I’ve surpassed many obstacles to be able to publish this article since I had to visit all the supermarkets available in the Netherlands to collect all the goodies (you know I never leave things unfinished) worth of mentioning!
This post is going to be concerned about wide range of treats (from sweet to savoury) that can all be called “stereotypically Dutch” and that you just can’t miss when you’re visiting the country since they’re all perfectly representing the Dutch culture. Well, at least most of them, but knowing these terms you’ll be able to understand their culture and way of living a little bit more than before. So let’s begin!
I’ll be ordering items by particular supermarkets.
1 – Vla is a Dutch dairy product made from fresh milk. The word ‘vla’ was first documented in the 13th century and originally referred to any custard-like substance covering cakes or other baked goods. Nowadays it has a very thin and pudding-like substance and comes in numerous different flavours.
2 – Pap is a traditional porridge/polenta made from mielie-meal (coarsely ground maize). It comes in various flavours as well and it may taste a little savoury at first, but I’m sure you’ll like it in the end!
3 – Appeltaart is the most typical Dutch cake. It differentiates from the common American apple pie a little bit, since the basis of Dutch apple pie is a crust on the bottom and around the edges. This crust is then filled with pieces or slices of apple, usually a crisp and mildly tart variety such as Goudreinet or Elstar. Cinnamon and sugar are generally mixed in with the apple filling. You’ll most likely find the pre-prepared mixture in every shop around the country.
4 – Pannenkoeken (pancakes) are also quite popular. Pannenkoeken are usually larger (up to a foot in diameter) and much thinner than their American or Scotch pancake counterparts, but not as thin as crêpes. They may incorporate slices of bacon, apples, cheese, or raisins. Plain ones are often eaten with treacle (syrup made of sugar beets), appelstroop (an unspiced Dutch variety of apple butter) or (powdered) sugar and are sometimes rolled up to be eaten by hand or with cutlery. You’ll find pancake mixes and syrups of various kinds everywhere as well.
5 – Dutch markets are full of pre-prepared cake mixtures of all kinds. This is only one example.
6,7 – Fishes! Herrings (haring) and mackerels (makreel) are pretty common in here, they come in various sorts and flavours.
8 – Pindakaas is a food paste or spread made from ground dry-roasted peanuts, therefore it’s basically a classic peanut butter. In the Netherlands peanut butter is called pindakaas (literally “peanut cheese”) rather than pindaboter (“peanut butter”) because the word butter was a legally protected term for products that contain actual butter, prompting Calvé, the company which first marketed it in the country in 1948, to use kaas instead.
9 – Veggie snacks – I know this is not typically Dutch, but since I haven’t seen such variety of vegetarian and vegan products anywhere around Europe I’ve been to yet, I decided to classify it here.
10 – Pepermunt ballen are as common in the Netherlands as chewing gums in other countries. You’ll find these tiny gum-like candies in all sizes and shapes everywhere.
11 – Another type of herrings.
12 – Hagelslag is Dutch people’s answer to sprinkles. But don’t be fooled – these are a different kind of sprinkles than you are used to. In North America sprinkles are primarily reserved for ice-cream and cakes and normally for the likes of children, but here in the Netherlands, it is apparently perfectly normal behaviour for an adult to merrily sprinkle some fruit or chocolate flavoured sprinkles on their bread at mealtime, particularly breakfast. Now, hagelslag comes in many varieties; you can have chocolate hagelslag, fruit flavoured hagelslag or most perplexing of all – anise seed (licorice seed) hagelslag.
13 – Speculaas or speculoos is a type of spiced shortcrust biscuit, traditionally baked for consumption on or just before St Nicholas’ day in the Netherlands, Just like other countries have Nutella, the Dutch have speculoos. It tastes unbelievably good!
14,15 – The Dutch truly love their licorice or drop as it is known in the Netherlands. You can find it in nearly everywhere. There is a flavour or type of drop for every taste from sweet to salty, hard to soft. Drop comes in many shapes and sizes from small Groente Erwten (green peas) to large Muntdrop chewy coins.
16 – Oh, I almost forgot to mention, that the Dutch prefer baking their own pastry at home, therefore sometimes you maybe won’t able to find anything in the supermarkets except these pre-baked packages!
