Slow Food Netherlands is committed to promoting the work and philosophy of the country's last remaining raw-milk cheesemakers.
Two groups of cheesemakers have formed Presidia: the Aged Artisan Gouda and the Texel Sheep Cheese. This ‘original Gouda' and unique sheep cheese have only survived because of the strength and determination of a handful of producers who refused to give up, even when the whole sys
tem turned against them.
Slow Food has helped the Gouda producers gain a better position by negotiating fairer prices for their cheeses and assisting to build strong relationships with restaurants and specialty food stores.
The Texel Sheep Cheese Presidium has encouraged other farmers to change to raw milk cheesemaking and is creating a market for their products beyond the island in a wide range of restaurants and specialty shops.
Beyond the Presidia, Slow Food Netherlands supports raw milk cheesemakers across the country in a number of ways, including:
- Inviting them to fairs and taste workshops to showcase their products.
- Publishing regular articles in the national Slow Food Magazine and the Zelfkazer, a publication for artisan diary producers, to build consumer awareness.
- Including raw milk as a key topic at the Terra Madre Netherlands meetings, bringing together experts, producers and the public in discussions and tastings.
From 2001-2004, Slow Food Netherlands collected thousands of signatures to support the International Slow Food raw milk manifesto.
In 2011, Slow Food Netherlands joined the lobby against modifying the production protocol for Boerenkaas cheese, which would allow producers to use pasteurized milk (max 62 degrees) instead of farmstead raw milk to make their cheese.
Ark of Taste Netherlands representative for cheese.