Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Week of Taste

Starting tomorrow, The Netherlands will be celebrating De week van de smaak, or The Week of Taste- a whole week devoted to good organic, seasonal food grown right here in The Netherlands. To kick of this delicious week, I visited the food fair held at Groeneveld Castle today. Groeneveld Castle is actually an estate that dates back to the beginning of the 18th century. We often go there on Sundays to walk through the magnificent, Baroque- style parks, but today it was all about the food!
There is a huge misconception about the Dutch not knowing cuisine. Well let me assure you that The Netherlands does indeed have a rich food tradition! The Dutch have a history of enjoying good food and drink. A a matter of fact, I dare say that food porn originated in The Netherlands! Just think of the lavish arrangements of Dutch food displayed in 17th century banquets! Products such as aged cheeses, crusty breads and delectable fruit make us want to grab into these paintings and take a bite. In fact, all food painting thereafter was greatly influenced by the Dutch tradition of the 17th century. But I digress.
This afternoon I got a chance to taste some of the treasures The Netherlands has to offer. Farmers (wooden shoes and all) from all over the country gathered at the Groeneveld estate to present their quality products. I've tasted an array of fantastic cheeses, sharp and sweet mustards, juices made with the prettiest of apples, pears and currants, raisin breads, crunchy cinnamon rusks, honey and even wine! I had no idea that The Netherlands has been working on establishing a wine tradition, but today I tasted a deep red Regent Barrique and a dry, citrusy Johanniter (which I am sipping on as I write). I came home with a few jars of mustard, Dutch spice cookies in various shapes and sizes, Betuwse wine, a piece of nettled goat cheese and a load of folders about pure, honest Dutch food. Among them a few invitations to visit the Dutch vineyards next weekend. I don't think I can resist.
Here's to the Dutch and their awesome food!

For an impression, click here and have a piece of Gouda while you watch!
Kasteel Groeneveldfestival