There are cheese shops all around the city, especially around the tourist areas. There is so much to choose from – fresh gouda, 12 month matured gouda, 18 month matured gouda, age being the key factor for goodness (and cost). Then there is a collection of gouda that has been flavoured with herbs and spices, cumin, pepper, chilly flakes, green herbs etc. If you are a cheese connoisseur, welcome to paradise! If you are a newbie, don’t worry, its ok to feel lost …just like we did and so did our taste buds!
We still don’t know what is the best way to taste cheese! Should we taste various flavours one after another in a row and compare? Should we try different maturities after a few hours of interval? Should wine be our palette cleanser? Amsterdam made us realise that we know nothing about cheese and cheese tasting. We think there is only one simple mantra to it…take a small bite… if you like it… buy a big piece. Then buy a bottle of wine, sit by a canal and enjoy it as you watch the sun go down!
The Belgian waffles are famous world over as warm squares of sweet goodness. People tend to assume that the Dutch waffles would be similar, but they are not. The typical Dutch waffles are called stroopwafles and are very different from their Belgian cousins. They are made in a special waffle press and are like thin large biscuits, sandwiched by a gooey caramel syrup.
The best stroopwafle is freshly made, straight off the specialised waffle maker, warm and chewy, the caramel slightly runny. We think that the best way to have the stroopwafle is with a warm cup of coffee latte. If you don’t have the inclination and time to get yourself a freshly made waffle, pick up a packet from any super market. Keep a stroopwafle on a steaming cup of coffee and let the steam warm it for a minute. Then turn the side and wait for another minute. Two minutes are enough to make the caramel soft again…luscious, melt in the mouth goodness!
Can we call them ‘Dutch fires’, just because we are writing about Amsterdam? Maybe, we shouldn’t bother because the French fries originated in Belgium. Did they? Or didn’t they? The debate is on between the French and the Belgians!
We loved having French fries from small outlets across the city, mostly at Dam Square. They were always perfectly cooked – crisp from the outside and soft and warm from the inside. Making perfect French fries is an art and I am sure that many foodies will agree to it. Try the fries with some garlic sauce… it was my favourite!
Apple Pie/Apple Bol
Even if you do not have a sweet tooth, try the apple pie in Amsterdam. It isn’t cloyingly sweet. It has just the perfect amount of sugar to satiate your sugar craving. Soft apple, flavoured with cinnamon, wrapped in flaky pastry and dusted with sugar… top it with some custard sauce and dig in! While the apple pie is easily available in Amsterdam, we tasted another version the pie, called the ‘Apple Bol’ in La Place, a restaurant at Dam Square. Since then, I have seen La Place at numerous locations, including in Bali, but no where have I seen them have the ‘Apple Bol’ on the menu. I loved it so much that it took quite some effort to share it with Ankur. It is a must have treat if you are in Amsterdam!
Are there any other Dutch vegetarian delights that one should try when in Amsterdam? Help us add to our list – another trip to Amsterdam is on the cards!