That Dutchman rubs royal elbows

Sherry Martell
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UPPER ECONOMY - "Interesting."
That's how local cheesemaker Willem van den Hoek describes his recent brush with royalty at an invitation-only reception and dinner in Ottawa.
The Upper Economy resident, known locally as That Dutchman for his award-winning Gouda cheese, attended a state dinner on Remembrance Day at Rideau Hall hosted by Gov.-Gen. MichaËlle Jean, with special guests Prince Charles and wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Van den Hoek did not have a one-on-one audience with Charles, who was continually surrounded by a crush of people, but
shared a brief greeting and handshake with Camilla.
"It was OK. It was interesting," he said. "I think they could have put a little more effort into introducing people."
During the meal, van den Hoek was seated with Ottawa Mayor Larry O'Brien.
Some other high-profile guests at the event included Prime Minister Stephen Harper and his wife Laureen, Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff and his wife, Zsuzsanna Zsohar, as well as Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Walter J. Natynczyk, Jason Kenney, citizenship and immigration minister, and Bev Oda, minister of international co-operation.
The dinner menu included a variety of food from across the country and at every place setting was That Dutchman's Dragon's Breath blue cheese.
"It really sticks out." He said people were "wowed" by its distinct flavour.
Van den Hoek and his wife Maja were also invited to watch as the royal couple planted a symbolic red oak tree outside Rideau Hall on Thursday before heading back to their London home.

Organizations: Dragon's Breath

Geographic location: Ottawa, London

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