All of you who have tried the Dutch cuisine can agree with me that the Dutch kitchen isn’t a spicy one. Though in the Colonial age the Dutch were known for their spice import, besides salt and pepper, not many spices made it to the plate. Apart from nutmeg, cinnamon and some others, we tend to refrain from using the strange stuff. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t get it.
Rather prominently present on the famous Albert Cuyp market is De Peperbol (The Pepperbulb), a Dutch version of the spice markets we see in so many countries. Bags of spices in all different colours, smells from all over the world and roots in shapes you’ve never seen before. Next to this assortment is a variety of old Dutch candy, herbal teas and fragrant oils. Step inside this little place and be surprised by the amount of seemingly useless looking kitchen equipment. It’s Chinese tea sets, traditional Dutch pottery, tajines, glasses, glittery boxes and a lot of things you didn’t expect you’d find here.
The Netherlands has changed from a traditional one-pot meal to a stew of different ethnicities and cultures. It may not have changed the Dutch cuisine but the wide availability of spices has challenged us to experiment and learn from other cultures as well.