Crucial for the taste development of our cheeses is the affinage. We give our cheeses all the time they need to develop their rich taste, and the ripening conditions are an essential art of this.
Rather than keeping environmental conditions constant, we let nature have its way with fluctuations in air temperature and humidity. In this natural ripening (known in the trade as drying), the proportional weight loss of the cheese is significant. This makes our Reypenaer cheeses flatter than similar types of cheeses ripened industrially. (Factory cheese is ripened by keeping the temperature artificially low and humidity artificially high to be able to sell the cheeses as quickly as possible with the minimum loss of weight.) Through the natural ripening process, Reypenaer cheeses actually lose approximately one-quarter of their original weight. This is so that they can ultimately reach the very best taste refinement.
Along with the ripening conditions, craftsmanship is every bit as important. It is the craftsmanship built on decades of experience that enables the cheese maker to best guide the ripening process towards the desired taste.
Our old warehouse plays an important role in this ripening. It is situated directly next to the Old Rhine river in Woerden. The microclimate in this warehouse is fostered and adjusted as needed by opening and closing some of the building s (many) shutters, and by additional heating in the winter and opening the hatches between the floors.
There is also the micro-flora of bacteria and moulds nestling in the wood of the cheese planks, beams and floors. These factors cannot be measured, nor can their effect be scientifically documented, but we taste them every day in the rich and complex taste!