JC Travels: A Dutch food tour, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
I’ve decided food tours are my thing. You know, that thing you must do every time you visit a new city. When we in Dubrovnik we met a couple whose thing was always going kayaking. But you know, we can’t all have healthy things now can we. So as it was my second trip back to the ‘Dam we knew that a food tour was going to happen. I do have another post coming up about all the other bits and bobs we got up to. But I felt like typing about food today. As really, all I ever do is think about food right!
We did our food tour with the Hungry Birds and went for the City Birds tour on the Sunday. We started bright and early at 10.30 so we jumped on a tram from our hotel to the meeting point. It was that kind of grey, slightly drizzly day so eating a heap of food was just what was needed. We met our guide and the rest of our group (about 8 of us in total) and started off to our first stop on the tour.
We started at a wee coffee shop with something for breakfast of course. The best bit about this place was the giant jars of biscuits dotted all throughout on the tables. Though I did manage to resist a few as I knew there was a LOT of food to come. We all digged in to some French toast, topped with cinnamon sugar and some home made jams. Yum.
Fulled with bread and coffee we started off on our walk towards central Amsterdam learning about the canals, boats, bikes and all the things in between. It was nice to hear about Amsterdam as a local and the cycling culture as literally everyone there is on a bike. Something I quite enjoy!
Our next stop was for a traditional croquette or bitterballen which is a hot stuffed croquette full of beef ragout and topped with mustard. Rather delish and something the Dutch often have with a beer as I soon noticed when I was in the pub later that day! We continued our stroll, learning a bit more about the WWII history and dodging to avoid some of the rain which decided to appear.
What came next was the stop I was concerned about. Herring! I am generally one of those people that eats just about everything. I don’t mind fish, meat, veges – there are only a few things I’m funny about. And to be honest, I thought that I didn’t mind herring but when it appeared, I seriously questioned that judgement! Herring is very traditional in Amsterdam, often covered in onion and gherkin. I gave it a go but it was not my thing. I love fishy flavours but it was just a bit slimy? I will definitely try it again in another form though, maybe cooked or in a sandwich or something.
Our savoury courses came to an end with of course, the traditional frites – so popular in the Netherlands and Belgium. You can’t walk anywhere in the city without seeing people clutching their paper cone full of steaming hot fries and these were good ones. We went to Vleminckx and you could tell it was good by the big queue outside! I went for the curry sauce all over the top just to give it even more heat. I definitely recommend going there if you get chance in Amsterdam.
Now, we moved onto the many, many dessert courses. They definitely love their sweet treats in this city. We started with pancakes which were smothered in chocolate sauce and stuffed with banana. Can’t beat a good crepe can you? Before moving onto biscuits – starting with the traditional stroopwafel or the waffle biscuit that you usually dip into your hot drink.
But it was now time for the proper cookie course. And I’m gonna say it, probably the best cookie I have ever had. I know, big call. We wandered down a tiny side street full of people, all desperate for the cookies. The shop itself – Van Stapele – was tiny, and they only made one type of cookie, but that was more than enough. The cookie itself was a dark, cocoa outer, crisp outside but gooey on the inside. But the best bit was the giant melting white chocolate centre. Oh my gosh. It was amazing. I am considering going back to Amsterdam just for that cookie!! I’ve also head about the apple pipe for smoking you can make yourself to sample their specialty…their cannabis (which they are very well-known for of course), what a trip!
Now the best way to finish off all that food, it has to be cheese right? We popped into a Dutch delicacy shop and sat down for a nice glass of (French) wine and dug into some Dutch cheese. The Netherlands do cheese well and you can’t go far in the city without wandering past a cheese shop. We tried a heap of different cheeses from ones with cumin to truffle and even a tiny bit of blue.
To round off all that food, we popped into a little Brown cafe (the equivalent of a pub) to grab a quick drink. By this point I was totally stuffed and ready for a long walk home to burn it off. I enjoyed the variety of food and the amount of sweet bits and bobs as they don’t often focus on sweets on food tours.
What do you think of the Dutch foodie traditions?