Is there ever sunshine in Holland?
On my third day in Holland, I woke up to more grey skies and rain. I literally have not seen the sun at all since I left Sydney. Yesterday was rain and grey skies and windmills. No wonder I’m still jetlagged! The only thing that makes it kind of feel like summer is that it’s light until about 10PM, which is nice!
Anyway, onto today’s adventures…
We drove over to Amersfoort to see Mum’s partner’s daughter Kimberly. They’ve recently got a new puppy, called Noortje. What a cutie. I couldn’t get a very good picture because he was full of beans (not literally though).
We drank coffee and ate stroopwafels. I can’t be bothered to explain what these are so google it if you care. You can get fresh ones at markets or you can get pre-packaged ones at supermarkets for next-to-nothing and they taste pretty similar. We had the classy home brand Albert Heijn ones. Nothing but the finest for us! I’d say they are pretty tasty but nothing too special.
We discussed exciting things like genomics and cancer cure conspiracy theories (Kimberly did her masters in life sciences, genomics and something else I can’t remember – oops!), puppy toilet training and whether the bus or tram was the best option to get from Ijsselstein to Utrecht. But most importantly, we also discussed Dutch food specialties and swapped some secret baking recipes (when I’m back home I might try making the arretjescake).
Based on our local insider knowledge mum and I then ventured into Amesfoort Centro to try some local specialities. The sky was STILL grey. (It was sunny and 26 the day before I arrived, and 38 the week before, but since I’ve been here, not a skerrick of sun!).
Kimberly had suggested the best burger in Holland, the best fries ‘in the world’ and a few other specialties to sample.
As I had eaten too many stroopwafels at her house I didn’t have room for a giant burger (and besides, can they really be better than Brodburger?), so instead, our lunch consisted of a few snacks – Kibbeling and frites.
Firstly – the Kibbeling: a Dutch snack of little chunks of battered and deep fried fish. We tested this out at a cute little fish shop that was doing a roaring trade. Loads of people were ordering food to snack on at the outside tables, or to take away, and kibbeling seemed to be the thing to get. It came served with the ‘specialty kibbeling sauce’ which was like a sweet curry-flavoured sauce but not spicy, although Kimberly had said she has hers with a creamy garlic sauce. It came in a cute fish-shaped container. We ordered the small and it was plenty for the two of us.
Apparently kibbeling was originally made with cod, but due to rising cod prices is now made with other fish species such as hake, pollack or whiting. As I’m not a fish connoisseur, I have no idea what fish we ate. It ould have been shark for all I know. Or dog. Pretty simple but very tasty. The place was authentic (i.e. I couldn’t see any other daggy tourists taking photos of the fish like us).
Then we checked out a massive ‘candy’ shop and bought another Dutch specialty Kimberly had suggested – Schoolkruit – which is a liquorice covered in a mint-candy coating. I hate mint and liquorice so didn’t try this one, but we got a pack for my brother who absolutely loves both mint and liquorice.
And then, the ‘best fries in the world’ according to Kimberly – at Vlaams friteshuis van gogh.
We got the regular size which was 2.30 euros + 60 cents for mayo (according to our server the mayo was the better option when compared with the frites sauce), and it was giant! We could’ve shared the small instead. I wish they had such huge serves of delicious chips in Australia (now your ‘$4 worth’ will get you a tiny handful, and you’d probably have to pay for chicken salt too – it’s an outrage!).
These were possibly the best fries (and the best mayo for fries) I’ve ever had (I say possibly, because I had the same feeling when I had fries in Brugge last year and it’s hard to do a comparison so far apart). These were real homemade fries – you could taste the potatoes and you could see they were hand cut, and even included the poor ugly misfit potatoes that normally get left out to make the fries look pretty. They were crispy and fresh, with a perfect crunch on the outside and a light and fluffy inside. The mayo was perfect – not too sweet (nothing like your P. R. A. I. S. E mayo at home) and they gave us stacks so there was no fry that felt left out.
Amersfoort is really pretty, like all the Dutch towns I’ve visited, and has a gorgeous set of arches, a church, and a pretty square where you can sit outside the pub on a sunny day (if they exist) and have a nice cold Amstel. Other than that it’s a typical town filled with shops, take-away style food places and quite a few ice cream places (or ijssalons).
After the drive home, we went for a ride through the countryside. It was quaint. We saw some pretty hours and got barked at by dogs. The roads were flat. The skies were grey. We got drizzled on a little.
The tiny dot on the right is me on the bike (mum is a very clever photographer, she’s good with the details).
Next I took the car for a drive on the wrong side of the road. Well the wrong side for me, but the right side for here luckily. It was actually not quite as hard as i thought it would be, and everyone is still in one piece!
Then we went home for more cheese and wine and other gourmet delicacies which are not Dutch, but are ridiculously cheap at the supermarket, and so had to be eaten.
And that’s it for the Dutch food. Next will be the Italian. So excited!!
Miss Italy Foodie X