The Dutch herring fleet is sailing in again

Cutting dutch herring

Do you know that in Holland we celebrate the start of the summer season with a food product in the same way as the French start their winter? In France everybody knows that the first bottles of Beaujolais Primeur indicate that winter is starting. In Holland, our summer starts when we eat our famous salted Dutch herring…

In the first weeks of June we celebrate “vlaggetjesdag”, when the fishermen arrive with the first salted herring of the season. And we do not have wine: no, we drink beer or our traditional jenever when we enjoy eating raw herring.

It is a typical seasonal product. The herrings are at their best when they are almost jumping out of the sea!

A plate of Dutch Herring

History of Dutch herring

Did you know that our salted herring is a true Dutch finding? In the Middle Ages, in the late 14th century, the special way of prepping salted herring was invented by Willem Beuckelsz in Biervliet in Zeeland. It is called ‘gibbing’, and means the immature herrings are ripened in oak barrels in a salty solution.

The gibbing is done on board of the fishermans ships. So they are ready to eat when the herring fleet enters the harbour.

Healthy food

Eating salted herring is healthy for you. Immature herrings contain much rich oil, and also vitamines and minerals. This combination is a boost for your brains: it makes you smart!

Eating dutch herring

 

Typical Dutch food

For years, Vlaardingen was called the national herring city. After the second world war, the tradition of vlaggetjesdag was set up by Scheveningen, the fishermen town nearby The Hague. In restaurants you can eat herring as fine dining. At home and at fish food trucks we eat them as we are as typical Dutchmen: fresh, no nonsense and straight forward. We eat them raw, in one piece, add some pickles: it is like fish at its best! And to let the herrings swim, we drink beer or jenever. This is our double Dutch treat from Scheveningen. Try it!

Dutch heritage: say Cheese!

Dutch cheese

The Dutch are happy people. Everyday they say: cheese! 🙂 That is our answer to the question: what would you like to eat for breakfast or lunch? Holland is famous for its cheese. And we make much, much, much cheese. Over 800 million kilogram cheese is exported to countries all over the world. Dutch cheese is very popular, because of the constant high quality. No wonder that many copycats try to imitate our famous cheese from Gouda or Edam. But nothing beats the original, right? So do not try making our cheese at your home, and buy only the real stuff.

History of cheese

Did you know that in Holland people ate cheese already in 800 BC? And also Julius Caesar mentioned in his books that cheese was consumed in the lowlands. During the Dutch Golden Age farmers in Holland and Friesland started to export their cheeses. Dutch cheese makers were very good in conservation of their cheeses. For this reason, we were able to sell our cheese all over the world. Even after a long journey over sea the cheese was still good and very tasteful. Imagine this, in a world without refrigerators or cooling the Dutch were able to transport perishable dairy in a perfect condition!

Holland = Cheeseland

For centuries, Holland is famous for its cheese. It truly is part of our heritage. And we take cheese very seriously. Even in the 17th century, institutions as ‘gildes’ monitored the good quality of cheese. We already had quality certificates and guidelines how to produce cheese.
Exporting cheese is also big business. We are one of the biggest cheese exporters world wide. From Beijing to Buenos Aires, you will find our cheese in specialty shops and supermarkets.

Cheese to have and cheese to go

The Dutch love to eat their cheese. We eat cheese for breakfast or lunch. But it is great having a beer with it too! And you know what: many tourists come to Holland and they want to see how we make cheese. Cities as Gouda and Alkmaar are the places to be for cheese-lovers.
In Alkmaar you can find the cheese museum. There, you can find out all about the history of the Dutch tradition and heritage of cheese-making. Of course, after the museum visit – take some cheese to go!

Cheese and heritage in our language

One of the nicknames for the Dutch refers to cheese: we are called cheese-heads (kaaskoppen). Originally, Edammer cheese was made in round, wooden malls. And many well-fed faces of the Dutch are also roundish: there you have the similarity and the reason behind this nickname. By the way: our Belgium neighbors invented this nickname as a joke!

When Dutch say: “you have not eaten your cheese of this”, they mean: you do not have a clue!
So be prepared and eat all your cheese at breakfast. And remember: say cheese every day! 🙂

Why the Dutch love their white gold

Dutch asparagus healthy

Do you know that in Holland we have white gold in the ground? And that eating this white gold improves your libido? That is why the Dutch love eating asparagus.

Dutch asparagus are harvested in the south part in Holland. In Noord Brabant and Limburg the sandy soil is very suitable for growing this delicacy. We eat this delicious food only in Spring. It is a typical seasonal product. But you can also freeze to eat them later, so do not worry about your love life even when there are no fresh asparagus!

Dutch Asparagus

 

History of aspargus

Did you know that our white asparagus are in fact Egyptian? Over 5000 years ago, the farao’s liked aspergus. They used it as vegetable, medicine and love drink.

In the late nineteenth century, the Dutch imported this vegetable to Holland. Asparagus were harvested in the sandy grounds and dunes of Bergen op Zoom in Brabant. Labour was very cheap, and soon it became a delicacy. Never thought that Holland was a cheap labour country like India, right?

In 20th century, Limburg also cultivated the white asparagus. The Limburg asparagus are famous for the special, delicate taste.

 

Healthy food

Eating aspargus is healthy for you. Asparagus is low in calories and contains many vitamines and minerals. B6, C, E and K, iron: it is all-in there and makes you strong! Traditionally, we eat them from the 1st week of april until June

 

How to peel asparagus

 

Typical Dutch asparagus

Many Dutch use also the nickname “the queen of darkness” when they talk about cultivated white asparagus.
In Holland, asparagus are not exposed to sunlight. They stay underground and remain white. And underground, in the darkness, there you can find our queens of darkness. We cut and dig them up carefully, these treasuries from the soil.

Of course, you can buy them at the supermarket or at the grocery shop. But it is really fun to go to Limburgs countryside and buy this great food directly at the farmer.

In restaurants you can eat asparagus as fine dining. At home, we eat them as typical Dutchmen: fresh, no nonsense and straight forward. Simply cook them, add some eggs and ham, or combine with potatoes and Hollandaise sauce: it is like heaven on earth!

Asparagus dinner

And now you also know our hidden secret, right? After dinner, the asparagus after party gives really added value when you meet your queen of darkness!