Amsterdam the sweet

I just returned from spending four days in Amsterdam touring wedding venues and really enjoyed the city. I have not been in Amsterdam since the summer of 2004 when I went with a friend on a Contiki tour of 10 cities in Europe, Amsterdam being one of them.  I recall being dropped off in the Red Light district and set free to roam the city for 24 hours before being shipped off on the bus to our next destination.  While a good introduction to the landscape of the city, on this trip, now seven years later, I was surprised by how large Amsterdam is and how much there is to see, do and eat beyond the confines of the Red Light district.

For the purposes of not writing a novel, I am going go break up my posts into sweet and savoury which will be easier to digest (don’t mind the pun).

Bakeries are a great way to learn about a city and Amsterdam has plenty of great shops to visit and things to sample.  In my travels, I was particularly surprised to see how many places offered afternoon tea and you know, a city that loves its afternoon tea, certainly has great baked goods to match!

I visited De Bakkerswinkel (multiple locations) by default but was content with my find for their great bread and scones.  The aesthetic of De Bakkerswinkel sort of reminds of Le Pain Quotidien, with long harvest tables, wooden/rustic display cases and beautiful breads, jams, and cakes.   I went twice for breakfast (close proximity to the hotel) and sampled eggs with a great brown sourdough bread with raisins and other seeds, an impressive selection of jams, and their muesli.

via babyccino kids

I loved De Taart Van m’n Tante, a cake shop started by Siemon de Jong and Noam Offer who craft whimsical cakes for any occasion.  If you don’t have an occasion to order one of their beautiful works of art, not to worry, there is a cafe where you can sit down for tea, cake and a little slice of heaven.

via myoutgo


via marianne lamers

I also tried something called a Gevuelde Speculaas, or Dutch Spiced Cake, which can be found at nearly any bakery in the city.  It seems that ginger, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg are a recurring spice blend used in Dutch baking, as well as almonds and almond paste.  The Gevuelde Speculaas cake or cookie (mind came in bar form) that I sampled combined both flavours very well.  To describe the it, the bar had a hard exterior of gingerbread-like cake with an almond paste in the centre and it was very tasty!!

via the boy who bakes

I was told by a friend not to leave with out sampling Stroopwafel (checked off my list), a thin layers of waffel with a syrupy-caramel in between.  Delicious!

via wikipedia

Finally, I don’t know if it is acceptable to categorize pancakes into baked goods since they are not in fact baked in an oven, but for the purposes of this post, I am.  Dutch pancakes (Pannenkoken) and mini pancakes (Poffertjes) are the best, especially the sweet ones that are covered in icing sugar!

via kitchen butterfly

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