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Surprisingly Yummy Airline Meals: KLM's Local and Sustainable 'From Holland' Menu

October 28, 2013 at 4:01 PM | by | Comments (0)

We have all had a terrible meal on a flight before. In fact, we have shown you some of the sadder trays slid in front of us. With this new series of amazing airline meals, we can revel in the airline culinary delights and give kudos to the airlines that got it right.

The months of October and November are very special in KLM World Business Class on intercontinental flights from Amsterdam. It's now that, for the past four years, the airline has celebrated the "From Holland Festival," a time of hyper-local onboard offerings to highlight Dutch heritage and specialties.

It's thanks to this festival that, on our KLM flight from Amsterdam to JFK last week, we ate the best beef entree we've ever had on a plane. It was tender, flavorful and not gray! It's no wonder, too, since the "braised beef accompanied by potato mousseline with onions, carrots, green asparagus and mushrooms" is a dish by Onno Kokmeijer, Executive Chef of Ciel Bleu restaurant (with two Michelin stars!) at The Hotel Okura Amsterdam.

Not only did we love the taste, but the background as well. The beef is such that KLM catering knows everything about it short of the cow's name; it is supplied by De Vrije Koe ("The Free Cow"), an organization with the goal of reintroducing indigenous Dutch cattle through allowing their cows to "graze unhindered in the nature of North Holland, where they receive no additional feed or growth supplements." KLM is in a long-term partnership with De Vrije Koe, so you know your meal lived a happy life before giving you a happy tummy. In fact, reading these details in the in-flight menu is what caused us to order the beef when we typically play it safe with chicken.

What's being served is, in fact, quite specific. In addition to all being specialties of Chef Kokmeijer, the entrees are prepared with special care to the origin and treatment of the meat. We've already told you about the beef but the standards extend to the other offerings. For example, the chicken is "prepared with meat that has been granted the Better Life Hallmark by the Dutch Society for the protection of animals." Similarly, the filet of North Sea sole is prepared with MSC-certified fish, which means it's from a well-managed and sustainable fishery.

These are just the entrees! The "From Holland" festival extends to the entire food program onboard in KLM World Business Class. This means hors d'oeuvres of Dutch meat, cheese and baked goods alongside your pre-departure beverage, a second meal of equally local flavors, special extras like limited edition salt & pepper shakers and Wilhemina mints in a KLM tin, and the newest Delftware collectible KLM house (filled with Bols Genever liquor) as a parting gift.

We traveled to Amsterdam as a guest of KLM, but all photos, opinions and droolings are completely our own.

[Photos: Jaunted]

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