Every winter I look forward to the Kerstmarkt, or Christmas Market, in Antwerp. As an American, it is still such a new, exciting experience because we don’t have anything like it – or at least not in Georgia!
Luckily I was able to see Christina one more time before she headed back to the States. It doesn’t matter where we are – America, the Netherlands, Belgium – nothing beats a girls’ day. This time we were in Amsterdam!
The past few years we’ve been taking turns hosting Easter. This year Barbara invited us out to Tilburg for a delicious brunch and a walk amongst the more than 10,000 year old dunes!
Two of our best friends live in Rotterdam, so going to visit Chris and Hannah is also a great excuse to see a bit more of the city!
I’ve said it before, but I’m so happy my best friend is also married to a Dutch guy! This means that from now on she will be headed this way on a fairly regular basis to visit Rafaël’s family. The first being now to celebrate the wedding in the Netherlands with Dutch family and friends.
In Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, and France, late April to late June is white asparagus season. During this period I always try to eat as much white asparagus as possible – we’ve already had them 4 times! Compared to green asparagus, the white ones are more tender and less bitter. Normally Koen and I always eat them the Dutch way, with Hollandais sauce, ham, smoked salmon and a boiled egg. This season we’ve been experimenting. A few tips from Jeroen Meus to keep in mind when preparing asparagus:
- Poke the bottom of the asparagus with your thumbnail; if moisture comes, they’re fresh
- Rub the asparagus together; if they make a squeaky sound, they’re fresh
- Rather than cutting the end off, break it off with your hands; that way you don’t accidentally cut off any of the tender asparagus
Koen and I celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Roosendaal, first at his Aunt Maartje and Uncle Sjaak’s house and then at the Brörmann house for Christmas. Unfortunately Nikki, Brigiet, and Sofie could not make it to Roosendaal to celebrate with us – Nikki and Brigiet were in Friesland and Sofie was surfing in Spain! Christmas Eve, we all made special dishes – Koen and I made two types of meatballs – and enjoyed an evening with lots of laughter and delicious food. The next day began with Christmas brunch. The entire afternoon we took turns in the kitchen preparing for dinner. I made macarons for the first time! Oma joined us for our delicious dinner which included a game where we guess what Dook is thinking. Koen and I were the winners guessing Roy Donder’s huispak and Oma’s pearl necklace! After dinner we facetimed my family in the States where they were also enjoying Christmas dinner! Also, special thank you to Barbara for the beautiful photos from Christmas!
Now that it’s almost Christmas, I realized I still need to share my photos from Sinterklaas! In case you don’t remember from last year, the “surprises” are homemade gifts tailored to the likes and hobbies of the person whose name you’ve drawn. This year I drew Dook, Koen’s dad. Because Dook is the biggest wine lover I know, my surprise had to do with wine. I fingerpainted a map of the world, then created a pathway through the major wine countries. Starting in California, Dook had to answer questions about wine to move forward. After successfully completing the game Dook was able to open his gift!
This my last May travel post! At the end of my parents’ visit, they decided to spend a couple of days in Amsterdam. Because I had the day off and my parents had a lot of luggage, I took the train with them and spent a few hours enjoying the beautiful weather and a few sites in Amsterdam with my Mom and Dad. I have always considered Amsterdam one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever visited, so I loved being able to walk along the canals, buy tulips, and eat poffertjes with my parents!
At the end of my parents’ visit in May, we had to visit Arie and Petra! After eating a delicious lunch, we were surprised with a trip to Gouda! I think most Americans know Gouda because of the cheese with the same name, but Gouda is also famous for its stroopwafels, a particular favorite of my dad’s and mine. While in Gouda, we made our own stroopwafels! What a wonderful, wonderful day full of surprises and treats!