The cuisine of the Netherlands, like the Amsterdam canals, the Red Light District and windmills, are the country’s visiting card and its national treasure. It masterly combines the centuries-old traditions of Dutch housewives and the modern interpretation of gastronomic fashion by restaurateurs, and therefore Dutch cuisine can be studied in detail and in detail. However, a tourist just needs to get to the herring festival in early summer or try the Christmas Oudejaarspot to get an idea of the culinary traditions of the Dutch.
Dutch cuisine began to take shape at the beginning of the new era, when the Romans invaded the lands of what is now the Southern Netherlands. They brought with them the culture of growing cereals and legumes, and also introduced the Dutch to the basics of poultry farming. After establishing contacts with the Islamic world, the cuisine of the Netherlands began to play with new shades: the hostesses received a recipe for making puff pastry and stew. And finally, the founding of the Dutch East India Company and the development of other continents brought exotic notes to the gastronomic traditions of the Netherlands, and the inhabitants of the Netherlands began to consume coffee, sugar and tea.
Modern Dutch cuisine still doesn’t have any specialties in cooking. Products are taken of high quality and energetically valuable, but the variety of dishes prepared from them is very limited. The inhabitants of the country prefer hearty soups, hot dishes from stews and vegetables, fish plates – both from fresh fish and from pickled fish. Desserts are served with syrups and jams, waffles, puff pastries and pies are at a premium. Fast food in the Netherlands is most often made from potatoes. It is deep-fried, sculpted into croquette balls, or baked with spices and herbs.
Among non-alcoholic drinks, coffee, which is drunk a couple of times a day, invariably leads. The Dutch favorite light alcohol is a variety of beer. Those who prefer a bit heavier can recommend Genever gin, Advocate liqueur and Royalty wheat vodka.
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Vegetable and meat stews form the core of Dutch cuisine, and hashe is one of them. It is a traditional stew based on diced meat, fish or poultry and vegetables.
Most often in the Netherlands, “khash” is prepared based on beef and onions. The meat is pre-marinated in acid. Usually wine or apple cider vinegar or dry white wine is used. This is how a special softness and tenderness of the meat is achieved. It is usually fried first and then stewed with water and other liquids that have their own flavor, such as wine or beer. Often onions, carrots and tomatoes are added to meat for taste. The rather thick sauce obtained during the cooking process is seasoned with cloves and bay leaves.
“Hashe” is often served in combination with red cabbage, oven-boiled apple sauce, and boiled potatoes. Sometimes rice or vegetable stew is used as a side dish.
With the onset of the cold season, the soup for the Dutchman acquires special significance. Hot and satisfying, it replaces both the first and the second for a working person, because soups in the Netherlands often look thick and rich.
The tradition of cooking “erten” originated in the century before last during an agricultural fair, and today it decorates a traditional winter table with dignity. The list of essential ingredients includes crushed peas, pork shank, smoked meats, celery, onions, carrots and traditional spices and spices. “Erten” is cooked in a thick-walled saucepan and served hot with slices of freshly baked rye bread, bacon and mustard.
The main rule of the cook who cooks “erten” is the correct thickness of the soup. The spoon should be in the literal sense of the word!
The stew, called “stew” in the Netherlands, is a typical Flemish dish and an example of how Dutch culinary traditions are closely intertwined with those of neighboring countries. Sometimes referred to as “flemand”, “stew” is served in most fast food outlets and numerous restaurants in Holland.
The main ingredients of the stew are dark beer and pieces of beef that take a long time to cook. First, the meat is cut into cubes and fried in a pan, and then transferred to a saucepan. Add fried onions, beer or dry wine, pepper, salt, cloves, thyme and bay leaf and stew until tender. The process can take several hours for the beef to be tender and breakable. In restaurants in the Netherlands, “stew” is served with boiled potatoes or an assortment of stewed vegetables.
Another popular meat dish in Holland is called “gutzpot”. The history of its appearance on the Dutch tables is connected with important events in 1574, when the Dutch city of Leiden was under siege by the Spaniards. Finally, the blockade was lifted, and a huge cauldron of food became a real salvation for the besieged. Since then, “gutspot” has been prepared on October 3, the day Leiden was released.
