Home to colorful windmills blowing in the wind and winding canals surrounded by fields of brightly, colored tulips, the Netherlands is a beautiful country set in northwestern Europe. Over 17 million people call this country their home and because of this, is known as one of the most densely populated countries in the world. While it may be a popular place to live, it is also a popular place to visit with the country seeing hundreds of thousands of tourists each year most likely going to visit popular monuments and landmarks throughout the Netherlands such as the Keukenhof garden, the largest public flower garden in the world or the Anne Frank house, the home in which Anne and her family hid to escape the horrors of the Second World War. The most important thing about this country though, and the reason that we’re here right now, is their delicious food. In this month’s Universal Yums box, we will trying some extremely tasty snacks from chocolate stroopwafels, black licorice candy, and cheese and raspberry biscuits making for a unique range of options as unique as the country itself.
Max and Alex Choco Stroopwafel
Chocolate Covered Spiced Waffle Cookie with Caramel Filling
The Netherlands and stroopwafels practically go together like peanut butter and jelly so of course we get to try one of these beloved waffle cookies this month. This famous cookie sandwich was first created in the 1840’s by a Dutch bakery who essentially wanted to use up his leftover breadcrumbs by binding them together with some sticky caramel. Nowadays, these waffles are a culinary treat sought after by tourists and locals alike and is an essential part about any trip to the Netherlands. The version that we will be trying this month has that beloved spiced waffle cookie and caramel filling, paired with a coating of rich, milk chocolate to spice things up a bit.
Rating – 4/5
Autodrop Bosvruchtrode Cadillacs
Berry Flavored Soft Gummy Candies
Though for some it may seem strange to see gummy candies shaped like cars, in the Netherlands these candies are so popular that they fly off the shelves in no time. The company behind this genius idea, has been making these transportation related candies since the 1960’s. While their first product was a black licorice candy shaped like a car tire, they have now expanded even further with varieties including cars, trucks, steering wheels, and tractors. These gummy cadillacs that we’ll be taste testing, are among one of the more popular candies that the Autodrop confectioners create, and are filled with cherry, strawberry, and black currant flavors.
Rating – 5/5
Potato Crisps with Paprika
These crispy and cute little teddy bear crisps are one of the best sellers in the Netherlands and with just a light sprinkling of paprika, these bears are mild enough that even children can enjoy them, who are actually the main consumers of this treat in the country. Though they may be geared towards kids, these crisps can be enjoyed by anyone no matter your age and with a soft yet crunchy texture and the smoky taste of the paprika, who could really resist them.
Rating – 4/5
Roka Gouda Mini Cheese Crispies
Puff Pastry Biscuits with Gouda Cheese
With these cheesy, puff biscuits, we will be getting a taste of one of the most important foods in the Netherlands, gouda. This famous cheese is named after the Dutch city of Gouda and amounts for roughly 50% of the country’s entire cheese consumption. Since 1395, this cheese has been sold in a particular way, with fresh cheese wheels of the gouda being transported by horse and cart and then stacked in the Gouda city hall where it was then auctioned off. The longer the cheese had been sitting and had been aged, the more competitive the bidding became. That nutty flavoring of aged gouda is highlighted in these biscuits as the cheese used to create them, has aged for over 12 months.
Rating – 4/5
Roka Cheddar and Raspberry Cheese Crispies
Puff Pastry Biscuits with Cheddar and Raspberry Pieces
Raspberries and cheese aren’t typically found paired together in a biscuit so these ones are definitely not your ordinary treats. They were first thought up and created with the intention of making it the most sophisticated cheese cracker in the country and they were a surprising success among many, with the Roka company being recognized as making some of the freshest and of the highest quality crackers. While these may seem a bit too far out of your comfort zone for some, the sharp cheddar cheese and sweet tart flavor of the raspberry, pair nicely together for a surprisingly delicious flavor combination.
Rating – 3/5
Droste Orange Pastilles
Milk Chocolate with Orange Flavoring
Fun fact about the Netherlands, the country’s people are completely obsessed with the color orange, so much so that there’s a special term used to describe this phenomenon and is known as ‘oranjekoorts’ or ‘orange fever’. The color orange represents pride in the Netherlands and is the country’s official color, all because the stripe at the top of the Netherlands flag used to be orange. This was changed once it was realized that the color would fade too quickly and so it was changed to bright red instead. To bring a little of the orange color from the Netherlands to us, we’ll be getting a taste of these orange chocolates which have been made using the same Dutch recipe since 1863.
