of the old restored fort complex, the Royal Dutch Cheesery is a welcome addition to the entire Riffort scene. You can dine at outdoor tables in the courtyard, or inside in cozy, chandelier-lit caverns, and an open concept workshop area allows you to enjoy tastings and watch the cheese master at work. They also have a stand-alone deli, and all kinds of unique souvenirs, but it’s really all about the cheese.
Royal Dutch Cheesery is Curaçao’s exclusive supplier of the famous Reypenaer cheese that comes from the 100-year-old Dutch ripening house where everything is still done the old-fashioned way. They also have all kinds of artisan types, even chocolate cheese! And local cheese too, from an island goat farm. In fact, they have 60 different kinds of cheese! They also specialize in pairings - with an extensive selection of wines - and wine and cheese tasting platters. The one we enjoyed was served on a wooden board carved in the shape of the island of Curaçao!
The food also revolves around cheese, with no less than 10 different types of fondue, and create-your-own gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches as a few of the offerings. For dinner they have meat and fish as well.
But though this emporium might come across as an ultimate foodie hideaway - pairing Blue Stilton with port or fine whiskies, nibbling on gourmet ham, and sipping small-batch artisan limoncello or orangecello are certainly adult pastimes - it’s also quite family-friendly. Young legs have lots of room to run around in the courtyard if you sit at the outdoor tables, and on Friday nights the entire Riffort Village sports a fun carnival-like atmosphere with live music and dancing that all ages will enjoy.
And did you know eating cheese before bed can help improve sleep quality? Just one more good reason to visit this spot and ask from some cheese, please. It’s impossible to miss it; just look for the psychedelic-colored cow bench out front!
Visit Royal Dutch Cheesery at https://www.facebook.com/royaldutchcheesery.
Photography: courtesy of Royal Dutch Cheesery