The stew contains not only traditional potatoes, stews and onions, but also a large amount of grated carrots. This is how the Dutch symbolize their loyalty to the ruling House of Orange – the royal family of the Netherlands, in which orange is the dynastic color. In the restaurants of the country, you can taste “gutzpot” at any time of the year: it is prepared and served everywhere.
The recipe for the popular cabbage salad in the country of tulips was born by accident when a Dutch housewife accidentally mixed shredded cabbage with ghee and vinegar. This happened in the middle of the 18th century, and since then “Cole Slow” is one of the most frequently ordered snacks in local restaurants. Today, the salad is prepared with mayonnaise, seasoning it with chopped cabbage mixed with grated carrots, chopped onions, mustard and spices.
In restaurants in Amsterdam and other cities in Holland, you can order cabbage salad, which contains apples and pineapples, grated cheese and seeds. In some establishments, “Cole Slow” is prepared from red cabbage, in others – with the addition of broccoli. Cabbage salad is ideal with fried chicken, fries, and is also often used as an ingredient in hamburgers and other complex sandwiches.
The classic Dutch dessert was first mentioned in written sources from the 14th century. Already then in the Dutch cities there were bakeries specializing in its preparation. Initially, the Limburg pie was prepared only twice a year at Christmas and Easter, but later it migrated to the category of holiday desserts, which were also baked for less significant occasions.
For the pie, a classic yeast dough is used, and the filling is made from various fruits. Often jam and preserves are added to the pie, as well as mushrooms and even cheese. The peculiarity of the decoration of the Limburg pie sets it apart from other Dutch pastries. From above, the filling is covered with braided dough strips, which gives the product a particularly elegant look.
A popular Dutch sweet dish can be enjoyed at a coffee shop or restaurant, while frozen tarts with a variety of toppings are available in Dutch supermarkets.
The original type of dessert, the name of which is translated from Dutch as “country boys”, is often present on the Christmas menu of restaurants, although at other times of the year it can be ordered for sweet.
“Burenongens” is a raisin soaked in spiced brandy, often accompanying a serving of ice cream or pancakes. It is also called in Holland an alcoholic drink based on brandy, which is prepared with the addition of raisins. In some provincial cities of the country there is even a kind of ice cream with the taste of “Burenongens”, and the wine list of Dutch bars contains a cocktail based on Boerenjongens.
The famous Dutch dessert was first prepared at the end of the 18th century in Gouda. Since then, waffles baked according to a special recipe have always been present on the tables of the Dutch family who gathered for Sunday or holiday breakfast.
They are prepared from a thin layer of dough, and then baked, filling between two waffles with a filling made of caramel syrup. The syrup contains not only brown sugar, but also honey, oil and cinnamon. Sprinkle with icing sugar when serving. Confectioners working in Amsterdam coffee houses know the secrets of the best recipes for the Dutch favorite dessert.
If you have a sweet tooth, poffertier crepes should be on your list of dishes to try in the Netherlands. Pancakes appeared in the country of windmills at the beginning of the 19th century. The recipe for their preparation was brought from France by merchants. Since then, “poffertier” has been traditionally baked at fairs and festivals, but on a weekday you can taste them by placing an order in a restaurant in Amsterdam or another city in Holland.
The peculiarity of the pancakes is that their diameter does not exceed 4 cm, and the basis of the dough is buckwheat flour. Also, wheat flour, yeast and eggs are added to the mixture, then the dough is rolled out thinly and baked in a special frying pan with notches. On the table “poffertier” is served with powdered sugar, fresh mint leaves and various syrups.
The list of recommendations for what to try in Holland would be incomplete without the traditional herring. The easiest and fastest way to satisfy your hunger and enjoy at the same time is to buy herring in a soft bun with chopped onions and pickles. Sometimes it is served simply on a paper plate – the result of changing the places of the terms does not change.
Herring is traditionally eaten by hand, but foreigners are offered special disposable “appliances”, similar to a fork made of toothpicks. The price also includes supplying the client with wet wipes, because the Dutch absorb the art of eating herring with their mother’s milk and then hone it throughout their lives.