The Dutch are known for many things -- windmills, clogs, tulips and cheese, and while you might not find the first three so readily in Hong Kong, there's now a new place in town completely dedicated to Dutch cheese (or "kaas", as they call it).
Located on Queen's Road Central in Sheung Wan, The Dutch Cheese Hong Kong shop was founded by Nick Pauli, a 12-year veteran of the Dutch cheese business and Dirk Jasper, owner of Dutch creative design agency Barnyard.
The two men came up with the idea about a year ago, when they saw an opportunity to introduce Dutch cheeses to the Chinese market, starting with Hong Kong.
"We think Chinese people are very open to Western products, especially those with a story," said Pauli at the grand opening of The Dutch Cheese Hong Kong. "Dutch cheese has a long history, and it is a very traditional, authentic product."
The two are confident that the local population will be won over by Dutch cheese based on tasting panels they conducted in Sheung Shui where "the Chinese preferred aged Gouda cheese over Parmigiano," said Pauli. Not the most comprehensive study, maybe, but for those not usually accustomed to eating cheese, Gouda is an easy way to start.
The shop stocks nine different kinds of cheese that you can buy in wedges, slices and cubes. The Gouda and farmhouse cheese come in three variations each (young, mature and aged) and there's also a pesto, chili and goat's cheese version.
The older the cheese, the stronger the taste, and we especially loved the aged Gouda and farmhouse cheese, which has a more pungent and salty taste. Don't miss the chili cheese either, which is perfect on its own or grated over a bed of nachos.
The shop also serves Dutch cheese rolls, tostis and grilled cheese sandwiches (HK$35 to HK$40) as well as a variety of cheese platters (HK$50 to HK$60). Drinks include a selection of South African wines (by the glass or bottle) and Dutch coffees, teas and hot chocolate.
The Dutch Cheese Hong Kong shop is the first of many to come, according to Pauli, who cites Shenzhen as a possible next location. The Dutchmen clearly have their eyes set on China, but only time will tell whether they'll be ready to say (and eat) cheese.
The Dutch Cheese and More, 232 Queen's Road Central, Sheung Wan, Hong Kong, +852 3543 0081, www.thedutch.hk