Amsterdam is famous for a lot of good or bad things, but I was not very much aware of the diversity of the street food. In a way, it makes a lot of sense: with so many tourists daily, offering food on the run is a very smart idea. Another good thing is that most of the foodie corners are open till late in the evening, so no worries that you may be left hungry after you finish your tour around the channels.
Famous in France, the delicate macarons are highly appreciated in Amsterdam too. The three ladies from the picture - vanilla, pistachio and lemon - can be savoured on a wooden bench on a sunny day, with a big mug of coffee. A refreshing energizer for a very intense schedule.
As I kid I grew up in complete ignorance about the Dutch cheese, being sure that only the French cheese really matters. Many years ago, when I was backpacking in Bulgaria, I met 2 Dutch girls and they mentioned me for the first time the cheese as a national food. It was the wake up call, but took me time till I entered the real secret world of Dutch cheese. In Amsterdam, you have testing counters of cheese every 3-4 shops. And you can have exactly everything you ever dreamed about: hard and mild cheese, simple or with pepper, to be served with chutney and sour sweet spicy mustard.
The choice of the wines matching such an impressive selection of tastes is a big challenge, but I cannot see the cheese served otherwise but with a healthy glass of white wine.
The wisely patched pastry from the picture has in the middle the Old Amsterdam cheese, made according to a unique ripening process recipe. It received many award at various cheese competitions. Those interested to find out more about the long history of cheese in the Netherlands should take their time to have a tour of the Cheese Museum.
Not anyone may be extremely interested in cheese and other hard core foods, but in a country with so many bikes and people that care about the environment, a lot of vegan and vegetarian bars and restaurants are available, as well as bio markets and shops, some of them open till late.
After an exhausting afternoon and evening trying to discover as much as possible from the city, I ended up the day with a mango smoothie with a lot - but really a lot - of ice whose only problem was that it was prepared at an impressive length. Waiting for around 10 minutes was not what I expected after so much walking. But the ambiance was pleasant and, as in many other small food counters or bars in Amsterdam, the wifi is a compliment from the house.
Early in the morning it is a big challenge to decide where to spend your breakfast. Let's say Rene's Croissanterie this time, a very small place full of temptations. I did not want to hear about croissants that were underrepresented anyway , but rather have a look at this beautiful cappuccino, and the big waffle - a Belgian speciality that can be prepared with high-class art in the Netherlands as well.
The bonus were the two little small chocolate cupcakes: one with lemon and caramel and the other one with orange juice. Till late in the evening when I was already in Antwerp, I did not crave for anything else. The chocolate simply melted with the coffee and brought a little corner of sweet paradise into my busy world. Happiness can be achieved so easily sometimes.
The prices at the Croissanterie are relatively acceptable, the service is very fast and I saw other English speaking foreigners spending their morning here. English speaking is part of the service too.
On the walls, old ads from equally tasty times with even sweeter recommendations. Wish I had more time to explore all those beautiful food choices.
If not too much time in sight for a proper lunch, trying one slice of pizza is the option of many of the tourists, especially those traveling with families. Cheap, without too much waiting time or the worries that it will take some time till finding a table, being asked about the order and other time-consuming activities that the busy traveler want to avoid as much as possible during a very short trip.
Beers are another important products made in the Netherlands, not necessarily associated with the country (the fate of being caught between Germany and Belgium, probably). In some cases, the production was encouraged by the low quality of the local waters. You better have a 'white' one than die, isn't it? The white beers are the speciality of the three big companies located in this country - Heineken (producing the traditional Amstel), Grolsch and Bavaria. The tourists are regularly offered beer tours, including at some of the famous factories located in Amsterdam.
The evening before, I wanted to see (as usual) the products sold at a regular supermarket in Amsterdam, and spent some time researching the Food Plaza, close to the Dam Square. The products are moderately priced, with many fruits and vegetables, but nothing spectacular, and many products from Belgium and France. The main supermarkets are Dirk, Aldi, Lidl, Jumbo and Albert Heijn. Pour les connaisseurs, the special Marks and Spencer is also present here.
A new stop at a cheese paradise that looks like a Vuitton shop. Precious products inside: Koekaas that can be tasted with truffle (quite heavy combination), cheese with herbs and mustard, or with cumin for the more sophisticated tastes, Baby Gouda simple or with cumin, or with some cranberry sauce. Or maybe some Polder cheese with green pesto, or Gerste kaas with fenugreek. A lot of things can go on in your stomach and your foodie mind when you visit such a shop. We were guaranteed that the production is made according to the highest standards and no trace of nuts can be found in the factory.Those curious about the secret of cheese can visit the farms where Henri Willig Cheese is produced.
Whatever the temptations of the places of adoption, there is always a feeling of longing for your home-made food. If you are one of those British/American expats, Eichholtz place is for you!
It did not appeal too much too me till I stopped in the front of this colourful pile of cornflake boxes that reminded me of a home when I used to have dozen of them in the kitchen.
I am happy to see that the fashion of Frozen Yoghurts is conquering the old Europe too. The one I saw in Amsterdam looked pretty and inviting, but not very busy with custoemrs though. The usual combination of flavors on the menu. Maybe the next time I will dedicate more time to their freshness.
Life can be so tasty in Amsterdam!