Amsterdam in the Winter: Food for thought and warmth

When in Amsterdam... - Blogged

When in Amsterdam and the east wind blows in winter the city gets cold, very cold. It is that time of the year again, Winter. There are many good things about winter in Amsterdam. The city is not so busy, you can go ice skating and walking along the canals reveals the architecture of this great northern European capital.

Through shared struggle comes identity. Winter in Amsterdam at times can be a struggle and food brings people together and creates an identity, Dutch Cuisine. In Winter Dutch Food comes into its own.

photo taken from La buena vida a food store in the Hague



The Dutch are not known for their cuisine, something that their southern cousins in Belgium consistently remind them.

If you are in Amsterdam during winter don't lament the cold, embrace it. Food will be your savior. There is no better time of the year to enjoy good old fashioned Dutch food.

1. Stampot (stamp in a pot)

This is a winter classic. Everything is stamped/mashed together in a pot - makes sense, yes? Normally mashed vegetables with gravy and a boiled sausage.

There are many versions of this of Stamppot:
- Hutspot has onions, carrots and potatoes mashed together.
- Boerenkool, translated as farmers cabbage, but in English Kale. This is mixed into the mashed potato at the end of the cooking and mashing process.
- Zuurkool Mashed potato with sauerkraut
- Andivie stampot: the same as Boerenkool but instead of using Kale, endive is used.

Bacon bits are a popular addition but the dish is limited only by your imagination.

photo of Zuurkool by blog Kattebelletje


Karin Engelbrecht from About.com Dutch Food made an Asian inspired Stamppot with bok choi (an Asian cabbage), cashew nuts and shitake mushrooms.

The secret is always in the sauce. Plenty of sauce is needed.

2. Erwtensoep (pea soup)

Similar to the English pea and ham soup the Dutch have been at lengths to explain the difference. First a traditional Erwtensoup must be cooked slowly over night on a very low heat. Vegetarian versions can be found but normally there is pork hock and sausage in this thick soup. It is perfect after ice skating.

3. Gehaktbal (meat ball)

 A good Dutch meatball will quickly make you forget the cold. Normally served with potatoes and gravy you can also have a sandwich of meatball. If your into meat, this is a show stopper. Dutch meatball is 5 times the size of a Swedish meatball normally around 100grams. Every house has its own recipe but normally there is mixed spice and a toasted bread mixed into the ball.Wednesday is traditionally meatball day. Yes, that's right a whole day attributed to a meatball.

Picture taken from an Australian Food Blog


4.Oliebollen (oil balls)

It doesn't sound healthy and it isn't. The Oliebollen is a Dutch donut without the hole. Amsterdam's squares and train stations are filled with Oliebollen stands during winter. If your waiting for the train or tram because it is to cold to bike this is a perfect treat. Freshly cooked and sprinkled with icing sugar a perfect snack to ward off the east wind.

These also come in many varieties some are stuffed with currents (krentenbollen) or apple.

5. Chocomelk (chocolate milk)

A warm cup of chocomelk goes a long way in winter. The famous brand chocomel originating out of Friesland, a northern province of the Netherlands, is distributed widely in the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. This Dutch favourite is served in almost every business from Cannabis Coffeeshop to high end restaurant.
photo taken from blog: Almost barefoot farm girls



5. Mullwijn (mull wine)

Similar to the German and Scandinavian versions. Although a Swedish friend said the Dutch version was nothing like the 'great' Swedish winter wine. Warmed red wine with herbs, warms you to your very toes. Rembrandtplein, the Dam and Leidseplein are popular places to grab a warm red wine.

Here is a list of highly recommended Authentic Dutch restaurants in Amsterdam to enjoy. Click on the links to their websites.

When In Amsterdam....rug up and enjoy!