Cheese and kisses
I can smell it when I enter the kitchen, but it only lasts a day. Then the receptors in my nose are probably full. Just like I do not smell the eucalyptus trees anymore – while all of our guests smell it immediately: the opening scent of all those delicious-smelling trees everywhere.
A very popular topic is: How long have you been here, do you miss the Netherlands, will you ever go back, don’t you miss your favorite food? Usually, this means: licorice, peanut butter, chocolate sprinkles, stew-with-sausage, and of course Dutch cheese.
Well, some things yes, other things no. I’m not a sweet tooth, so except occasionally a good bag of liquorice (those big brown coins, you know them? – when you get a little warm after eating a a few) I don’t miss much, except the cheese. Especially the old variety.
My family and their Red Van*
It’s an enormous luxury, and it’s lasted for years. It has ensured that the transition has been gradual, because let’s be honest now: food determines your wellbeing to quite a large extent. If you must eat things that you’re not really into every day, or things you’re not used to, then you feel a little less “super”.
For example: Portuguese eat a lot of meat (pork) and we are vegetarian (well, I am a “vegeterrible” as my boys call me). Portuguese snacks are tremoços – a kind of tasteless bean. I can’t seem to appreciate them the way I should. And they eat a lot of sweet things.
Slowly but surely, we have become accustomed to the Portuguese way of eating, and I now know where to get the good stuff – good stuff for us, that is to say.
And the things we can’t live without, come with the Red Van
The last time they had a lot of indonisian food, like spices and sambal. Sambal badjak, my favorite. It is a spicey pepper sauce, and you can’t replace it with anything else. For some recipees you really need sambal! And, to my great joy, two whole cheeses appeared.
All sorts of things come out of that Red Van ... (having fun with a musical instrument for children)
No wagon wheels, but big enough
Now I am impatient by nature, but sometimes I can be very patient. Mosaics requires a lot of patience, for instance, like making seitan from scratch, or like collecting likes on Facebook while building a business.
But those cheeses …. I will stay away from them for the time being.
When they come in, they are a few months old. If you have patience, and let them lie half a year, you will be rewarded with a delicious cheese. Salty and tasty. A real treat for someone who hasn’t lived in the Netherlands for 16 years, and therefore has no opportunity to just step into a store and buy a kilo of these sort of goodies.
Half a year of anticipation and a happy ending
We call it a “turn-on-cheese.” It is stored at a place where we only occasionally pass, and when you’re there, you have to turn the cheese over. That way, it will age better.
Doing so, you are turned on by a vague vision of what is coming ….in the near future …. soon …. Delightful anticipation.
And now the moment has arrived. The plastic is open, the oil drips out, the aroma fills the kitchen and it is going to be cut in half.
It comes to an end, just like the year
We thought this was an appropriate time – the end of the year – the end of waiting for the cheese to mature.
We are so going to enjoy it, and we hope you too – the year we mean – the cheese we are selfishly keeping for ourselves ….
We wish you all a prosperous new year! May only good things come your way, may you laugh a lot, and may at least one long-cherished wish come true – one for every-one!
* There’s no way that I will ever be able to utter my gratitude to my family for what they did for us during the years – but I’m paying it forward. You’ll read about that in one of the next episodes of this blog.
Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation.
You’ll get it every week on Saturday in your mailbox.
On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page.
We are neighbours of Palace Hotel & Spa Termas do Bicanho