Some of the top eats and treats in the Netherlands!
Haring is simply raw herring and the fishy offering is considered a delicacy in the Netherlands. Herring from the first catch of the season is particularly coveted and eaten as a special treat. The raw herring is typically eaten with onions and pickles. The Broodje Haring (or raw herring sandwich) is even one of the Netherlands national foods.
If the thought of raw fish doesn’t appeal then maybe the rookworst would be more to your tastes. In this Dutch sausage ground meat is mixed with a selection of spices before being stuffed into a casing. Traditionally rookworst sausages were smoked over woodchips but more and more producers have started flavouring them with smoke aromatics instead. Rookworst can be bought precooked but it can also be bought raw and needs to be thoroughly cooked in a pan of simmering water before it can be eaten. Rookworst is a main ingredient in the popular Dutch dish Stamppot.
Banketstaaf (Dutch Christmas Log)
Forget mince pies and stodgy Christmas pudding, this flaky pastry treat is a Yuletide favourite across the Netherlands. Essentially, a Banketstaaf is simply buttery puff pastry with a sweet almond paste or marzipan centre. The Christmas classic is often simply decorated with toasted almonds but some bakers do get elaborate and top the pastry with candied fruits and all sorts of other things.
Unlike the rookworst a frikandel is a skinless sausage. It’s also dark coloured, deep-fried and commonly eaten in the Netherlands as a snack food. A Frikandel is often served with ‘curry ketchup’, a popular condiment in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. A Frikandel speciaal is a big seller and involves splitting the sausage through the middle and stuffing it with diced raw onion, mayonnaise and curry ketchup. Frikandel aren’t like American hotdogs in that they are usually consumed without a bread bun. If they do come in a roll they’re known as broodje frikandel.
Drop is the Dutch name for liquorice, a treat the Netherlands is famed for. In the Netherlands both sweet and salty versions of the pungent candy are eaten on such a large scale that the region has the highest per capita consumption in the world. Drop comes in a huge variety of shapes and sizes and sometimes has additional flavourings like honey or menthol added to it.
This is possibly one of the most famous of all Dutch cheeses. The internationally eaten dairy product was named after the town in North Holland responsible for coating the long-lasting spheres of cheese in red paraffin wax for export. Edam has a sweet and nutty flavour, is lower in fat than most cheeses and can be made from either cows or goats milk. If the Edam has been aged for more than 17 weeks it has a stronger flavour and is coated in black wax, rather than red. This Dutch classic has been one of the world’s most popular cheeses for centuries.
This treat is one for the adults. Advocaat is a very rich liqueur traditional to the Dutch and Belgians. The creamy beverage is similar to custard in consistency and flavour and is a distinctive yellow colour. It’s made from brandy, sugar and egg yolks – although some producers do mix in additional flavours. Thick advocaat (which can be eaten with a spoon) is the kind commonly enjoyed in the Netherlands and used as an ingredient in desserts. A variation of the drink, which is made from whole eggs rather than the yolks alone, is the type usually exported and used to make cocktails like the Snowball.
Bossche bol are sweet pastries which originated in the Dutch city of ’S-Hertogenbosch (also known as Den Bosch) in the early 20th century and are now sold around the country. Essentially, bossche bol are profiteroles, only bigger. In fact they are roughly the size of an orange. These mammoth choux pastry buns are filled with whipped cream, smothered in a layer of dark chocolate and traditionally eaten as a snack with coffee. Bossche bol are very similar to moorkop, another favourite Dutch pastry.