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Direct Dutch summer food corner

Welcome to the Direct Dutch summer food corner. The 6 Dutch dishes below will make your summer holiday taste more Dutch than wooden shoes!

Number 6: Poffertjes

These mini-pancakes can be eaten all over the Netherlands in little picturesque poffertjeshuizen (poffertjes restaurants). You can eat them with or without cream, but never without lots of butter and powdered sugar.

This food item had even earned an entry in the distinguished Oxford English Dictionary. British linguists once defined it as “A small light pancake or fritter, typically fried and dusted with sugar”. They suggest the word was borrowed from the Afrikaans word “poffertjie”, but we know better…

The first time the “P” word was printed in an English book, was in Edinburg in 1804 in Mrs Hudson & Mrs Donat’s The New Practice of Cookery, Pastry, Baking, and Preserving: Being the Country Housewife’s Best Friend.

Their recipe is as follows: “To make Dutch Pufferties (sic): take a pint of cream and six eggs… Put them into custard cups, sift a little fine sugar over the top, and send them to the oven to bake.” Don’t try this recipe at home. Try our Dutch poffertjes recipe instead. Watch out, though; Poffertjes are a calorie bomb.

Number 5: Stamppot

Stamppot might not be very summery, but after doing some partying, you’ll absolutely love a big plate of stamppot!

According to international cookery books, this dish is the Dutch equivalent of renowned haut cuisine such as coq au vin, massaman curry, tandoori chicken, seafood paella, ankimo, shepherd’s pie, Penang Assam laksa or Neapolitan pizza. But stamppot doesn’t compare to these dishes.

English dictionaries can’t come up with a satisfactory translation. No, it’s not a stew, a hotchpotch, mashed potatoes with cabbage or bubble and squeak. So, what is stamppot exactly?

Its literal meaning is “mash pot” and it’s a traditional dish made from mashed (gestampte) potatoes with one or more vegetables such as sauerkraut, endive, kale, spinach, turnips, etc. If you mix spuds with carrots and onions, the Dutch call it hutspot and the Flemish call it wortelstoemp.

Stamppot is usually served with sausage, bacon or stewed meat. The nicest stamppotten are those in which the vegetables are “al dente”.

Number 4: Kaas

The Dutch don’t mind being called a kaaskop (cheesehead) by the Flemish because they love their cheeses, and they are proud of their golden treasures.

There are many different types of Dutch cheese: Jonge, Belegen, Oude, Beemster, Kernhem, Leerdammer, Limburgse, Maasdammer, Old Amsterdam, Zaanlander, Edammer, Friese, Goudse, Leidse, Noord-Hollandse, Stolwijker, Boeren, Gras, Hooi, Mei, Rook, and Smeerkaas… The list goes on and on!

So much cheese in such a small country. No wonder the Dutch language is imbued with so many cheesy metaphors.

Number 3: Haring

Yes, some internationals find the way the Dutch gobble up the raw fish in public spaces detestable, and for some just witnessing the old custom is enough to make their stomachs turn.

However, once you’ve tried it yourself, there is no turning back… you’ll be hooked to the Hollandse Nieuwe. Forty of our contestants have indicated that they will miss eating this delicacy when they move away from the Netherlands.

Therefore, the government should do away with the controversial inburgeringstest (naturalisation test) and ask freshly imported Dutchies to prove their Dutchness by swallowing the haring. Isn’t that a good and delicious idea? Language schools can add  the course “How to enjoy herrings” to their curriculum. Rule 1: Do not eat herring with chopped onions!

Number 2: Bitterballen

To cut a long, bitter story sweet and short: a bitterbal is just a small and round croquette. That’s all folks. Delicious, but watch out, don’t burn your mouth. The inside is scalding hot.

Number 1: Stroopwafels

This large, flat and round cookie, which originated in Gouda hundreds of years ago, is taking the world by storm. Wherever you travel (Dublin, Madrid, Lisbon, New York, Sydney, Cape Town, Moscow for instance), you can probably find the stroopwafel.

Stroopwafels can give someone a truly joyful experience because as one of our contestants wrote: “The soft doughy deliciousness carries a host of warm memories. When freshly made, they are liquid goodness!”

We hope you will try out these Dutch dishes this summer. Let us know what your favourite Dutch food is in this poll below!

This article was written in May 2017 by Ruud Hisgen (Direct Dutch Institute).