When you think of tasty European cuisine, you might picture authentic Italian pizza and pasta smothered in rich, savory sauces, or a curated selection of creamy French fromage. But if you travel just a bit north to the Netherlands, you’ll find a diverse and delicious foodscape awaiting you that might have slipped under your radar. Luckily, you don’t have to fly across the ocean to immerse yourself in a Dutch cultural culinary experience. You can bring the delights of an authentic meal to your home by hosting a Dutch dinner party. Dutch cuisine is known for being wholesome, clean and hearty, meaning that your guests will likely leave with full stomachs and a satisfied smile.
Side note: this is not to be confused with “going Dutch” on a meal, which means that all members of one party at a restaurant, for example, split the bill among them. No, this is a guide to how to throw an actual three-course Dutch dinner party that brings the culinary spirit of the Netherlands to you!
Recipe For A Delightful Dutch Dinner Party
Advocaat is a Dutch liqueur made from egg, sugar, spices and a dark liquor-like brandy. It’s often combined with other ingredients to make mixed drinks like the Snowball, a cocktail of advocaat and lemonade or lemon-lime soda that’s popular in the United Kingdom and in the Netherlands (especially when it’s topped with whipped cream). Sometimes, it’s even added on top of desserts. The drink is delicious sipped (or spoon-fed) on its own at any time of year, and your guests will enjoy the rich, custardy texture and flavor, especially during — but not limited to — the holiday season.
Legend has it that the name advocaat, which means “lawyer” in Dutch and is a shortened version of the word advocaatenborrel (or, roughly, “lawyers’ drink”), was adopted because the drink is a good lubricant for the throat, and thus good for jobs that involve a lot of public speaking, like lawyering.
The classic Dutch deep-fried croquettes known as bitterballen are made of a mixture of meats like chopped or minced beef, veal or chicken, which are then mixed with beef broth, butter, flour, spices and sometimes vegetables. This creates a meaty gravy that’s coated in crispy breadcrumbs, fried and served with mustard. They’re sure to be a hit at a Dutch dinner party!
Though these bite-sized balls are less typical inside the home than they used to be — they’re typically found today as bar snacks — they’re still a favorite of the Dutch and an icon of the country’s cuisine.
Here’s a recipe for tasty Dutch bitterballen.
Main Course: Stamppot
Stamppot is a traditional Dutch dish dating back to the 17th century that’s a combo of mashed potatoes and some sort of vegetable, like sauerkraut — called zuurkool in Dutch — or kale, endive, spinach, onions or turnip greens. Sometimes stamppot is topped with meat like rookworst, or smoked sausage, but there’s no right way to make this comfort dish.
The food is among the oldest and most popular in the Dutch diet. It’s hearty and delicious, and a great anchor to any Dutch dinner party menu.
Appeltaart, also sometimes called appelgebak, is a deep-dish apple pie with a pastry top and bottom, unlike open-air traditional French tarts. It’s been a staple of the Dutch diet for centuries, with its roots going all the way back to the Middle Ages. The pastry contains thick slices of apples and often currants or raisins mixed with sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, and sometimes rum or brandy.
It’s typically served with coffee or a dollop of whipped cream, meaning it will pair nicely with the advocaat you’re serving. Check out this recipe to make a mouthwatering appeltaart that will be the perfect finale to your Dutch dinner party.
Key Dutch Phrases
I’m hungry — Ik heb honger (lit. ‘I have hunger.’)
I’m full — Ik zit vol
Please — Alstublieft
Thank you — Dank u
You’re welcome — Graag gedaan
Enjoy your meal — Eet smakelijk!
It’s tasty! — Het is lekker!