A Gastronomic Journey

Netherlands, Amsterdam Guide (A): A Gastronomic Journey

Take a culinary voyage through the tastes, sights and smells of Amsterdam. Wander through the city’s most picturesque streets and canals, stopping off at shops, markets and buildings that represent the gastronomic must-taste destinations. The tour will take in Amsterdam specialities, including raw herring, smoked ossenworst (a beef sausage), Dutch cheese, stroopwafels (caramel-filled wafer-thin biscuits), beer and jenever (a relative of gin).
This article is featured in the app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" on iTunes App Store and Google Play. You can download the app to your mobile device to read the article offline and create a self-guided walking tour to visit the attractions featured in this article. The app turns your mobile device into a personal tour guide and it works offline so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Walk Route

Guide Name: A Gastronomic Journey
Guide Location: Netherlands » Amsterdam
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (A))
# of Attractions: 8
Tour Duration: 2.0 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.7 km
Sight(s) featured in this guide: Herring   Smoked Ossenworst   Gouda Cheese   Stroopwafels   Utrechtsestraat   Nieuwmarkt   De Prael Beer   Jenever and Liqueurs  
Author: Vicky Hampton
Author Bio: British-born food writer Vicky Hampton has been a passionate Amsterdammer since 2006. As well as writing restaurant reviews and food-related posts for her Amsterdam Foodie website, she has had articles published in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Time Out Amsterdam. She has also done consultancy work and text for Amsterdam’s Eyewitness Guidebook. Her first cookbook, Working Lunch, is scheduled for publication at the end of 2010.

1) Herring

Dutch Herring is an acquired taste. The real delicacy is in late spring when the Hollandse Nieuwe (Dutch new) herring is caught in the North Sea and brought back to Holland in boxes of ice and salt. Each year, on a particular Saturday in June (known as Vlaggetjesdag), the new catch is brought to the harbour of Scheveningen (near The Hague) and judged by the experts. The first keg is auctioned off for a huge sum of money (58 thousand euros in 2010), all of which goes to charity. A couple of days...
Image by Bit Boy under Creative Commons License.
Smoked Ossenworst

2) Smoked Ossenworst

Ossenworst literally means oxen sausage. This Amsterdam speciality has its roots in Jewish tradition because, unlike most other sausages, it is made from minced beef rather than pork. The oxen were fattened in North Holland, and part of the meat was minced and salted. It was then mixed by hand with spices, including nutmeg, pepper, clove and mace, and stuffed into the lining of cattle guts. The sausages were cold smoked in oak or beech chips, at temperatures not exceeding 32 degrees centigrade,...
Gouda Cheese

3) Gouda Cheese

Outside of the Netherlands, Dutch cheese may be known for rubbery Gouda or flabby Edam. But mature, artisanal Dutch cheeses are nothing like their tasteless export counterparts. Cheese has been made in Holland since 400 AD. Nowadays, the country's dairy industry has an annual turnover of around 7 billion euros, and there are still cheese markets operating in five cities: Woerden, Alkmaar, Gouda, Edam and Hoorn.

De Reypenaer has been making cheese since 1906 in Woerden, about 40...

4) Stroopwafels

A stroopwafel more closely resembles a biscuit than a waffle. First invented by a baker in Gouda in the late 18th century, these very Dutch biscuits are made by baking a stiff batter on a waffle grill. The waffle is then cut in half into two thin layers and filled with a syrup made up of butter, brown sugar and cinnamon. The result is a sticky, heavy, spicy biscuit.

Stroopwafels didn't make their way out of Gouda until around a century later. They were originally made from crumbs and...

5) Utrechtsestraat

The Utrechtsestraat lies between the bustling touristy Rembrandtplein at one end and the Frederiksplein at the other. It crosses the three main canals that make up the grachtengordel, or canal belt: closest to the centre is the Herengracht, or gentlemen's canal; in the middle is the Keizersgracht, or knight's canal; and furthest from the centre is the Prinsengracht, or princes' canal. The street houses a great selection of independent shops and restaurants, frequented by both...
Image by David van der Mark under Creative Commons License.

6) Nieuwmarkt

Although ‘Nieuwmarkt’ directly translates as new market, it has existed since the early 17th century when the canals on either side of it were filled in to create the square we see now. It used to be known as St Anthony’s Market, because it was home to one of three main gates to the city, called St Anthony’s Port, built in 1488. The large building in the middle of the square, which used to mark the gate, was turned into a ‘Waag’ or weigh house when the gate became redundant. Traders...
Image by Bill Rand under Creative Commons License.
De Prael Beer

7) De Prael Beer

De Prael brewery is housed in a 17th century canal house, in the northern part of the Red Light District. The brewery itself, however, is pretty young – it was only founded early this century. The brewery's founders wanted to create a company that could employ people with long-term psychiatric disabilities. So they settled on a small-scale artisanal brewery making a high-quality product. It needed to fulfil both commercial and social objectives, by being a financially independent...
Image by Bill Rand under Creative Commons License.
Jenever and Liqueurs

8) Jenever and Liqueurs

Jenever is a juniper-flavoured liqueur that was the basis from which gin evolved. Only made in the Netherlands, Belgium, and limited areas of France and Germany, jenever was first sold as a medicine in the 16th century, becoming more popular for its flavour in the 17th. The liqueur comprises malt wine, sugar and juniper berries. Depending on the ratio of malt wine to sugar, three different types of jenever are produced: jonge or young jenever, oude or old jenever, and korenwijn or corn wine....
Image by Jos, Joanna, Micaela, Finn, and Davey Purvis under Creative Commons License.

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