Wim Maassen van den Brink - Cheese specialist
Wim is owner of the Best Cheese Specialty Store of 2015.
"Going once, going twice, sold!"
My love for cheese runs deep. As a kid of 16, with my textbooks strapped to the back of my bike, I worked hard for some extra cash by turning and polishing the cheeses at a cheese wholesaler. Though I just started studying at the technical school, the then owner of this shop on the Brink in Deventer was overjoyed to have me join his team. I agreed, but how was I going to tell my family that at home? I helped out at one of the many cheese markets for a week and I was sold. I have now been running this shop for over 35 years.
I’m surrounded by a great little team, but I've always been independent. Nobody can tell me what to do – I love it. My goal is to be 100% sure that customers leave with the cheese they are looking for. I also want to know where a cheese comes from: the region, the way it was made… everything, really.
"Cheese is alive, and it's able to surprise me every day"
In the past twelve years, we have been voted the best specialty cheese shop in the Netherlands six times. It would be fair to say I'm a "cheese freak." On summer vacation, my wife usually can’t find me for the first two days. While she’s sight-seeing in Milan, I'll be browsing the local trattoria and the neighboring farms. Regional cheeses are in fact becoming more and more popular. We now sell over 250 different kinds that go by exotic names, like "Bunker," "Zeekraal," "Mekkerstee," "Monte Enebro", or "Petit Doruvael" (thanks to land consolidation elsewhere).
The most extraordinary would be our Boeren Poldermeester—without a doubt. It has a net weight of at least 60 glorious kilos, and we go through it in no time! Only the best is good enough here. BOSKA shares that commitment – they’re true innovators, from boards to knives. We have a Milano cheese slicer of our own, and, of course, we sell their Cheesewares. We don’t carry too many, obviously, because I have to make the most of my shelf space, but they are always very attentive when we win another award. You don't forget things like that easily. Before you know it, you're friends for life.
Wim Maassen van den Brink, Cheese specialist | www.kaashandel-debrink.nl