Opposite Ocean: Horse milk, drink up
Leah Budke discovers horse milk (and horse milk liquor!) in Flanders.
People consuming horse milk. I had such a hard time wrapping my brain around this concept at first. I don’t really know why it seems like such an oddity because cow milk is consumed widely without any associated strangeness. After a Google confirmation and a bit of time I became more comfortable with the thought of people consuming horse milk but it wasn’t until the "Open Businesses" day in Flanders that I had the opportunity to actually try it for myself. Many businesses opened their doors to the public, providing an opportunity for people to become acquainted with their products and services. It was a beautifully warm day so we took our bikes and joined the ferocious fietsers (bicyclists) on the road to the Paardenmelkerij ‘t Kattenheye.
Apparently we weren’t the only people with this idea because the horse farm was teeming with people. We joined the line and waited to have our free sample of horse milk. The website of the dairy has a lot of information regarding the health benefits of consuming horse milk and using horse milk products. The milk tastes lighter than cow milk and I thought I detected a slightly fruity taste similar to that of a cantaloupe. Next we sampled the horse milk yogurt which was a deliciously light and fresh creation. We walked through the stables and were able to see many of the milk horses with their foals at their sides. The majority of the horses at the melkerij are Haflinger horses. This is an exceptionally beautiful breed with the characteristic flaxen mane creating an inviting contrast to their big dark eyes and chestnut coat.
|A mare and her foal
They are gentle horses, which they graciously demonstrated by allowing all of the small and noisy children to pet them. In addition to the milk, the farm also offers a variety of other products made with horse milk. They have a large selection of cosmetic products including soap, shampoo, conditioner, and lotions and even have liquor made with horse milk. It was a great way to spend an afternoon and I’m happy to say that I’ve now tasted horse milk. If you’re in the Gent area and would like something interesting and unique to do, I would recommend visiting this horse dairy. You can find information on their website regarding visiting hours, store hours, and tour opportunities. Click here for directions.
Opposite Ocean is a web blog created and maintained by Leah Budke. Leah is a twenty-something American living abroad in Europe with a passion for languages, art, literature, and one special Belgian. She is a university graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish but finds that the drive to learn endures. Follow her as she cycles awkwardly through the streets of Ghent, Belgium, attempts to learn Dutch, and reveals all the quirks that make up the curious yet charming country of Belgium.
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