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


tijen said...

I like the things you share Paola. I wish I could be in Holland at this time of the year to celebrate the wonderful foods of your country. Best wishes,

Andreea said...

oh that sounds liek a great festival. i didn't know you have one in holland. and no one can beat aged dutch cheese :)

Anonymous said...


Sylvia said...

What great post Paola.I love cheese and the only Holland's cheese that I know are the Gouda ,Edam and Masdam (my favorite).Is good to learn more about Holland´s food and wine.That I don´t have idea... that country produces wine? And good wine I guess. Beautiful paint.Who is the painter? I love the game of light and shades.Remains me Rembrandt...the glasses near the cheese are almost lost in the shadow. And beautiful your photo too,using the same technique.

Paola said...

Thanks for the comments all!

Sylvia, I also had no idea that Dutch wine existed but it appears the first grape plants were planted in the late 90's! The wine was pretty good indeed!

About the painting: It is the work of Floris C. van Dyck and dates from aproximately 1615. The name of the work is "Still-Life with Cheeses". There is a world of knowledge to be gained from these paintings. Everyhting from the composition, to the objects, to the subject ( which is not really what is seems!) is quite interesting. You mentioned the glass. The Dutch are true masters at depicting this material, one of the hardest to paint. It's even more impressive when you see these paintings in real life. Did you notice that plate right on the edge? It really makes me want to reach into the painting and push it away before it falls off!
Thanks for the comment about the photo! I just took it spontaneously. One time I took a picture of a girl making a salad by a window and everyone claimed they saw some Vermeer in it! Perhaps the Dutch masters sometimes click away and not me! ;)


Gloria said...

I like how you make the blog Paola and you share the things, is similar how I think to make my blog (only I have a moth)I love Holanda, and theses cheeses!!!!so nice blog.xxxxxGloria

Gloria said...

I like your blog Paola and how you talk about Holland I add to my favorites blog. Gloria

Paola said...

Gracias Gloria!

Tu blog tambien me parecio muy bonito. Lo voy a poner en mi lista. Yo soy nacida en Colombia pero criada en Los Estados Unidos. Me encantan las recetas Latinas.



Anonymous said...

Here is something to think about: the French have 1.800 official varieties of cheese ... and cheese doesn't even come first when we think of French food.

I adore the Netherlands. But its food scene, just like its weather, is absolutely miserable. Having a handful of great dishes / products does not make a food culture.

Paola said...

Hi, thanks for your comments. To me, a food culture is defined by what people eat and why they eat what they do. A food culture does not only have to do with the amount of products any given country produces or how well-known they are around the world. A food culture is defined in the history of what a nation eats and what role food plays in that society as a whole. If you look at old Dutch cookbooks, De Verstandige Kok, from 1669, being a wonderful example, you can very clearly see what I meant when I said that The Netherlands has a rich food tradition. Actually, it’s the same everywhere around the world and I find it very unfortunate that there are still some huge misunderstandings about what classifies a food culture.
Just a note, please be so kind as to leave your name when making any future comments.