|A perfect place for an afternoon drink|
After a few hours of work, half way the afternoon, you might get hungry and like to eat a snack which gives you enough energy to help you trough until the end of your working day. Both in Italy as well as in The Netherlands you probably choose something like a chocolate bar or some fruit. As far as I know there is nothing special or traditional in any of the two countries.
It seems more interesting to discuss the after work drinks and its snacks. Dutch people might not be as celebrating as people from other countries might be. After work they like to go home to their families, go to the gym or follow a course. But sometimes, especially in the second half of the week, they like to go out for a drink. Mostly after work with colleagues or friends ending at whatever time one feels like going home.
Starting with beers and wines but after a while your stomach starts to scream for some food, because usually dinner is served within two hours after work. Snacks will help you out. Fat snacks like olives, peanuts or potato chips seem to go very well with alcohol. This is where a Dutch tradition comes in.
Although they now have to compete with other snacks like Mexican taco chips and Vietnamese springrolls the bitterballen are still favorite in many bars. They are smaller versions of another typical Dutch fritter named kroketten. A bitterbal is a fried meat stew usually made with meat of veal or cow. The balls are covered with a bread-crumb skin to make sure they stay in shape during the frying process.
The bitterballen are served and eaten hot. Traditionally you dip them in mustard, but you can also eat them straight. There are a lot of companies making the balls but the best ones are those by Kwekkeboom or Van Dobben, the oldest kroketten factories in The Netherlands.
Of course there are also other options for people who are for example vegetarian or for those who want to pay attention to their health. There are different fried snacks filled with spiced rice, vegetables, chicken or fish available in Dutch bars and usually –like in Italy - also different kinds of nuts and chips. But in the end bitterballen are most loved by all the Dutch!
The snacks will help you through you drinking night. But for those still hungry, please visit the blog again tomorrow for the last post of this week. Tomorrow we have the chance to have dinner together.