It’s the Ascension day long weekend, and the Rollende Keukens has been in full effect. Even bigger than last year, and the weather has been fantastic, meaning that the Mister Kitchens guys have actually been posting that the grounds are full, and asking people to consider going to a different park to enjoy the sunshine. Of course, I got in early, and I got in fast, so I have a lot of photos and food to share with you all.
It’s only fair to start with The Mister Kitchen Crew, without whom none of this would be possible. The Rollende Keukens, and the Rabarcello are their brain children. They always have a tasting menu, and there is always plenty of rhubarb spirit on display. This year, they also offered excellent spit roasts to take away too. I think this is a great strategy, as it means that people can choose to graze, or have the usual sit down three course menu.
This year there seemed to be a lot of stalls serving duck, some were duck devotees, and sold nothing else; and some had duck as a highlight. Sadly, none of it seemed to be organic, and none was declared free range, or I would have been tucking in.
Luckily, there were plenty of stalls that offered foods for the welfare-fussy eater, including many vegetarian vegan, and organic meat options, including this excellent hot dog from Brandt and Levie, made with blood sausage, and pancetta, served with a relish of mustard and apple compote.
There was also a couple of stalls doing game. This one, called Game from the Wild, is right up my street, and the merguez was succulent, well-spiced and tasty. I’d eat this again. My friend from the Morning Claret had a different experience with the Wild Boar kebab, so I’d stick with the sausage if I were you!
We arrived on the first visit really hungry, and these dim sum nicely took the edge off, so that we had the chance to go around and scout out the next tasty treat. I didn’t get too much sauce with these, which was a relief, because it was pretty strong stuff.
Among many expats that I know, there is a bit of a gentle joke about how much the Dutch like white food. White asparagus, chopped boiled egg, lightly coloured ham and bechamel is a delicacy here. This original take on the dish from the Gastrovan has made me suddenly look at white food in a different light. The asparagus was pickled in something boozy, and the asparagus cream was definitely my try-at-home inspiration of this year’s festival.
There were a lot of oyster bars this year, one of which had a wide variety of oysters to pick and choose from. We lined up here, and while the Big Guy was queuing, I went to the sister stand, Zee en Zuil, because I’d spied razor clams, which I can never resist. They come barbecued with a medley of shellfish, cooked in a white wine, garlic parsley and rose harissa broth. It is the shellfish future.
As always, the attention to detail on the stands was incredible. I particularly liked the herb table from bloempie, who I reviewed in 2012. I almost wish that I could justify building one of these myself.
Every stall holder that I talked to was really personable, and the sun was shining. All around people were having a great time. Some stalls spoke louder to me than others, however!
One of the most popular stalls, and also one of the most novel, was the Microbar, who were serving insects. Meal worm spring rolls, and cricket lollipops were on the menu. Given that all of the futurists are claiming that insects will be an important global food source in a world with 12 Bn inhabitants, we all need to get a bit more used to the thought of eating insects. With that in mind, I was determined to give it a go. I am not a big fan of slimy foods, like okra, so I decided that the meal worms were a step too far. The cricket was crunchy, and mostly tasted of the chilli and lemon zest caramel that they had been coated in, so that was much more to my taste. A nice little finish to yet another tasty weekend.
Rollende Keukens left us as full as the Westergasterrien has been all weekend, but that isn’t because of the weather!
Rollende Keukens is held at the Westergasterrein, Amsterdam every Hemelvaart Public Holiday weekend. Maybe I’ll see you there next year?