On my cycle to the library this morning, all the traffic lights were flashing amber. Any normal person would slow down and proceed with caution, but not in the Netherlands! It is normal at low peak times for lights to constantly blink orange. I first noticed this a few weeks ago while cycling home after a wonderful evening with friends in the small hours of the morning. It appears that traffic flow responsibilities transfer from the traffic lights to the road user at approximately 11pm each evening. Apparently, drivers and cyclists can decide themselves whether or not they should stop or continue through a junction all day on a Sunday too. At least in my area anyway. This got me thinking of the other strange things that I’ve seen, but more importantly tasted. Inspired by my observations of life in Paris, here are a couple of food related things that I have noticed during my month living in the Netherlands.
*Coffee. Of course I start this off with one of my favourite pastimes! Dutch people are amongst the largest coffee consumers in the world. And I thought the coffee in France was good! There are so many delicious cafes to choose from and I intend to try them all! Even the coffee from the machines in the library is good. And it’s fair-trade. Gold star University of Utrecht!
*Stoopwafels. A cross between a cookie and a waffle with a layer of caramel goodness in the middle. Rest them over a cup of steaming hot coffee, allow the caramel to melt slightly and savour the deliciousness. One is enough though, they are very sweet!
*Salmiakdrop. Drop is the Dutch work for liquorice. These sweets were recently given to us with the bill in our favourite local cafe-bar Buurten. Salmiakdrop are a Dutch delicacy and definitely an acquired taste. They have a hard exterior and a taste similar to chocolate. Sounds nice right? WRONG! Once you bite into the middle a thick salty liquid oozes out and changes everything! Did I mention salmiak is ammonium chloride? Try these at your own peril! Other than that, the food and service is spectacular at Buurten, honestly!
*Salads. I have never seen a larger selection of salads anywhere. The staples for the standard salad includes hard boiled eggs, olives, green beans and a layer of either potato or pasta at the bottom. As I no longer eat meat, I seem to be living off salads lately, but who wouldn’t when they taste this good?!
*Hagelslag. The Dutch equivalent to sprinkles. Butter a piece of bread. Add hagelsalg. Instant meal. Excessive consumption may cause diabetes, but hey, it’s tasty!
*Chocolate milk. This country is obsessed with it. Chocomel is the most popular brand, and after trying it (for research purposes of course) I have to say, I can see why they like it so much. Also, it takes the effort out of making hot chocolate!
If you haven’t guessed already, I am one of those people who take pictures of their food. But if you eat something and don’t take a picture, did it really happen?