The Meyer Gouda Cheese story begins in the 1970’s in a tiny village in the South of the Netherlands. After visiting a monastery in Postel where monks were producing handmade cheese, Ben and Fieke Meyer were inspired to try cheese making themselves.
Independence, working close to nature and producing a good honest product appealed to the young couple who at the time were working as a teacher (Fieke) and an electrical engineer (Ben). Ben enrolled for a cheese course in Gouda run by Dutch cheese master, Mr G Elings.
In the evenings they worked together, to build a little cheese factory in the hay shed on Ben’s parents’ farm near Bladel. Many years of hard work saw their cheese become very popular within the community. In 1983 they immigrated to New Zealand with their three small children, Geert (4), Fieke (2) and baby Miel.
As the heart of the New Zealand dairy industry, the Meyers chose Waikato as their new home. Initially they struggled with the New Zealand milk as Kiwi dairy cows milk composition differed dramatically from milk in The Netherlands. The first year was challenging, however, trial and error and advice from a Dutch cheese maker in Mercer helped Ben and Fieke begin producing the quality cheese they were so widely known for in Bladel.
After five years, the Meyers decided to purchase their very own farm to control milk supply, a decision paramount to the quality of their cheese production today.
Nowadays, Meyer Gouda Cheese is one of the most significantly awarded companies in New Zealand, picking up Supreme Champion at the first New Zealand Cheese Awards in 1994 and a string of awards since. In 2011, their youngest son Miel was awarded the Cheesemaker of the Year Award – the youngest cheesemaker in the history of the competition to scoop the prize.
Meyer did extremely well at the 2015 Cheese Awards with Miel once again taking out top Cheesemaker award and a number of their cheeses earning Champion status or gold medals.
Meyer Gouda Cheese is now a fully-fledged family affair with the next generation at the helm. Miel took over as general manager of Meyer Gouda Cheese after Ben and Fieke retired in 2007. In August 2011, eldest son Geert came back from The Netherlands as head cheese maker for Meyer Gouda Cheese.
Meyer Gouda cheese is available in wedges or whole rounds from Moore Wilson’s Fresh.