I’m not really into the whole football thing, but I do watch the world championship matches in which the Netherlands play, to stay up to date. To make it a bit more interesting, I decided to make a Dutch snack board, with all kind of classic Dutch snacks and appetizers. On a traditional Dutch birthday party you usually arrive in the afternoon, get pie and a cup of tea first, then coffee and a bonbon, and then snacks and drinks; you leave at the end of the afternoon/beginning of the evening. Sometimes coffee/chocolate isn’t served, and sometimes (especially when the party is in the evening) there is no pie served either. In some families it is habit that the guests stay for dinner.
The snacks below are the traditional ones you could expect on a (birthday) party, although nowadays people also serve other things, for example all kinds of things inspired on other cultures, like tapas. The amount and variety of snacks served depends on how much guests there will be and if it is an informal/small party or something big.
On the board
Cubes/wedges of Dutch cheese
The world-famous Gouda cheese comes from the Netherlands. It comes in different ages, ranging from young (quite soft, creamy and mild) via matured to extra old (hard, crumbly, piquant). There are also many cheeses available that have an addition, for example cumin, clove, fenugreek or nettles; nowadays lots of cheesemakers also experiment with other flavours like pesto, herb/spice mixes and wasabi. I would suggest to serve a young mature (a cheese that everyone likes) and something special in addition. Unfortunately, the name Gouda isn’t protected, so abroad most Gouda doesn’t taste like it should. If you want to try real Dutch Gouda, look for ones that are called “Noord-Hollandse Gouda” (Noord-Holland is a province in the Netherlands), “Boerenkaas” (farmhouse cheese) and “Gouda-Holland”, these have a Protected Geographical Indication status, which means that they can only be made in the Netherlands and can only use milk produced by Dutch cows.
Garnished cubes of cheese
Use a cocktail stick to garnish cubes of cheese with pickled onion (on the board), gherkin, olives, confit ginger, pineapple, mandarin, peach or grape.
Slices of sausage
You cannot have a Dutch snack board without sausage. There are many kinds of sausages available in the Netherlands, for example “gekookte worst” (literally cooked sausage, similar to rookworst or Frankfurters, but always served cold), “leverworst” (literally liver sausage, abroad sometimes known as liverwurst; a finely ground sausage made with pork liver, meat, fat and spices; available firm (as on the board), or spreadable (often eaten as bread or cracker topping)), “metworst” and “droge worst” (literally dried sausage; spiced air-dried pork sausage, similar to salami, lots of regional varieties available), “grill worst” (grilled sausage, can be made with different kinds of meat, the outside is liberally spiced, can contain bits of cheese (like on the board) or sateh sauce) or “Zeeuws spek” (bacon from the Dutch province Zeeland, bacon marinated in a spice mixture and grilled).
The thinly sliced cold meats that we generally use in the Netherlands as a bread topping are also great for making snacks. Salami can be filled with a tiny gherkin (or quarter larger gherkins lenghtways), or can be spread with herbed cream cheese and rolled. Ham can be filled with some cooked white asparagus, either from a jar or freshly cooked, or can be spread with herbed cream cheese and rolled. Rookvlees (literally smoked meat, salted smoked beef) can be filled with quartered cooked eggs. All these rolls can either be served with a cocktail stick pricked in them, or with a container of cocktail sticks on the side, so that people can prick the snacks they choose themselves. Without cocktail sticks these snacks are a bit unwieldy.
Commonly a few slices of cucumber. Sometimes more vegetables (think crudité) are given with one or more dips. There are dipping sauce mixes available in the supermarkets, or some people make their own simple yoghurt/mayo dip.
I make them by taking out the yolks from halved boiled eggs, mashing them with some mayonnaise to make a thick paste, season with salt and pepper and scoop this back in the egg whites. To make them a bit more posh you could add some chopped fresh herbs like parsley and chives, and pipe the filling instead of scooping it into the egg whites. Over here some more variations can be found.
Not on the board
These snacks are commonly served as well, but weren’t on my board, because it only was for a few people.
For example different flavours of potato chips, different kinds and flavours of nuts, salty biscuits, pretzels, cheese straws and cheese palmiers (we call them cheese butterflies).
Small toasts/crackers with topping
There are lots of different crackers available in the supermarkets. The most well known are melba toast and water biscuit/saltine crackers. Toppings can be all kinds of things, for example cheeses (brie, camenbert, port salut, roquefort, etc), salads, pate, (smoked) fish or ossenworst (raw beef sausage). Sometimes these “toastjes” (literally small toasts) are pre-made by the host, but usually the toasts and toppings are placed on the table so people can help themselves.
Raw-ham melon rolls
I think this combination became more popular in the seventies or eighties, when foreign flavour combinations became more popular, and these ingredients became available as well. I like this one a lot, because it is lighter and fresher than most of the other snacks. Unfortunately, I could not find a nice, ripe melon, so I could not make this for my snack board.
A warm snack
Often there is a warm snack for the end of the afternoon. This can be a “bitterbal” or something else from the deep-fryer, small frankfurters with something to dip them in (usually mustard and/or curry sauce), or small meatballs (sometimes with sateh sauce).