Here I am, in Amsterdam, preparing to run half a marathon so eating myself silly is not one of the options on the table. I did, however, begin the day with a pate and hazelnut sandwich out of a grocery store that got me thinking about how great bread, great meats and great cheeses give Europeans an unfair advantage on the sandwich front. Even a supermarket counter managed to impress a fussy foodie.
My first real bite of Dutch came at an airy, stylish modern Fitch & Shui Brasserie. All glass and metal tube, it offered on its menu an intriguing option - Hollands bitterballen. Since it was the only certified authentic dutch item on the menu (the others had names like Tallegio and tonno plastered all over) I had little choice but to order it. The waitress tried, with very limited success to explain what it was; all I gathered was that it was very good. And here's what landed up.
Bitterballen, it seems is the thing that foodies dream of in their dreams - popular in Holland but rarely found anywhere that Dutchmen fear to tread. With a crunchy shell hiding a squishy innard with bits of meat, it is indeed quite nice. Not I-want-to-get-on-the-next-plane nice, but certainly nice enough to be my first Dutch treat.