Friday, 26 February 2016

Adventures In Food: The Netherlands


We visited Amsterdam in late October last year. On the top of my to-try list was apple pie. Er, isn't apple pie American food, you say? No, it is originally Dutch, who brought the recipe to America centuries later. We lined up at one of the best cafes for apple pie in town (CafĂ© Winkel) on a sunny, beautiful morning. With a spiced, chunky apple and raisin mixture and thick pastry bottom, sides and top, it didn't disappoint! This is the view at the register as we ordered our piece of pie- proof that they are busy/famous for pie.


Mini Dutch pancakes are well known in Australia as festival food so I had had them before our trip to Amsterdam, but was super keen to try some locally. They are made on a special cast iron pan with lots of small indentations for each pancake. They are really light and fluffy, but then that is cancelled out with a ton of icing sugar and butter- which kind of merges to form a sweet sauce, a bit like DIY maple syrup!


Stroopwafel is something I have genuinely never tried before, which can be rare in this globalized world we live in! Stroop means syrup in Dutch so these are 'syrup waffles'. Although I just told you in my last post that waffles are Belgian, this particular kind is definitely Dutch. The waffles are made from a ball of dough that is placed onto a hot waffle iron, which is then closed to squish out the dough into a flat circle. This already differs from a Belgian waffle which is based on a brioche dough, whereas this is more like a cookie. So you need two waffles, and then a hot syrup made from brown sugar, butter and cinnamon, is slathered between them to make a sandwich. As the syrup cools it hardens, so it gets chewier, and then snappier, as you eat on. You can buy these in shops and supermarkets all over Amsterdam, but of course, they are cold and the toffee has hardened. I tried mine freshly made from a street vendor and I would really recommend it.


So I also told you in my last post that fries are Belgian. Yes yes I can't deny it. However, I (a super-purist) feel comfortable including them here in the way that I can include, say, 'tea' in a survey of British food- actually not from that country but a big part of food culture. I guess it's inevitable when you neighbour a country that invented the most delicious thing ever. And whereas in Belgium I couldn't get fries that weren't cooked in lard, in Amsterdam I had no trouble. They love eating fries with mayonnaise and that works for me as it is totally delicious!

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