Breakfast and lunch are not dissimilar in Holland and consist mainly of Cold cuts of cheese and meats. For breakfast there will also be sweet toppings such as chocolate spread , treacle, honey or jams. There will also be several slices of various types of breads. Most of the Dutch breads are wholegrain and contain seeds such as sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds. The Dutch people drink a lot of tea and coffee, they like their coffee dark and strong but take their tea weak and without milk. Other breakfast drinks include chocolate or fruit juice. The evening meal tends to be the main meal of the day and will be a simple, hot and substantial meal, meat, potato and boiled vegetables with lashings of gravy and in winter one of the many stews (stamppot) or hearty soups are popular. A dessert will be a simple yohurt, fruit or thin milk pudding.
Holland is basically split into three regions when it comes to food, large scale agriculture in the North-East means that it is well known for it’s meats, although near the coastal area there is a lot of fish. In this region they produce traditional smoked sausages, the best known being the (Gelderse) rookworst. Traditionally these are smoked over wood chippings. Larger sausages go into one of the many stews and the smaller ones are ideal to be eaten as a snack. The pastries and cakes of the region are heavily spiced and are more filling than those of the south. In the western provinces of Holland a large amount of fish is eaten, some of the most popular are Herrings, eels (often smoked), mussels, oysters and shrimps. The herring are eaten raw and is a dutch delicacy called “Hollandse Nieuwe” which is eaten with raw onions, this dish is only eaten in spring when the first seasonal catch of herrings are brought in. This area is also famous for it’s dairy products, they produce cheeses such as Gouda ( which are sometimes flavoured with red peppers or nettles), Edam( which is usually sold in it’s distinctive red wax coating), Leyden ( containing cummin), Leerdammer and Beemster. The area also produces large quantities of butter and buttermilk. Pastries contain a lot of sugar and butter. Finally the Southern regions are renowned for their rich stews, soups and vegetable dishes (especially asparagus). Their pastries and cakes are also rich and are filled with cream, custard and fruit.
Some of the favourite meals of Holland:
Erwtensoep (Pea soup)- A thick soup made with fresh vegetables and meat, often the meat will be a smoked sausage.
Groentensoep – This is a clear soup with vegetables, meatballs and noodles.
Hutspot– A stew containg mainly potatoes, vegetables and smoked sausage, slow cooked.
Stamppot-raw endive mashed with hot potatoes and served with dice,fried bacon.
Boerenkoolstamppot-kale, potato,gravy, mustard and smoked sausage (rookworst)
The dutch eat a lot of potatoes and Patat (thick fries) are served everywhere, usually with mayonnaise or ketchup.
Meat dishes include gehaktballen (meatballs), Slavink (mince wrapped in bacon) Balkenbrij (liversausage) and meatloaf. Pannekoeken (pancakes), wafels with cream, offertje (small doughballs, not unlike doughnuts),spekkoek (spiced sponge cake), Poffertjes (delicious small pancakes served warm dusted with icing sugar),Stroopwafel (waffle wafers with caramel syrup), Vlaai (a sweet pie containg a fruit filling) and Drop (liquorice sweets, either sweet or salty) There are many multi-cultural restaurants throughout Holland the main one being Indonesian cuisine (Indonesia was once a Dutch colony) and the standard of Indonesian food is very high in Holland.
Alcohol is rarely take with meals in Holland and they do not drink much wine. They do, however produce some very good beers, the two best known names being Heineken and Grolsch. They have a variety of bitters, the best known being Beerenburgand , these bitters are produced from adding herbs and spices to the local gin, Jervers . Strong spirits from Holland include Jenever (Dutch gin made from juniper berries), Brandewijn (brandy), Kandeel (made from white wine), Kraamanijs (a liquer from aniseed), Oranjebitter (orange brandy) Advocaat (A rich,creamy liquer made from eggs,sugar and brandy), Boerenjongens (raisins in brandy) and Boerenmeisjes (apricots in Brandy).Both Heineken and Grolsch are old Dutch breweries and have been brewing beer for many years in Holland, Heineken, in the West, since 1873 and Grolsch. in the East, since 1615.