Cheeseheads and Jenever [A Taste of Amsterdam]

absintheOne of the great things about traveling with my old friend Kaitlin through Amsterdam (aside from the fact that I love her, obviously), is that she understands hangry (hungry + angry, totally a real thing and I’m not pleasant to be around if I’m in such a state).  So we happily snacked on nuts and fruit as we wandered around the city and saved our pennies for a few quality meals, a cheese tasting and several Dutch drinks… Here are a few places that we were big fans of — I’m no Amsterdam expert, but if you’re in town I think it is worth checking these ones out! 

Hans among the many (antique) bottles at Wynand Fockink.
Hans among the many (antique) bottles at Wynand Fockink.

Step back in time in the small Proeflokaal Wynand Fockink — a 300 year old distillery specializing in liqueur and jenevers.  There are tours of the distillery and workshops offered, but we only managed to get to the bar in the tasting room (twice!).  This gem is only open until 9pm, so come early for an evening drink. The barmen are super friendly and will let you taste one of the many flavours before you pick your drink, just make sure you remember to take your first sip (more like a hands-free slurp) at the bar…

Look Ma, no hands!
Look Ma, no hands!

We became certified cheeseheads at Reypenaer Cheese. The cheeses are paired with different wines for tasting and after learning a bit about the historic family business we were guided through the hour-long tasting; it was delicious and we had a great time. (My preferred kind of education, too!)cheese

Conveniently, the cheese shop is located right beside a delicious chocolate shop.  We were drawn back for a return visit to the lovely Pucinni Bomboni –whether you’re a chocolate purist or you’re looking to try flavours like thyme, pepper, and rhubarb, this is the spot!puccini bomboniThere is no shortage of good beer in Amsterdam. Try In de Wildeman for 18 beers on tap, 250 more choices in the bottle and a bar packed with locals and tourists alike.  We liked the beer at Café Belgique but I think the coolest part might have been the DJ (she seemed like the coolest girl ever?) and the awesome music filling the cozy little bar.  The Jordaan neighbourhood was one of our favourite places to walk through during our Amsterdam stay, and is also where we found Cafe Thijssen.  A chill, spacious bar, with more great music, delicious snacks and local beer. photo 2 (1)On our last morning, we sought out Pancakes! Amsterdam and were thrilled with our brunch. It seems silly to say that a place seemed very “Dutch”, but with all these places we were happy to see that there were locals (or people we are pretty sure were from Holland, at least!) enjoying time there as well.  I would definitely return to Amsterdam, and hope that I will have the chance to discover more delicious spots — are there any hidden gems you could recommend??

So pleased with our pancakes!
So pleased with our pancakes!

And yes, we ate fries along the Damrak…twice. frits





  1. If you go to Oudemanhuispoort ( near Rembrandtsquare ), there are some university buildings there and in a narrow street there is a great great bakery. You can watch as they make the cakes, bread and other stuff. Love it!

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