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New Country, new everything - starting all over again

By August 14, 2014 , ,

The one thing about moving to another country is the things you would normally take for granted at home.

You spend years establishing the many and various things that you are happy with from service providers to the brand of soap you use. With the move you don’t think about those things, it’s all about finding somewhere to live, packing, moving and then unpacking.

So for me the most important thing is where will I get my meat/poultry/game/fish/veg from. In the UK I’ve been used to knowing exactly where said provenance is from as the people I buy my various meats from were the same people who farm and kill said various meats. The people who sell me veg are the people who grow it themselves. So I know that my food has had a good life and been well looked prior to ending up on my plate.

Because I enjoy cooking so much, I hate not knowing where my food is coming from. Having spoken to a few people about food in the Netherlands, apparently until recently provenance was not something people cared much about. Food was food and as long as the end product tasted good then it didn't matter where it came from. Things are starting to change now for the better, which is good.

It’s also about knowing who the good butcher is and who is not, thankfully a local chef Norbert von Dartel (who happens to run a darn fine restaurant, Dartel) told me where he got his meat, so thankfully I didn’t have much in the way of trial and error in that department.

The one thing I have taken for granted is the range of cuts of meat available, you assume (or rather I assumed), that the same would be available elsewhere. Having spent a lot of time in France in the past it certainly was true there but not here. Where various roasting joints are widely available in many butchers and supermarkets in the UK, I haven’t seen any over here. Is it because roasting joints aren’t a big deal or just it isn’t traditional over here?As someone who likes to think they know all their cuts of meat, I encountered my first instance of where cuts don’t translate, so had an interesting time pointing to my shin in the middle of the butchers to indicate the cut of meat I was looking for. My Dutch has progressed since then, so now don't have to subject myself to pointing to my arse every time I want rump steak. The only downside ifsnot being able to get aged meat easily. I found somewhere courtesy of the Big Green Egg members day but they are located south of Rotterdam. Am waiting for Slagerij van der Zon in Leiden to build his ageing cabinet (that's what he calls it).

The one thing you won’t lack for in the Netherlands is veg or fish. I had my “kid in a sweetshop” moment when in Leiden market and was taken aback at the wealth of seafood on offer, my joy was soon extinguished when I realised that most of it is not that fresh and you're quite limited on the selection.

On the veg side I do find it amusing to see things from the UK on the shelves over here, I like buying local and in season so used to moan about everything being from Holland on the supermarket shelves, now it’s the other way around.

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