Recently, I took a trip to the Netherlands during the weekend of Sinterklaas, which is the largest St. Nicholas celebration in the world. Although I unknowingly visited during this cultural celebration, thanks to my new Dutch friend, Anne, I arrived with a long list of places to go, things to see and food to eat. Below is my official food review of the charming city, which stole my heart (and my stomach) for the weekend.
My first taste of Dutch Cuisine was through Poffertjes. I ordered the mini pancakes with Nutella, as my server mentioned this was his favorite way to eat them. Altogether, I found these puffy dessert cakes to be overpoweringly sweet. Yet, they were also light, fluffy and utterly delicious. Although I purchased mine at a sit-down restaurant, I later saw them sold on the street, which is a fairly common phenomenon in Amsterdam. If you are ever in the city, I think they are a must-try!
As a part of the Sinterklaas celebration, there was a large parade throughout Amsterdam, where locals dress up as elf-like helpers to offer handfuls of Pepernoten, or quarter-sized, spice cookies, to the crowd. After acquiring some from the helpers, I found the cookies to be a rather addicting snack throughout the remainder of my day. Although they are only available around Christmas time, they were a yummy, festive treat that I think everyone should try.
Following the end of the parade, I noticed a large crowd developing around a street vendor selling these puffy pastries. Wanting to know what it was all about, I got in line and quickly saw I could check another of Anne’s suggestions off my list.
Although I opted to try the plain flavor, Oliebollen also could come with the addition of chocolate chips. After the Poffertjes, I thought these deep-fried donuts had the perfect amount of sweetness. Mine was light, fluffy and mostly reminiscent of an elephant ear. However, I will say, I managed to get powdered sugar everywhere. Yet, it was definitely worth it. Overall, Oliebollen was definitely my favorite food I tried during my trip.
Later that same day, I ventured off to the Bloemenmarkt, which is the world’s only floating flower market. During which, I found myself purchasing another popular street food: Kibbeling. Initially, when Anne said I should purchase fish on the side of the road, I thought I had misheard her. However, I am thankful I did not let my hesitation prevent me from trying the freshly fried food.
I found the fish to be warm, crunchy and flavorful. Additionally, it was perfectly coupled with a tangy tarter sauce and while I am not the biggest fan of fish, I am glad I tried the popular Dutch snack once.
After a full weekend of eating in Amsterdam, I returned to Dublin with a full stomach. Overwhelmed by food, quaint architecture and Sinterklaas festivities, I fell in love with the Dutch city during a single weekend. I suppose that age-old saying, a way to one’s heart is through their stomach, can ring true.