Most people think that the Dutch don’t have a proper (whatever this means!) culinary tradition. Well, actually they did cook very interesting dishes until the beginning of the 19th century “when frugality became fashionable”. In her very interesting article “The History of Dutch Food”, Karin Engelbrecht points out that: “The classic Dutch cookbook, De Verstandige Kok (The Sensible Cook), published in 1669, includes recipes for roast goose with turmeric root and queekoeckjens, candies made from quince paste. Adventurous even by today’s standards”. And in another article, she also lists up some traditional Dutch recipes.
As everyone knows, the Dutch ruled the spice trade for a hundred years and you can still find a great variety of spices on the markets and stores. I’m not going to list up all the typical Dutch dishes.
Here are 8 foods that you should try if you are in the Netherlands:
1) Poffertjes are small pancakes made with yeast and buckwheat flour. They are made in a special pan and served with butter and powdered sugar.
2) Boterham met Hagelslag: Since my children went to the Dutch daycare (creche), they were used to eat boterham at lunch (a slice of bread with some savoury and/or sweet topping). We very soon got used to like the Hagelslag, a sort of sprinkels (but a bit bigger than those people put on ice cream) that adults and children put on their buttered bread at breakfast.
3) Muisjes: The muisjes (little mice) are candied anise seeds that come either white and pink or white and blue and usually are the first thing a mum is given to celebrate the birth of her child on an beschuit (rusk). The anise in the muisjes is thought to stimulate lactation and the muisjes symbolize fertility. It’s actually a tradition since the 17th century, that the parents of a newborn baby offer beschuit met muisjes to the baby’s visitors. When I gave birth to my twingirls, this was the first thing they offered me in the hospital. I found it a very nice gesture. – But obviously you can also eat it every day for breakfast… or the gestampte muisjes, a grinded version of the muisjes, created for elder people who find it more difficult to bite the muisjes.
4) The Stroopwafeln (a syrup wafle see a great recipe here) from Gouda are very delicious! It’s a waffle, made from two thin layers of baked batter with a caramel-like syrup filling in the middle.
5) The Limburgse vlaai is a sweet pie with a light crust. It is filled with cherries or apricots and comes originally from the Limburg area in the south of the Netherlands. The dough is different from a pie, lighter and quite thin. You can find several varieties of vlaai throughout the Netherlands. Usually they are filled with fruit, but the greumellevlaai is filled with a buttery crumble mix and a rice pudding recipe called rijstevlaai.
6) The Snert (also known as „echte Hollandse Erwtensoep“) is the Dutch version of split pea soup. The soup contains split peas, carrots, celery, onion, bay leaf, sometimes potatoes etc. and is usually served with smoked sausage. – This is a typical winter dish, a really delicious warming meal!
7) The Hollandse Haring is a raw herring fish, typically served with chopped onions. You can eat it with (broodje haring) or without bread. If caught between May and July, it’s called Hollandse nieuwe.
8) The Stamppot is traditionally served during winter time. It consists of mashed potatoes mixed with kale or carrots and usually served with rookworst (smoked sausage).
Eet smaakelijk! (enjoy your meal!)