Delicious Netherlands Dishes: A Culinary Journey through Land of Cheese and Bitterballen

The Netherlands might be famous for its windmills, tulips, and picturesque canals, but its culinary scene is equally captivating. Dutch cuisine is known for its strong focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients, as well as its simplicity and hearty portions. So, grab your fork and get ready to discover the mouthwatering dishes that await you in the land of cheese and bitterballen.

One of the most iconic dishes in the Netherlands is, without a doubt, Gouda cheese. Dating back to the 12th century, this famous cheese is named after the city of Gouda, which is renowned for its cheese market. Gouda cheese is made from cow’s milk and is aged for various lengths of time, resulting in different flavors and textures. Whether you prefer young and creamy or mature and nutty, Gouda cheese is a must-try when visiting the Netherlands.

Gouda cheese on a wooden board

Another beloved Dutch delicacy is haring, or raw herring. While it may sound unusual to some, haring is a national culinary treasure. The fish is served whole, often with onions and pickles, and can be eaten by holding it by the tail and taking a bite. The haring is typically filleted and then consumed raw. It is a true delicacy that the Dutch love to enjoy during the summer months.

Plate of raw herring

For those seeking a heartier meal, traditional Dutch stews are a must-try. One of the most popular stews is erwtensoep, also known as split pea soup. This thick and comforting soup is made with split peas, smoked pork, and vegetables. It is traditionally served with slices of rookworst, a type of smoked sausage. Erwtensoep is especially popular during the winter months and is the perfect dish to warm you up on a chilly day.

Bowl of erwtensoep

If you have a sweet tooth, then Dutch pastries will surely satisfy your cravings. One of the most beloved treats is stroopwafel, a thin waffle filled with caramel syrup. The warm and gooey stroopwafel is a delightful combination of crispy and chewy textures, making it the perfect accompaniment to a cup of coffee or tea. You can find stroopwafels in markets and bakeries across the Netherlands.

Stroopwafels stacked on a plate

Speaking of sweet treats, no discussion of Dutch cuisine is complete without mentioning oliebollen. These deep-fried dough balls are a popular snack during the festive season, particularly on New Year’s Eve. Oliebollen are made with a yeast-based batter and are typically filled with raisins or currants. They are dusted with powdered sugar and are best enjoyed warm.

Oliebollen dusted with powdered sugar

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