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VACATION: VISITING THE FARMERS’ MARKETS

Last year we went to Amsterdam and I did three posts about food (which can be seen here, here, and here). We went there again in October and – surprise – we continued to eat. This time we did a lot more cooking in our apartment, partly to save money and partly to enjoy the really wonderful produce and ingredients available there.

We learned from the owner of an antique shop that The Netherlands has an enormous food-growing area near Den Haag (The Hague) and in fact supplies a lot of food to Europe.  You wouldn’t think so – I mean, it freezes in a serious way in the Netherlands – but they have developed some pretty efficient greenhouse techniques so even in the dead of winter it’s easy to get delicate produce like fresh mint (a staple in virtually every cafe for hot mint tea) and tomatoes (homemade tomato soup is hugely popular).

Our rented apartment sat a block from the Westerstraat Market and three blocks from the Lindengracht Market/Noorderkerk Market, so twice a week we got to prowl around and look at fresh produce, breads, cheeses, pasta, fish, sausages, poultry, and a lot of other wonderful foods. In addition, conveniently around the corner were two good supermarkets, an organic/gourmet store, and a daily produce stand.

This was the first time we visited in autumn, and the markets had some differences.

Bread and cheese are huge staples in the Netherlands so it’s not a surprise that they make more kinds of bread than anyone can imagine, primarily whole-grain but also some white breads – nothing soft and spongy like in the US, though. Specialty types are also popular, like pizza bread, olive bread, cheese bread, as well as sweet breads like raisin, fig, etc.

bread at street market

bread in display

This doesn’t even begin to show the many, many kinds of cheeses available. The cheesemongers will always happily give you a taste.

cheeses

Fresh pasta.

fresh pasta for sale

Since autumn was here, we saw a lot more emphasis on winter produce.

hazelnuts

lots of bread

Enormous multi-colored carrots.

multicolor carrots

And more mushrooms – wild and cultivated – than I’ve ever seen here.

mushrooms

mushrooms'

Loads of fresh-cured olives and spreads.

olives

Oysters from France and England.

oysters

“Stuks” means “pieces.”

persimmons

In the US, fresh pumpkins are almost exclusively for jack o’lanterns. In Europe, they’re for eating. I bought two, each about the size of a large grapefruit, and made curried pumpkin soup.

pumpkins

We could not believe this: three boxes of raspberries for 98 Euro cents (about $1.40).

raspnberries

Since the weather was getting cooler, you could buy a cup of hot soup at the market.

soup pots

Sweet quick breads, to be purchased and eaten on the spot.

sweet breads

In front of Cafe Thijssen is s statue of Theo Thijssen, a writer and educator. On market day, he holds up kale and cabbages.

thiessen statue

Fresh tomatoes (the brownish ones were especially good).

tomatoes

veggies

More mushrooms!

wild mushrooms

Winter squash, turnips, pumpkins – these are foods for a long winter.

winter veg

More pictures of Amsterdam foods to come.

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One response »

  1. Delightful photos of a vast array of food. I’m sure both of you enjoyed it.

    Reply

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