Sampling Dutch Cuisine

The Dutch may be known for their tulips, their architecture, their love of modern design and their bicycles, but they are less known for their food. As in any country, Dutch food reflects the culture of its people. Traditional Dutch Food is either fish, such as pickled herring; or  farm food like sausages, potatoes mashed with cooked kale (boerenkool) or cooked carrots and onions (hutspot), breads, cheeses, and thick pea soup. rows of saucijzenbroodjes Dutch dessert, on the other hand, is a sweet tooth's paradise. Banket is a flaky pastry with almond paste baked into the center, there are also butter cookies, apple tarts, stroopwafels (get one warm from a street vendor and then you have truly lived), oliebollen, and speculaas. And then there are a few oddities such as double salted black licorice. The Dutch swoon over these little black drops while the rest of us dare each other to eat them without making a silly face. The Dutch are also pretty good at drinks. Stiff strong coffee, Heineken Bier, Genever (gin), and Advocaat (a creamy yellow delicacy often served over ice cream) are all popular in the Netherlands.

 

So given this little bit of Dutch food history, you can probably surmise why there are no Dutch hotspots maxing out reservations in New York or Dutch food trucks popping up in Seattle. There are, however, opportunities to sample Dutch fare in Holland, Michigan. The most common things to try are saucijzenbroodjes (otherwise known as pig-in-a-blankets - pork sausage rolled in a flaky crust) and pea soup. Russ' Restaurants, the Wooden Shoe Restaurant and the Hungry Dutchman Café at Nelis' Dutch Village all feature these on their menus year-round. During Tulip Time, you can sample some of the more unique items, such as the sausages and potato dishes at the Queen's Inn at Nelis' Dutch Village, and the Marktplaats in the Civic Center (you can get pickled Herring here too!). Tante Nellie's Kitchen located on Windmill Island during the festival has a sampling of soups, sandwiches with Dutch cheese and desserts. For Dutch versions of American classics, check out the DeBoer Brothers Restaurant and Bakkerij. The brothers are second generation Dutch-Americans who grew up baking breads and Dutch pastries with their dad and decided to transfer their skills to the restaurant business. The results are delicious! In addition to pig-in-the blankets, they offer ham croquettes, soup and most any sandwich you can think of with smoked Gouda cheese. Make sure you stop by the bakery case for Dutch sugar bread, banket, krakelingen and other Dutch pastries.

i finally remembered to get some...

For those wanting to try some of these at home, recipes will follow later this week.

For a more indepth understanding of Dutch Cuisine, Wikipedia has a well-written succinct entry here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_cuisine