17 – Peanut butter is a main ingredient in literally everything – even most of the sweets taste like it! Here you can see a brief example, the pindarotsjes.
1 – I’ve already mentioned one pre-baked cake mixture before, now you can see how many of them are to be found in this supermarket.
2 – Another types of drop.
3 – Amstel is among Heineken the leading beer brand in the Netherlands. You’ll find numerous types of beer everywhere, all sorts and flavours.
4 – Boerencake refers to a type of cake traditionally made with a pound of each of four ingredients: flour, butter, eggs, and sugar. Such pound cakes are generally baked in either a loaf pan or a Bundt mold, and served either dusted with powdered sugar, lightly glazed, or sometimes with a coat of icing.
5 – Speculoos hagelslag, my most favourite snack ever!
6 – Pindakaas again.
7 – Chocomel is a Dutch brand of chocolate-flavoured milk, produced by Campina in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. It’s so popular, that it’s even easier to get Chocomel than water. You’ll find it even on the McDonalds menu!
8 – (we’ll get to stroopwafels later). Now this cake really caught my eye since it’s a combination of a super easy pre-baked cake with my favourite type of sweets, the Dutch stroopwafels!
9 – Reuze mergpijp is a Swedish small cylindrical pastry covered with green marzipan with the ends dipped in chocolate, with an interior consisting of a mix of crushed biscuits, butter, and cocoa, flavoured with punsch liqueur. Though it’s more popular in the Netherlands I’d say.
10 – Galetten wafeltjes – Galette from the Norman word gale meaning flat cake is a term used in French cuisine to designate various types of flat round or freeform crusty cakes. And that’s exactly what these are, the tiny flat sweet wafels.
11 – Roze koek is a typical Dutch pastry. It consists of a small flat cake with a layer of pink fondant icing. The best-known brand is Glacé.
12 – A couple of another types of vla.
13 – Speculoos cookies!
14 – Gevulde koek is an almond cookie made of dough and butter with a sweet filling. Almond paste is the most common filler.
15 – Luikse wafels are a variety of waffle with a lighter batter, larger squares, and deeper pockets than ordinary American waffles. These waffles were originally leavened with yeast, but baking powder is now often used. They are often eaten as a breakfast food; toppings vary from whipped cream, hagelslag, confectioners sugar, soft fruit, and chocolate spread, to syrup and butter or margarine. They may also be served with vanilla ice cream and fresh fruit (such as strawberries) as a dessert.
16,17 – When it comes to dairy and yoghurts, I rarely find in markets anything but mousse and this Crème brûlée-like dessert. Both these products come in various flavours and toppings, I’d recommend you to try them as well.
1 – Kruidnoten are small, round, cookie-like confectioneries with a crispy texture, traditionally associated with the early December Sinterklaas festivities in the Netherlands. The term kruidnoten is often confused with pepernoten although they’re nothing alike since pepernoten contain mostly mint and kruidnoten other kinds of spices.
2 – Musketflikken are flat mint chocolate circles covered in small sweet sprinkles.
3 – Kokos rochers are simple yet quick French pastries made with dried grated coconut.
4,5 – Stroopwafel is a waffle made from two thin layers of baked dough with a caramel syrup filling in the middle. Stroopwafels are the most popular treats in the Netherlands, and were first made in the city of Gouda.
6 – Mini speculoos cookies.
7 – Again a few other types of drop candies.
8 – Salmiakmix – this is a really peculiar type of drop, since these candies are made of salty liquorice.
9 – Kersenstokjes (cherry sticks) and kaneelkussentjes (cinnamon pillows) are also very popular between the Dutch.
10 – Just to show you in how many shapes the speculoos cookies occur.
11 – Stevige verwendrop – supposedly verwendrop differentiates from basic drop, however – I do not find any differences. Do you know any? This verwendrop can be found in three different flavours here in Hema: salty, sweet and bay leaf.
Fine, that is supposed to be it, I hope I really did mention everything worthy your attention!
If you’ve ever been to the Netherlands – what are your favourite market snacks, and if you’re considering a trip – what has caught your eye? Let me know!
Have a great day!