· Lunch: Tomato soup and cheese toastie
Almost every bar and café in Amsterdam serves some variation of this dish. Toastieswhich are basically paninis or grilled cheese sandwichesare a staple of the Dutch diet, and on a cold day they’re the perfect sustenance. You can get toasties with extra fillings like onions or tomatoes, and you can also get shredded cheese or croutons (yeah, the same kind that go in salads) for your soup.
· Afternoon Snack: Herring
Herring (a pickled white fish) is an ideal Dutch snack because you can’t walk more than a few minutes without spotting a stand that sells them. Stop at a booth and see what the locals are ordering. Grab a bouquet of flowers on the way home and you’ve almost become a townie.
· Dinner: Rijstafel
Indonesia used to be a Dutch colony, and now Indonesian food is one of the most popular ethnic cuisines in Holland. A rijstafel (rice table) is a sort of Indonesian tapas – you’ll get a bowl of rice and about a dozen other small dishes, which can include everything from tofu to chicken satay to spicy beef. They’re large, so split one with your date.
· Dessert: Cheese platter
It may feel strange to have a dessert that doesn’t include chocolate, but the Dutch make so many wonderful kinds of cheese that it seems a sin not to sample as many as you can. Go beyond the world of gouda and edam: there’s blue de graven (a blue/gouda mashup) or Maasdammer (a slightly nutty cheese that pairs nicely with pastries).
Cutting the cheese at Reypenaer Proeflokaal
[Photos: Tom & Katrien & Jaunted]