Europe in a nutshell: the Netherlands

Here begins the long overdue summary of my Europe trip, the food-centric version. If you were curious about other aspects, it is currently about 2/3 of the way through here.

Amsterdam. The Netherlands. Meat and potatoes. So many potatoes…

My favourite part was definitely the beer, cheese, and desserts. I must say I wasn’t terribly impressed by Dutch food other than frites.

The best start to the day: stroopwafels and tea. My favourite stroopwafels were the honey ones from Albert Heijn. I would also highly recommend trying one fresh from a street vendor!

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Craft beer at Oedipus Brewery. I’m not generally a huge beer fan when it comes to domestic beers at home, but the beer here was so delicious that it made me rethink my feelings for beer. Highly recommend trying some craft breweries over a bottle of Heineken!

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And here marks the best coffee I’ve had thus far; the honey vanilla latte macchiato in Den Haag. Presentation, taste, and cafe decor is just about perfect at the Barista Cafe here.

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Other must-trys in Amsterdam include frites – there are so many places, but my favourite place was Mannekin Pis located right outside Amsterdam Centraal. Patatje Oorlog (peanut sauce, mayonnaise and chopped onions) and Patatje Joppie (a curry-based sauce) were among my favourites.

Cheese! I don’t think you can really compare cheese in Europe to cheese in North America… Delicious cheese is widely available in Dutch grocery stores for less exorbitant prices than back home, and it is seriously delicious. I’m usually not super adventurous when it comes to stinky cheeses, but I understood the love for good cheese after sampling (and buying) some from the grocery store.

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HeksenKaas. This dip is seriously delicious. Available in grocery stores, we got it with a loaf of fresh bread, and ate both within an hour, thus resulting in a dinner at 11pm. It is just so flavourful, creamy, and addicting, that I would recommend everyone to give it a try.

 

 

Pastries. Poffertjes, appeltaart, and tompouce. There are so many more pastries and desserts, but those were the few I tried (more than once) and loved. Especially the hunt for orange tompouce as Koningsdag approached…

Now to talk about less spectacular food we had in Amsterdam…

Eating out at restaurants was probably my least favourite food experience here. Food can be pretty expensive, and despite eating at some of the popular places there, I was pretty underwhelmed.

Dutch food is pretty much made of meat and potatoes. While many interesting combinations can be made with these ingredients, the traditional way mostly has them boiled and mashed. I was pretty excited for a dinner at Moeders, and left stuffed with potatoes and disappointment. A dinner at Restaurant Blauw for rijstaffel was more tasty, but underwhelming for the price you pay. I would stick to cheese, HeksenKaas, bread, stroopwafels, and other grocery store goodies.

Overall, I had some pretty delicious food that I have been continuously craving since leaving the Netherlands. I would say that many of these items I probably would not have tried if my sister had not been living there for six months and recommending it, as they were mostly found in grocery stores and local shops, places that a first-time tourist might not visit. I think living here day-to-day and cooking is a much more appealing food experience than dining out at nice restaurants, because they all proved to be rather mediocre.

Now to learn how to make HeksenKaas…

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