Rating – 2/5
Gummy Licorice Flavored Candy
If there’s one thing you must know about the Netherlands, it’s that they are obsessed with licorice in all shapes and forms. Earlier in the year, Universal Yums did a survey asking customers what they wanted to see more and less of in the monthly boxes. Licorice was one of the things that people decided they could do without, but if this same survey was conducted in the Dutch country, the results would be astronomically different. People in the Netherlands can’t get enough of their beloved licorice, with a wide variety of options available such as mint licorice for fresh breath, honey licorice for sore throats, and even ocean drop, a seashell shaped licorice covered in sea salt. Another favorite from the Autodrop candy company and one that will allow us to get a taste of many different flavors of the beloved sweet, are these Zacht Wagens. They are made up of three different types of soft licorice candy including toffee flavored trucks, licorice cement trucks, and salty tank trucks.
Rating – 1/5
Spiced Cookies with Peanuts and Pearl Sugar
In Dutch, Jan Hagel, translates to ragtag which is a word used to describe something that is undesirable and ugly. This word perfectly describes these cookies because of their crumbly texture but looks can be quite deceiving as this Dutch cookie is made with cinnamon, peanuts, and pearl sugar for a delicious sweet treat. These cookies were once only popular among sailors who were known to be the ragtags of society but have now become a staple of the holiday season with recipes for these cookies being passed down from generation to generation.
Rating – 3/5
Dutch Best Pralines
Milk Chocolate Filled with Hazelnut Cream, Cereal Crispies, or Cappuccino Cream
In the Netherlands, the word ‘praline’ is used to describe any type of chocolate with a filling on the inside, which as it turns out, is pretty much all of them. Whether they are filled or not, the Dutch are known for being expert chocolate makers and have controlled the chocolate trade for over two centuries. Over the years, recipes have changed and methods used to create the chocolate have also been modified but one thing that has remained is the delicious taste many Dutch people have come to love. This month we’ll be trying the best of the best with these Dutch pralines that are filled with either cappuccino cream, hazelnut cream, or cereal crispies.
Rating – 4/5
Coffee Flavored Hard Candy
If you’re addicted to coffee and you can’t get through your day with a hot cup of the stuff, then not to worry because you’re not alone. Back in 1792, another fellow coffee addict known as Baron Hendrick Hop, was living in the Hague above a candy store. Baron was a huge coffee lover and drank multiple cups per day. Eventually Baron was advised by his doctors to kick the caffeine addiction, yet he wasn’t able to. Instead, he decided to come up with a way to enjoy his coffee without the added health risks, which is how he got the idea to ask the candy shop downstairs to create a candy for him that would satisfy his cravings. The confectioner presented Hendrick with a candy that was made from coffee, caramel, cream, and butter and called it ‘hopje’. Not only was Hendrick a huge fan of the candy, he ended up sharing it with his friends which in turn ended up making it one of the most popular candies in the 18th century and is still iconic to this day.
Rating – 4/5
Soft Milk Candy
Dairy is a huge deal in the Netherlands and they are actually quite famous for it, thanks to mud. The reasoning for this, is because over 400 years ago, the Netherlands were completely covered in water and swamp land. In the 17th century, the locals started this massive project in order to begin rebuilding their country back to it’s former glory by constructing canals and water pumping windmills so that the land could be drained out. After the reconstruction, the land was filled with luscious green grass which made it the perfect place to raise cows. Not long after though, because of the amount of cows that were brought to these new and improved lands, the Dutch soon had a lot of milk on their hands. This abundance of milk was then used to create some of the more creamy foods that the Netherlands are known for, such as cheese, pudding, yogurt, and of course these chewy milky candies.
Rating – 5/5
Hard Black Licorice with Salty Filling
At first glance, this candy may look like something simple and ordinary, but once you pop it into your mouth, you’ll soon realize that it is anything but. This salty licorice candy is popular throughout the Netherlands and as strange as it may sound to have salt in a candy, the Dutch love the strange pairing. This variety of licorice is known for being the most loved version of the salty licorice mainly due to the belief that the ‘saltier the better’, so get prepared for a truly unique experience with this sweet on the outside and salty on the inside candy.
Rating – 0/5 (safe to say that these were absolutely horrible)
Another month of Universal Yums taste testing in the bag and on to the next, where we will be trying snacks from 13 different countries around the world, in celebration of the upcoming Christmas season.
In the meantime, be sure to catch up on any previous Universal Yums boxes I’ve done in the past, and I’ll see you all here next month.
France – Greece – Belgium – Colombia – Pakistan – Turkey – The Philippines – Spain – Poland – Brazil – Taiwan – United Kingdom – Thailand – Russia – Christmas Special 2017