“Everyone in the Netherlands has the same common enemy. The sea.”
I spent the first two days in the Netherlands staying with the family of a friend I met in Taizé last summer. As soon as I told Thijs I was coming to the NL after the Taizé European Meeting in Strasbourg and visiting Belgium, he immediately offered me the hospitality of his parent’s house in Amersfoort, where he’s living while attending the university in Utrecht.
The first night I was there, Thijs introduced me to croquetten, a deep-fried meat-filled treat not unlike the French croquette, the main difference being in shape, but equally tasty. The outside crust turned out golden and crispy, and inside was this creamy, meaty ragu-type filling. YUM.
Breakfast the next day was a wonderful surprise. For the Dutch, a perfectly acceptable part of a good breakfast involves covering your morning bread in sprinkles. You can even choose from several flavor options: chocolate, anise, fruit, etc. Dessert for breakfast. Bravo, Dutch friends. Thijs also works in a bakery and had brought home some special holiday bread. Dried fruits and nuts baked into the loaf, and a vein of almond paste running through the center. LOVE.
During one of the days I was staying with Thijs’ family, I visited the nearby city of Utrecht, where Thijs attends university. Another Dutch friend, Ward, showed me around the town while Thijs had class. Afterward, we went to this nice little restaurant for drinks and appelbollen. Appelbollen are hollowed-out apples, filled with raisins, walnuts, brown sugar and other spices, wrapped in puff pastry, and baked. The end result is this warm and delicious ball of heaven. I’ll definitely be making these soon.
The next day, I went shopping with Thijs’ mom around Amersfoort. And I found a KITCHEN STORE. Luckily she was as much a fan of kitchen stores as me, so we spent a good chunk of time in there. I was really excited because I found speculaas cookie molds. Upon purchasing one, the shopgirl gave me the recipe for the cookies! In English even! WINNING!
Remember a few months ago, when I made Pepernoten? I didn’t understand when everyone was saying that mine were too big (plus…oops…they’re actually kruidnoten!). Buuuuuut, now I do. Yea…they’re tiny! And very light and crunchy. Mine were just a tad more cakey and heavy.
Eventually it was time for me to head back home to the US of A. Most of my time in the Netherlands was spent with Thijs and his wonderfully hospitable family, but I spent the very last day in Amsterdam. I didn’t have time to do much other than visit the Van Gogh museum and walk around a lot, but it was a nice visit all the same. The two pictures at the top of the page are from Amsterdam. I was also advised to try these delicious muesli rolls (OMG SO GOOD) and especially stroopwafels (syrup waffels). There may or may not have been a pack of stroopwafels in my luggage when I went through customs upon reentering the US. Hehehehe.