Wondering what to buy from the Netherlands for the folks back home? You could get one of those kitschy wooden shoe magnets (no judgement if that’s your thing). Or, you could wow them with one of these supermarket souvenirs!
First up, Dutch cheese! Okay, in reality, you probably can’t stuff this into your suitcase and expect it to be edible when you get home. But, it’s worth sampling some of the varieties while in country.
If you like a strong flavor and firm texture, aged Gouda is the way to go! You could buy name brands like Old Amsterdam or just look for a store brand with the words Oud Gouda. They’re just as tasty but at a fraction of the price.
Budget traveler tip: Instead of buying the cheese at touristy places like the Zaanse Schans, sample the more affordable varieties at the local grocery store.
If you only have space for one supermarket souvenir, make it stroopwaffels. I first discovered these bad boys in 2003, and I’ve been in love ever since. Stroopwaffels are yummy straight out of the bag, but they’re downright unforgettable when warm.
Make a cup of tea or coffee and set the stroopwaffel on top of the rim to catch the steam. After a few minutes, flip to warm the other side. Don’t wait too long though! Sometimes the stroopwaffel will become so soft that it can plop down into your hot and tasty beverage. Devour while hot and gooey.
This isn’t for your suitcase – it’s for enjoying in your hotel room or vacation rental while in country. Stroopwaffel ice cream can be found a most grocery stores. I’ve even seen comments online suggesting that this flavor can be found in ice cream shops across Holland. (And, uh, yeah, that container is totally empty!)
Grocery stores are the budget traveler’s place to buy souvenirs that locals would give to each other or send to relatives. For adorable Dutch tins filled with stroopwaffels, stroopkoeken, chocolate, etc., check the nearest Albert Heijn.
You might think black licorice is weird, but that’s just because you haven’t heard of Hagelslag yet! Basically, it’s chocolate sprinkles that Dutch people sprinkle on their toast. And by Dutch people I mean adults. And by toast I mean a sandwich at lunch time. Don’t believe me? Read more here.
This last one’s just for the expats or the peanut butter-obsessed or the expats obsessed with peanut butter. Peanut butter is not only cheap in the Netherlands (well, compared to Germany anyway), it also tastes a whole lot better. It’s not 100% natural, but it doesn’t have hydrogenated oils in it (at least from what my pal Google Translate says). Look for a high peanut content (aim for 90%), and chow down!
What are your favorite supermarket souvenirs from the Netherlands? Anything I missed?