Exploring Europe poses a delightful dilemma… to cook, or to sightsee? Today, we’re turning off the stove and looking instead at a few fun foods available in Dutch markets. My favorite find, and a favorite of my pint-sized travel companions, are stroopwafels, shown above. Stroopwafel translates as “syrup waffle,” and is really a cookie. A dense caramel filling is sandwiched between two round cookies which taste like waffled ice cream cones. Here’s the fun part: stroopwafels are designed to settle right on top of your mug of morning coffee or tea, so that the steam from your hot beverage can soften the caramel center. Brilliant. As much as I enjoy a morning scone or biscotti, I have to confess, my morning coffee has a new best friend.
Another fun find for busy mornings are pre-made pannenkoeken, Holland’s answer to the French crepe and the American flapjack. Yes, yes, I know, making a pancake is not exactly rocket science. The thing is, these premade cakes are really good! I warmed them in a microwave oven (gasp!) for a few seconds, gave them some love with a tablespoon or two of nutella, dressed them up with banana slices, and Voila! I enjoyed a lovely breakfast in the same amount of time it would take to prepare a bowl of corn flakes.
When traveling abroad, remember that exploring foreign food markets can be a whole lot of fun! Perusing grocery stores is a practical, economical way to explore other food cultures. Enjoy!