The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

by Dr. Jessie Voigts / Dec 03, 2014 /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture

The Netherlands – a place of beauty and great food! But I’m guessing that you’re not familiar with the cuisine of the southern Netherlands. If you’re driving the southern Netherlands, you’ve a great culinary adventure in front of you. Besides the traditional Dutch dishes we all know and love, here are some regional foods to discover.

The southern Netherlands encompasses three regions: Limburg (bordering Belgium and Germany), North Brabant (bordering Belgium), and Zeeland (the coastal region). In these regions, you’ll get away from the stereotypical visions of Holland (tulips, clogs) and discover a popular destination for travelers in the know. What can you see? Well, in Zeeland, windmills and other efforts to harness nature, including the Delta Works. Through the region, you can see castles, timber-framed houses, canals in the medieval town of Hertogenbosch, modern art, monuments, parks, and vibrant cities.

 

City harbour of Goes. From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

City harbour of Goes. Wikimedia Commons: Takeaway

 

And the food – OH, the food. While a typical Dutch meal includes meat, potatoes, and vegetable, the day’s eating also incorporates sandwiches (for both breakfast and lunch), chocolate (including chocolate sprinkles and chocolate spread for the sandwiches), herring, and, of course, cheese. The Netherlands also has a very strong coffee culture.

 

Coffee! From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

Coffee in the Netherlands. Wikimedia Commons: Takeaway

 

I won’t focus here on foods available throughout the country – just regional Southern Netherlands specialties. As you explore the southern Netherlands, you’ll probably find even more regional dishes. Report back!

 

De Grotewerf Marken.  From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

De Grotewerf Marken. Wikimedia Commons: Gouwenaar, adapted by Wandering Educators

 

Cheese

The Dutch are very well known for cheese. But let’s start it right out with the famous Limburger Cheese: smelly and an acquired taste. However, now most Limburger cheese is made in Germany (whew!).

 

Limburger Cheese. From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

Limburger Cheese. Wikimedia Commons: John Sullivan

 

Bread

 

Traditional Spelt bread in Maastricht

Did you know that there’s a historic mill in Maastricht (since the 7th century!) which still makes freshly ground spelt bread? The Bischopsmolen (Bishop’s Mill) is a mill, café, and bakery that offers freshly baked breads as well as desserts (and beer!) made from spelt. Location: Stenenbrug 1-3, 6211 HP, Maastricht, Limburg.

 

The Bischopsmolen (Bishop’s Mill), Maastricht.  From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

Bischopsmolen. Photo Wikimedia Commons: Romaine

 

Vegetables

 

Southern Netherlands is known for its asparagus (both white and green).

Asparagus, Netherlands. From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

White asparagus. Wikimedia Commons: Takeaway

 

Koude Schotel is a cold salad that includes potatoes, pickles, cooked vegetables, sour onions, hard boiled eggs, shredded cooked beef (if desired), with a mayonnaise/pickle juice dressing.

Koude Schotel (cold salad).  From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

Koude Schotel. Photo flickr cc: Suzette

 

Another delicious salad is huzarensalade, which is a different kind of potato salad. Ingredients include potatoes, cooked beef, little onions, pickles, apple, cooked vegetables, hardboiled eggs, and mixed with a mayonnaise/pickle juice dressing.

Huzarensalade (Dutch potato salad).  From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

Huzarensalade. Wikimedia Commons: Takeaway

 

Seafood

 

Of course, being near the sea, you’ll find plenty of delicious seafood in Zeeland. Dishes to look for:

Zeeuwese mussels. Try them steamed or grilled with cheese!

Zeeuwese Mussels.  From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

Gegratineerde mosselen (mussels gratin) at a restaurant in Yerseke, Zeeland. The mussels are first cooked and then put under the grill with grated cheese (here Gouda cheese is used). Wikimedia Commons: Takeaway

 

Mussels in the Netherlands are traditionally served in an enamel pan. A few dipping sauces (in this photo: garlic sauce, cocktail sauce, curry sauce) are also served with the mussels. Side dishes are French fries and a salad.

