On my recent visit to Amsterdam, I was taken to marqt, a rather fancy new food store.
I was not too certain if the focus was on organic or just good quality, but the place looks amazing and has the air of a chic boutique with concrete floors and walls and bright minimalist lighting. Food is displayed on the shelves in a manner approaching art (check out the rather cool stripped-back design on the milk) and I would defy anyone to go in and come out empty-handed. Much hipper and fresher than Wholefoods or Planet Organic, but certainly not cheap. If you are around the Rembrandtplein area, I really recommend popping in for just about anything your heart desires, from fantastic fresh bread (observe the baker actually kneading the bread!), fish, fruit, cheeses etc. Postcards are fine, but a little edible gift for the nearest and dearest really shows you were thinking of them, and so much of a culture is linked to its food!
But my mission is food, not (just) style, and after sampling the bread on offer, I did indeed buy a few things. My absolute favourite is the Groningerkoek, a sort of teacake made from syrup, rye flour and spices. It’s a little like German Christmas biscuits and utterly delicious, and I am just sad that I was not able to bring a second one back to London.
I also have pink muisjes, literally “little mice”, which are aniseed balls. These are put on buttered rusks and served when a baby is born, so I will produce these as part of my contribution to an upcoming baby naming day here in London. It is supposed to be in a garden, assuming the weather perks up. Fingers crossed!
Finally, I picked up some anijsblokjes, sweet aniseed blocks that are dissolved in warm milk, which I imagine makes for a comforting drink when it is chilly outside, and some hagelslag, which are real chocolate sprinkles for eating on bread.
As they say in the Netherlands – Lekker!
(and in case you are wondering – I had my fill of gouda on the rest of the trip, so I wasn’t feeling the need to buy more here!).