Cheesemaking

The monks of Westmalle make their own Trappist cheese in the abbey’s cheese workshop. Dairy products are in keeping with the vegetarian diet of the monks.

The milk for the cheese is provided by two breeds of dairy cow: Groninger Blaarkop and Brown Swiss. The animals are housed in the stables of the abbey farm.

Trappist cheeses maturing on shelves made from beech wood.

Cheese dairy

Westmalle Abbey is not only home to a brewery and a farm. There has been a cheese dairy on the premises since 1860. Here the monks produce a semi-hard, mature cheese. This cheese is primarily destined for the monks’ own use but it is also sold in selected retail outlets.

The three types of Westmalle Trappist cheese.

Our cheese

We only produce one type of cheese, but it is available in three varieties based on its age: matured for 2, 6 or 12 months. The taste and texture evolve with the length of maturation. All of the Westmalle cheeses are low in salt.

A protective layer is added to the Trappist cheese in the ripening room.

Cheesemaking

Making the Westmalle Trappist cheese is an artisanal process, using only fresh milk from the abbey’s cows. The monks themselves are responsible for most of the work of cheese making.

Map showing the outlets for Westmalle Trappist cheese.

Where to buy Westmalle cheese

Westmalle Trappist cheese is made primarily for use within the abbey. Nevertheless, it is available in limited quantities from the gate of the abbey, and from several Belgian cheese shops, butcher’s stores and market stalls. The cheese is not exported.

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