Traditional Dutch food has its beginnings in its agricultural past and features local produce such as bread, potatoes, root vegetables, greens, pork and beef products plus a variety of dairy produce including the famous Dutch cheeses. Holland has a colonial past and is evident in many common recipes, particularly Indonesian dishes. Holland borders the North Sea so a lot of fish is eaten, both smoked and fresh. The most notable fish dish is the “zoute haring” which consists of an uncooked herring, filleted while you wait and eaten with chopped onions as a snack
Breakfast and lunch are simple meals of bread, fruit and dairy products. Dinner is usually a hot meal between 6 and 7 o’clock. The classical Dutch dinner consists of one simple course: traditionally potatoes, with vegetables and meat and gravy, or a stew wherein potatoes and vegetables have been mixed. If there is an entrée, it is usually a soup. Desserts often include vla (cooked milk with custard), pudding or yoghurt.
The Dutch are famous for their dairy products and especially for their (cow milk) cheeses. The vast majority of Dutch cheeses are semi-hard or hard cheeses. The most popular variety is Gouda, not the red-coated Edam often seen in the rest of Europe.
Coffee and tea is drunk throughout the day, often served with one simple biscuit. Traditionally wine has played a minor role in Dutch cuisine, but there are many brands of beer (mainly lager) and strong alcoholic liquor.