Mussels with fries.  From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

Steamed mussels. Wikimedia Commons: Takeaway

 

Lobster from the Oosterschelde

A lobster in a porcelain dish, 1640-1645. Jan Fyt, oil on canvas. From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

A lobster in a porcelain dish, 1640-1645. Jan Fyt, oil on canvas. Wikimedia Commons

 

Oysters from the Oosterschelde

Oysters from the Oosterschelde.  From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

Here in the village of Yerseke, Netherlands, pacific oysters (locally called "creuse") that have been cultivated in the Oosterschelde, are kept in large oyster pits after they have been harvested, awaiting sale. The seawater in these pits is pumped in and out, simulating tidal movements. Wikimedia Commons: Takeaway

 

Meats

 

Try Zeeuws Spek, a seasoned bacon that is slowly cooked.

Zeeuws Spek. From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

Scallop wrapped with Zeeuws Spek, a Dutch bacon, and pan fried. Infused with chili pepper oil. Wikimedia Commons: Fotoos VanRobin

 

Zuurvlees – a sweet and sour stew (no longer prepared with horse meat – no worries).

Tete de veaux – a veal and mushroom tomato-based stew.

Worstenbroodjes (Brabant sausage roll) – these are traditional sausages that are baked inside dough. Delicious!

Worstenbroodjes (Brabant sausage roll) .  From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

Worstenbroodjes (Brabant sausage roll). Wikimedia Commons: Dennal

 

Sweets

 

You’ll find plenty of pastries here to tempt you!

Limburgse Vlaii is a pie that is often filled with fruit. As you may have guessed from the name, this comes from Limburg.

Real Limburgian gooseberry vlaai with meringue. From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

Real Limburgian gooseberry vlaai with meringue. Wikimedia Commons: FakirNL

 

Nonnevot – another sweet pastry from Limburg, originating from the 17th c. it’s usually associated with carnival, but can be found year-round in local bakeries. The name (translated as nun’s buttocks!) is hilarious.

Nonnevot.  From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

Nonnevot. Photo Wikimedia Commons: BK-1A

 

Moorkop is a cream puff filled with fresh whipped cream. From Brabant.

Moorkop.  From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

Moorkop. Photo flickr cc: Marina Torchiari

 

Bossche Bol is a specialty of Hertogenbosh, and is a round pastry filled with whipped cream and covered in chocolate. To eat these pastry balls, turn them upside down and take a bite!

Bossche Bol.  From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

Bossche Bol. Photo Wikimedia Commons: Franklin Heijnen

 

Zeeuwese bolus (jikkemine) – a sweet pastry that is coiled into a snail shape.

Zeeuwese bolus (jikkemine).  From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

Zeeuwese bolus (jikkemine). Photo Wikimedia Commons: Philip Bosma

 

Boterbabbelaars – a hard butterscotch candy that is globally famous (yum!).

Boterbabbelaars. From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

Boterbabbelaars. Photo Wikimedia Commons: Edo de Roo

 

Beverages

 

Local beer brands include Trappist beer from Noord-Brabant, Keiek, Brand, Gulpener, Hertog Jan, Dommelsch, and Bavaraia.

La Trappe beer, Netherlands.  From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

La Trappe beer. Wikimedia Commons: Ludovic Peron

 

There are also many wineries in the southern Netherlands (180 in the country!).

 

Wiengood Aldenborgh in Ees, Limburg.  From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

Wiengood Aldenborgh in Ees, Limburg. Photo Wikimedia Commons: Els Diederen

 

If you’re in Zeeland and are thirsty, ask for Appelaere – it’s a local apple juice.

Appelaere.  From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

Appelaere

 

What else might you discover, whilst driving through the Southern Netherlands? All kinds of goodness awaits!

 

De ingang van de oude haven van Zierikzee met de Noord- en Zuidhavenpoort.  From The Cuisine of the Southern Netherlands: A Tour

De ingang van de oude haven van Zierikzee met de Noord- en Zuidhavenpoort. Wikimedia Commons: Johann Bakker