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The Very Humble Cuisine Of The Netherlands
Somewhere in the northwestern part of Europe is a country whose flavors and recipes remain curious in their sheer simplicity. The cuisine of the Dutch, known little throughout the world, is a mild blend of dairy, bread, and seafood, with a concoction of local spirits thrown into the mix. It is indeed basic, but this quality is what makes the Dutch cuisine worth looking into.
Dairy and Bread
Holland, a region in the Netherlands, is world-famous for being the biggest exporter of cheese. Indeed, the country is a center for cheese making as its people have been working the process since 400 AD. Naturally, some of the world's well-known cheeses came from the Netherlands. Edam, Gouda, and Maasdamer are just three of the traditional Dutch cheeses that have made their way across the globe. However, Reypenaer cheese is probably the most celebrated in this country, as it is a two-time Supreme Champion winner at the Nantwich International Cheese Show, which is the biggest of its kind in the world.
The bread here is another thing that you can best enjoy in a Campanile hotel in Amsterdam. Of course, enjoy it in hotels and restaurants only if you cannot have them at their traditional setting. For example kerststol, a type of fruit-riddled, bread is traditionally eaten at Christmas. Aside from bread, the Dutch also loves cookies and they have a pretty diverse selection of them. There's kruidnoten, which is often covered with dark chocolate, the crunchy pepernoten, and the classic nougat cookies called koggetjes. Both bread and cookies are partnered with hot beverages like hot chocolate milk, coffee, and mild tea.
In the Netherlands, especially in the western region, seafood is a staple. They are either eaten without much cooking or served in such exquisite dishes that require dedicated work. Herrings are a well-loved ingredient in Dutch cooking. The Dutch love herrings so much that they do not even cook them and simply eat the fish raw. But they are also turned into traditional dishes like in smoked herring fishcakes, pickled herring salad, and in the herring and herb relish.
Mussels are also an important ingredient of Dutch cuisine. An original food creation in this country is the mussel pot with Trappist beer. Because it's Dutch, the preparation of this dish is simple: the mussels are steamed in the beer, apparently resulting in a wonderful and genuinely Dutch food. Another traditional way of having mussels is by cooking them with saffron and ginger.
Beers and Spirits
Beer is not only good as an ingredient. It is a favorite beverage in the country as well. In fact, each region makes its own type of beer. There is the bitter Beerenburg in the northeast, pale lagers in the west, and the famous Trappist and Kriek beer down south. All around the country, Jenever is a popular drink. This juniper-flavored drink is the national liquor of the Netherlands. It is also the origin of gin.
The Dutch have a very simple approach with their food, but this does not make their cuisine any less significant. Cheese and bread are two sources of pride in the Netherlands and while they remain traditional, a lot of them are served not only in Amsterdam restaurants but also in any hotel bruges and other European cities have. The seafood delicacies of the country also keep that low profile and they are still best served and consumed in the country.
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