eating in the netherlands…

When in the Netherlands my food/breakfast of choice is cheese on sliced bread. I could live on it. It was the first dutch word I learned: kaas = cheese. In fact, soon as Inge knows I’m visiting she goes out and buys cheese – usually jong belengen (a young/mild gouda). I sometimes eat it plain on bread and other times with honey. If you haven’t tried that, do. Its a yummy combination.

A cheese shop in Zutphen. Look at the cheeses in the window upstairs!

While visiting the Netherlands this time I wanted to re-visit the comfort food I’ve tasted over the years. Nostalgia is something that comes with age…

I wanted some dutch fast food – like french fries called ‘patat’ or ‘frites’ met mayonaise – served in a paper cone or plastic tray, with a small fork and sauce of your choice – most commonly mayonaise!

No trip to the Netherlands would be complete with kroketten or bitterballen. They are virtually the same thing in a different shape. These crunchy delights are usually meat, cheese, and gravy that are refrigerated, rolled into logs, breaded and deep-fried until they develop a golden-brown color. You can now buy oven fried varieties for home which is great. I like mine on their own but the dutch usually eat them squased between slices of bread or in a bread roll.

Kroketten
Bitterballen

These and other fast food can be purchased quickly and easily in automats… An automat is a fast food restaurant where food and drinks are served via vending machines. Amsterdam is now considered to be the automat capital of the world so they’re worth visiting at least once.

They don’t tend to have automats in smaller cities. In those you have to actually go to a fast food shop and order properly.

Fast food delivery by bike.

Other classic dutch comfort food includes stamppot or hutspot. Both are traditional dutch dishes made from a combination of potatoes mashed with one or several vegetables, usually carrots, onions, endive or kale. Its usually served with rookwurst – a smoked sausage, or a piece of braised beef. I’ve also had it with bacon bits, sauerkraut and pineapple. Its the ultimate winter food.

Let’s talk sweets… cause as you know, I have a sweet tooth… There’s the dutch pancake, pannenkoek, a big thin pancake (more like a crepe than an american pancake) that can be served sweet or savory. I love them with apple… must try it at home.

Then there are oliebollen – dutch doughnuts with sultanas, currants or raisins in them and are dusted with powdered sugar. Traditionally a New Year’s Eve treat, but at the Salamanca market in Tasmania a stall sells them pretty much all year round.

But we can’t forget the tiny dutch pancakes called poffertjes. These small, fluffy pancakes are usually served with a dab of butter and icing sugar and sold at festivals and street stalls.

I have a few favourite dutch biscuits… first are koggetjes, lovely thin crispy butterscotch cookies. Absolutely addictive and very sweet. I could only buy these in dutch specialty stores in Australia at a dutch bakery in Tasmania.

Another super crispy thin cookie is the kletskoppen – with peanuts. Only found in Holland it seems as I haven’t seen them elsewhere.

The most ‘dutchest’ of sweets is the stroopwafel. Two thin waffles stuck together with a layer of sweet caramel syrup. You can buy these all over the world now but are best fresh, hot and gooey from a street market or bakery.

And last but not least, speculaas – spiced cookies you can get everywhere and go so well with your coffee.

I really had to come back home in order to stop eating all this stuff!! Not to mention the licorice.

Back to eating sensibly.

z

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