Dutch Specialties

Besides the frites (french fried potatoes), there are other delicious foods the Dutch are famous for. These include the endless variety of cheeses. There's far more than plain Gouda and Edam (they come in dozens of flavors) and while you're in Holland you should sample as many as possible. Cheese stores are everywhere and you can taste anything you like. We love the Oude Amsterdam aged goat cheese. It's sorta like parmesan but with an even richer flavor.

Another tempting Dutch treat is chocolate. The Spanish introduced Europe to chocolate hundreds of years ago, but the Dutch developed the process to make it into a lowfat, less bitter, soluable powder. Dutch cocoa is still considered the best, and you can enjoy a hot chocolate drink with or without whipped cream in just about any bar or restaurant. There are also chocolate shops around town that rival the more famous Belgian chocolates (some of them are Belgian). Also tasty are the Dutch cookies which are an intimate part of Dutch culture. Dutch Apple Pie is also very traditional and delicious.

The most famous Dutch beverage is of course beer, with Heineken, Grolsh and Amstel being Amsterdam's most famous exports. There are many more local beers that deserve a try. You'll be amazed at how little beer you get in Holland. Six ounces is typical for 1.50 (about $1.35). Ask for a larger glass and you'll get almost a pint for $3.50! Just remember that in Holland and most of Europe you are paying a cover charge with your drink, whether it's a beer, coffee or a soda. This allows you to sit at your table indefinitely. You don't jump and run after you're done. For Americans this takes some getting used to. The pace of cafe life is slow and relaxing. For the tourist doing Europe in a week, this is a difficult thing to master. You can also sample some of the famous Belgian beers, as most bars carry some. The Dutch gin, jenever, is popular among locals, but it takes some getting used to.

Dutch coffee is made espresso style, strong, black and served in tiny cups. They do not serve "regular" American coffee. The closest you can come is cafe verkeerd, which means coffee "wrong way", or with milk. If you like your coffee black but not so strong you'll have to explain your dilemma and hope they have a solution (like a larger cup and more hot water) or visit one of the several American style cafes that serves a good ol' cuppa. Gary's Muffins and the Coffee Connection are two that do.

Last but not least, the Dutch like their fish. Raw. It's not exactly sushi, but if you want to try some haring (herring) with onions, there are usually fish stalls around for those who just can't get enough.. Another Dutch favorite is eel. Yummy! Zalm, (salmon) is very tasty and comes in a variety of forms.

Note: Discover the joys of Dutch cuisine, including cheese, chocolate, beer and the wonders of raw herring.

Dutch Specialties
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