Sunday, May 30, 2010

Lily-Margaret's Top 10 Sweet Spots in Amsterdam

By the time this post is published, I'll be enjoying the woods and beaches of Belgium. I wanted to share with you a recent guest post I wrote for my friend Libby's Blog 5371 Miles Away. We met during our first week after moving to Holland and have been inseparable ever since. You'll probably recognize her from many of my posts. Anyway, go check out her blog to read my section on the Top Ten Sweet Spots in Amsterdam!

I discovered this place years and years ago when I first fell in love with Amsterdam. Then, I cultured an addiction to their fantastically rich and creamy ice cream flavors when I studied at Leiden University two years ago. Now that I’ve living in Amsterdam, Australian homemade is one place that I always take my friends to. I can turn any situation into an excuse to eat their ice cream, hot cocoa, coffee, and chocolates. Their thick, fluffy waffles are a crowd pleaser. I was once in line for ages only to see the last waffle of the day go home with the woman right in front of me. Trust me that was a low moment. You can’t miss this place and most likely you’ll be able to smell their sweet concoctions from a block away. Try come of their sorbets since summer is coming. There are three conveniently located shops and no matter what flavor you pick, it's always a satisfying treat.
*Update* Unfortunately, the Amsterdam locations have been moved but it's possible to find this tasty spot in other areas of the country. 

B&B Lunch Room
Located off one of the busiest (touristy) streets in Amsterdam, this tiny café is always packed. That’s because they have fantastic muffins (plus soup, sandwiches, tea…). So far, my favorites are the banana, cheesecake, chocolate cherry and blueberry flavors. And at 2.50 euros, these hefty sized muffins are a cheep way to grab a sweet snack on the go. Try picking up a few flavors and sharing them with friends while walking down Amsterdam's famous canals. Address: Leidsestraat 44 @ the Keizersgracht intersection.

Bagels & Beans is a chain of coffee cafes located all around the Netherlands. It by far surpasses Starbucks in my book. The menu includes a variety of sweet or savory bagels, brownies, smoothies and of course tea and coffee. Try the Tuscan themed bagel or a chai tea that always hits the spot. Check their website for various locations.

De Boelhoed is an organic, vegan and vegetarian centered café with delicious dishes. But it’s their desserts that won my heart. First, I tried their banana cream pie, which has got to be one of the best banana sweets I’ve ever tried. On subsequent visits I’ve sampled their equally stellar chocolate cream pie and dense, chocolate brownie. It’s located in the Jordaan, which is an adorable area to walk around. That is, if you’re able to move after gorging on these desserts. Address: Prinsengracht 62.

I’ll always have fond memories of this café because it’s where I hunted for a spot to catch the first sunrays of spring. The winter in Amsterdam was absolutely horrid so, the shiny Sunday of the year everyone fought for a spot outside…under a blanket…next to a space heater. Sure, it was freezing but missing the sun for months is more traumatic. This café is right on the edge of the Nieuwmarkt, which opens up to sites like the red light district, IAmsterdam sign and Chinatown. Since you’ll probably be in this general area during your Amsterdam visit, why not stop for a cup of verse muntthee (fresh mint tea). At first, a visitor might mistake it for a mojito but it’s just boiling water with long pieces of fresh mint. This soothing drink goes perfect with the tiny cookie that’s usually served on the side. If you want something richer than tea, try a hot chocolate ‘met slagroom’ (with whipped cream). That’s sure to hit the spot on a chilly day. Address: Nieuwmarkt 13

On the east side of the city center, down the street from the anthropology museum is the Dappermarkt, my favorite market in Amsterdam. It’s always packed, always fresh and always has great prices. It’s a daily run world market that happens to be where I stumbled upon my cure for homesickness. I discovered a merchant selling sweet popcorn and I was quickly as it reminded me of the kettle corn from my local farmers market in Florida. The popcorn vender also sells a traditional, famous Dutch treat: the stroppwaffel. I’ve recently overcome a battle with stroopwafel addictions and now limit myself to a special freshly made bite of happiness when I show friends around. I was really hooked on this cookie made of two thin waffles with hot caramel syrup squished in the middle. For a euro, this has got to be the best sweet treat purchase in the city. And for a savory snack, get some fresh roasted corn. Just remember to visit on an empty stomach because this market is filled with other delicious, savory treats as well. Address: Dapperstraat 279
Latei is a small, two story café located just off the Nieuwmarkt on the edge of Chinatown. Inside you’ll find the walls covered with antiques and knickknacks, all of which are for sale. A must have at Latei is their enormous, homemade appletaart. If you can eat the whole slice on your own, I’d be really impressed! If apple isn’t your taste, try their brownies or lemon cheesecake. For something savory, check this place out on weekends when they have a tasty and affordable Indian menu. Address: Zeedijk 143
The chocolates at Puccini Bomboni are the kind you pause and savor. With flavors ranging from thee, apricot and lemon grass these little treats bring a big flavor sensation. My favorites include honey, pepper and ginger but I haven’t finished sampling them all just yet. I recommend taking a few friends along so you can steal a bite of theirs too! Address: Singel 184

Tart van M’n Tante is probably one of the most discussed cake shops in town. This cake shop is decorated in perfect kitschy cute style (Barbie doll cake, anyone?). It’s always packed but try to get a seat and enjoy the eccentric decorations and a yummy slice of cake or pie. My favorites include, pecan pie, carrot cake, mango cheesecake and some cake with a chocolate-hazelnut center. There’s always a variety so be prepared to make a difficult decision that will definitely end in deliciousness. Address: Ferdinand Bolstraat 10

Hidden inside an antique shop (look for the window filled with art deco lamps) is De Vredespijp café. I first referred to their citrus-berry cheesecake as the ultimate piegasm. And by ultimate I mean a wave of happiness rushed over my body on the first bite. My mouth was watering for more as I raced my friend to finish off the slice. They say you never forget your first piegasm and that phase is aptly put for the cheesecake at De Vredespijp. Honorably mentions are extended to the apple crumble (fresh cinnamon + currants+ almond slivers, yes please!) and their decadent hot chocolate, which is even more heavenly with a shot of hazelnut to make a sensational nutella-esque drink. After my first visit here I probably went into some kind of sugar coma and promptly needed to nap. So when you go, share the experience with friends and heed my warning to take that 2nd impulsively ordered slice in a to-go bag. 
Address: Eerste van der Helststraat 11a

So, there you have it. My Top 10 favorite places to satisfy your sweet tooth in Amsterdam. Here's the map so you can set out on your own dessert adventure in Amsterdam, just click the blue link.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post!
    By the way, if you have any intentions of visiting Red Light District, you should check out The Amsterdam Red Light Guide