As the temperature’s dropping and Amsterdam is putting on its Christmas decorations, you might find yourself craving for some warm food, while exploring the city. The dark days mark the colder season, but they also come with feel good Dutch winter food, so filling and delicious. Let us guide you through the best of the local cuisine, which might be not too fancy, but definitely worth trying.
The mash pot of stamppot
Originating in the early 1600s, stamppot is one of the oldest Dutch dishes that make grey rainy days go by faster. You do have to like potatoes to appreciate the variety of stamppots, because while some ingredients may vary, the potatoes always stay. Imagine the mish-mash of this main component with boiled or raw sour cabbage or kale (boerenkool), or endive, or turnip greens, or spinach or maybe even carrots and onions. Depending on the additional mixed vegetables, stamppot can come under a bunch of other names, like hutspot, zuurkoolstamppot, boerenkoolstamppot andijviestamppot. If you’re lucky you can order the mix of all the stamppots and try the variety, but you can’t have your trip to Amsterdam complete without tasting at least one.
Is a type of stamppot for those, who dare to combine potatoes with fruits. Taste a curious combination of mashed potatoes and boiled sweet&sour apples. Baked onions and bacon are likely to accompany your dish. All other stamppots are usually served with a traditional Dutch sausage (rookworst), typically made with pork and smoked over woodchips. Be careful though, once you try one of those, you will end up buying a few to bring home with you. So don’t limit yourself to having it only with stamppot, just go to HEMA and indulge yourself with a rookworst broodje with mustard. They haven’t invented a better snack in the Netherlands yet, so it’s a must eat, while browsing the streets of Amsterdam.
When it’s time for something warm and nutritious, erwtensoep is the best choice for travellers. It might remind you of the grandma’s pea soup, except it will be prepared the Dutch way. It’s a classic winter dish made from green split peas, onions,carrots, celery and of course potatoes. Add large chuncks of the famous sausage, maybe some bacon and a thick hearty soup is ready to fill you up. They can serve it with bread full of pumpkin seeds or rye bread. How to tell whether your erwtensoep is the best? If the spoon remains standing upright in your bowl, then it definitely is!
Everybody would agree that stew is a very suitable dish for the cold season, but the Dutch beef and caramelised onions stew beats all the others. Mouthwatering tender hachee stew gets its reach flavor during the long and slow cooking with special herbs and spices. What used to be a peasant dish, is now well-loved by locals and tourists alike.
There are hundreds of vegetable soups in the world, but the winter version in Holland is probably the most nourishing one. Because believe it or not, the authentic vegetable soup comes with meatballs here. You will also find some traditional Dutch vegatables in your bowl, such as kale, celeriac and carrots.
Oliebollen for desert
When you pay attention to the food stalls next to Museumplein or later in the season around all the squares of Amsterdam, you will easily discover what oliebollen are. Although some call it “a not too healthy snack”, we call it “super yummy winter desert.” These crisp donut balls with raisins covered with sugar powder will melt in your mouth. Their smell around Amsterdam streets signifies the beginning of the festive season.
This post is also available in: Dutch