Ciao Readers! (Or should I say “Hallo,” as we are in The Netherlands…) And Happy (early) Birthday Ryn!
Today I am taking you on a tasting tour through the Albert Cuyp Market, a century-old street market running for several blocks throughout the De Pijp neighborhood in Amsterdam. Albert Cuyp is up and running every day except Sunday, and sells everything you can think of – from books to clothes to all sorts of local and exotic foods. (Since I have a broken toe, we’ll get to the market via one of the many handy electric trams that run throughout Amsterdam.)
To be honest with you, I can’t really tell you much about what the market sells other than food, as we arrived with empty stomachs and the intention of sampling the local specialties. As most of the local specialties seem to come in the form of fried foods (there’s an entire wall of fried food vending slots at the train station!), we felt super healthy by starting off at the herring stand. In the picture below, Steve is being served the traditional herring on a bun by Puck Jansen, the owner of the “Vlaardingse Haring Handel,” who has been working at the market for 44 years! (Okay, confession time – maybe after reading the name of the stand you will forgive me when I admit I did not even attempt to speak Dutch while in Amsterdam.) The herring was delicious and eased the guilt of the fried poffertjes that followed (little pancake-like fried dough bathing in butter and powdered sugar), as well as the requisite frites (seriously, it’s a legal requirement that you eat fries in Amsterdam – well, maybe not, but it is a crime if you don’t!). Having about as much fried deliciousness as we could stand, we decided to pass on the stroopwafels for the time being (thin waffles baked with a caramel-like syrup in the middle), as there were some in the kitchen in our B&B in case we felt the need (we did, later – they were good, but I bet the fresh ones are even better).
While our craving for local treats was sated, we wandered the market still, encountering just a few more things we (okay, I) couldn’t pass up. In the wonderful nut and candy stand pictured below I was surprised and delighted to discover…roasted pecans! Well, as you may recall from a previous post, pecans are among the groceries of my dreams, so of course I had to treat myself to a small bag (and they were roast-y and pecan-y and yummy!). The final culinary triumph happened at the spice market. There were so many spices hanging in bags on the many racks that I was certain that I could find ground cloves (an ingredient I’ve been missing and searching for here). The only problem was everything was labeled in Dutch and I couldn’t seem to find anyone to help me. Undeterred, I started smelling all of the bags that looked liked they might be cloves. I found one that I thought smelled right – “Kruidnagel Poeder” (which I confirmed later is indeed cloves). (Dutch is seriously a difficult language!)
I wish I could add smell and taste to these photos to give you an even better sense of the scrumptiousness to be had….