Expedition No. 1 - DUTCH DELIGHTS

Getting around on two wheels was a whole new experience for Hutch. Yet somehow, rather heroically he thought, he made his way through the crowded Amsterdam pathways. His tour of the Netherlands was going swimmingly so far. He just hoped with all these canals around that would not prove too literal.

Finally he spotted the delicatessen he had been searching for. Hutch wobbled to a stop and parked up against a nearby lamppost.

A little bell rang above the wooden door as he entered, and Hutch found himself faced with a veritable cornucopia of dairy delight, in cheese form.

“Can I help you?” asked a thin, rasping voice, half-hidden amongst the wheels. It belonged to a small Dutch man who, Hutch thought, bore a striking resemblance to a garden gnome.

“Sorry to barge in,” said Hutch, grinning his cheesiest grin. “I was on the lookout for some of your famous Gouda.”

“Well you have come to the right place, my friend,” replied the shopkeeper, “we’re all Gouda here!”

The little man proceeded to offer Hutch several tasty morsels from his wares. One particular wheel stood head and shoulders above the others. So high, in fact, that the shopkeeper had trouble getting it down off the shelf.

“Ah,” he said with reverence, “this is our finest Dutch Gouda. It has a rich creamy flavour and smooth texture. Perfect for the toasted sandwiches, yes?

“I’ll say,” said Hutch.

“Also,” the little man continued, “is good with Riesling, Pinot Grigio,  Chardonnay, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir,” he added with a flourish.

“Or maybe just a beer,” said Hutch, finally able to get a word in.

“I can see you have excellent taste,” said the shopkeeper. “Would you like your Gouda wrapped or bagged?”

“Frankly, my gouda man, I don’t give an Amsterdam,” quipped Hutch. “I’ll be on my bike now, but I’ll take as much as you can pack in my paniers!”