De Oude Kaasmakerij, the cheese museum in Passendale in West Flanders, is a fun place to visit with children for an afternoon. It’s housed in an old farmhouse dating back to the 19th century, and features a reconstruction of a cheese factory from the 1930s, complete with original equipment. Multilingual displays describe how cheese was made in that period, while TV screens show video clips of the modern day production methods in the Belgomilk cheese factory down the road in the centre of Passendale.
There’s plenty for children to do, including a fun cheese-smelling game. Buttons release a series of cheesy odours into tubes, over which you are encouraged to take a deep sniff. They include over-ripe Camembert, Roquefort, goat’s cheese, and something that smells like a teenage boy’s sweaty socks.
Children can also participate in a treasure hunt, and take their own photographs which will then appear on the museum’s website. Outside they can play a tune on the churn organ, or at least make some good noisy bangs.
There is also an excellent bistro at the museum. Not surprisingly, it offers a wide range of cheese dishes as well as other good value meals. At the very least you should sample a platter of local cheeses such as Passendale, Wijnendale, Père Joseph and Oud Brugge, washed down with glass of local Passendale beer.