A pain au chocolat is not your average bread roll. Just like a pain au raisin, chausson aux pommes (apple turnover) and a croissant it’s a member of the large family of viennoiseries. These baked goods are made from a yeast-leavened dough in a manner similar to bread, or from puff pastry, but with added ingredients (particularly eggs, butter, milk, cream and sugar) giving them a richer, sweeter character, approaching that of pastry. The dough is often laminated. This type of dough was invented by a pastry chef from Vienna and not one from Paris or any other French city. However the French did succeed in bringing this dough to perfection. Proof thereof I found once again when I was in Paris earlier this month and bough a super croissant aux amandes and pain au chocolat at Le Pétrin Médiéval (31 rue Henri Monnier). In Amsterdam I buy my pain au chocolat at bakery Westerbos, my favorite bakery in Amsterdam-West: service with a smile, even when customers are cueing on Saturday mornings, excellent bread (try the Hugo) and pastry. The pain au chocolat of Westerbos has almonds on top for a crunchy effect, inside you’ll find mini bars of black chocolate. The pastry is light as a feather and somewhat sweet. A chérie to cherish!
Pain au chocolat, €1.90
Hugo de Grootplein 4, West (Westerpark)
+31 (0)20 684 5512
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 7.30am-6pm, Saturday 7.30am-4pm
Every time I visit the Kanarie Club I order the same dish. Look at this picture. Can you blame me? These juicy red heads sprinkled with almonds are floating on a lake of ricotta, situated on top of wentelteefjes, the Dutch version of French toast, drenched in lavender syrup. The taste of this dish is as good as its looks. The pretty cool interior and happy vibes of the club adding to the ultimate ‘Zen feeling’. This club for ‘free minded birds’ is owned by Tsibo Lin, Chong Chu, Zing-Kyn Cheung en Rakish Gangapersad, the founding fathers of the neighbouring Foodhallen If you can’t stand the heat of this food market anymore, do visit this club. It’s an ideal spot to have a drink or to dine before going to the movies at the Filmhallen. You need to get some work done? Relaxed free work places in abundance, the club even has some lockers to leave your laptop while you walk around. An oasis amidst one the most vibrant quarters of Amsterdam.
Wentelteefjes with ricotta and strawberries, €7.50
Bellamyplein 51, West
+31 (0) 20 218 17 75
Opening hours: Monday-Thursday 8.30am-11pm, Friday 8.30am-2.30am, Saturday9.30am-2.30am, Sunday 9.30am-11pm
Yes, got it! I have been searching quite a long time for the ultimate Amsterdam florentine. A florentine is a French biscuit made of nuts, candied fruit, honey and chocolate. These biscuits ought to be medium thin and real crispy. It’s not the easiest cookie to bake, but the chocolate artists of Van Soest master the art of making florentines. Almonds rule in their delicate cookies and as a bonus they dip their creations in pure chocolate. We are talking about chocolate-nut chips extraordinaire, ladies and gentlemen. Bye bye diet plans for 2016. If you love chocolates – and who doesn’t? – Van Soest is a fatally attractive place. All the chocolate creations are home-made. You can even see the chocolatiers at work. They work with the best ingredients and according to family recipes. Get lost in a world of chocolate truffles, bonbons and chocolate bars – don’t miss the one with orange and pink pepper.
Florentines, 6, €3.55
Utrechtsestraat 143, City Centre
+31 (0) 20 620 80 25
Opening hours: Monday noon-6pm, Tuesday-Saturday 9.30am-6pm
Simple ingredients, superb taste: the tarta de Santiago of Pacomer! This refined, soft and fruity pie is made from almonds, eggs, lemon zest, sugar and (some) cinnamon. The tarta is named after the apostle Saint James a.k.a. Santiago. You’ll find it in every bakery of Santiago de Compostela, the city where Santiago’s relics are believed to be buried. This city marks the end of the Way of St. James, the famous pilgrimage. Francisco, the owner of Pacomer, buys this pie (and his bread, pan Gallego) at ‘the best bakery of Santiago’. Madrileño Francisco travels around Spain to find culinary gems for his cosy shop near the Albert Cuyp market. ‘Chorizo from León, queso manchego de La Mancha, sobrassada, a sausage born on the isle of Mallorca. Finding good food is my passion.’ That explains why he is nicknamed Paco, derived from para comer, Spanish for ‘ready to eat’. He does some good cooking himself too. Paco sells homemade tapas and meals. His signature dish, paella, is served on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Try a portion of this rice dish with seafood at home or in the shop.
Tarta de Santiago, one piece, €2.50
Gerard Doustraat 66, Zuid (De Pijp)
+31 (0) 20 471 13 23
Opening hours: Monday noon-6pm, Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6pm