We ourselves prefer to work at room temperature. Fortunately, there are those who voluntarily dive into the cold. Cellar masters in Champagne, who tend their wines at 11℃ underground every day. Cheese refiners, who wash and turn their cheeses in similarly cool ripening rooms. René Koelman is one of the top affineurs and WINELIFE sought him out in his new cheese fortress. - TEXT MARJOLEIN SCHUMAN | IMAGE KAASFORT AMSTERDAM
The cellar secrets of cheese
Cheese refiners are cheese refiners. They buy young cheeses and then mature them to their full potential. Cheese refiners finish the cheesemaker's work. We have seen cellar masters in Champagne tilting, turning and slightly shaking thousands of bottles of wine daily, stripping them of their yeast clot and adding a sugar solution that determines the style - dry or sweet. But what means are available to cheese refiners?
We put this question to Maître Fromager René Koelman. He not only has his name to go with it, but also his background. As the grandchild of cheese merchant Kaptein, his pram stood among the cheeses. After studying at the Hotel School, he worked at top gastronomic restaurants in the Netherlands and Belgium and therefore knows a lot about wine. In November, the mercury outside has dropped towards cellar temperature, but inside historic Fort Zuidwijkermeer, the stove is burning - with the wood from the crates in which René's cheeses arrive from France and Italy.
Curious to find out more about the cellar secrets of cheese? You can read about it in the latest WINELIFE Magazine 75. Order this one here!
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