I visited the Netherlands for the first time in November 2017 and despite it not being that long ago, I can’t remember too much of it.
That could be for a variety of reasons but I assure you, it’s not because I drank everyday and partook in things the country is known for. *Wink wink.* (Although I do have a story involving a very potent brownie which meant I didn’t touch the stuff for at least six months [I broke my resolve in Paris with a friend]).
Yet what I do remember is, alongside the oliebollen (fried dough) and the Albert Heijn (a supermarket, because it had the most delicious vegetarian sandwiches) was how I learned how to enjoy free samples, and plenty of them too.
And by free samples, I mean the numerous small squares of cheese on offer at Tromp, a shop in Amsterdam dedicated purely to delicious cheeses and the alcohol that best goes with them.
Damn, did I love this shop. Me and my companion just strolled in after noting its fancy exterior during a walk across the bridge, and you can bet we weren’t disappointed! I’ve never eaten so much free cheese in one sitting and not been given any judgement for it – from either my companion or the sales assistants! In fact, the assistants were pretty helpful so as well as the free lunch, we also got a decent lesson in all of the various Dutch cheeses we tried.
Until that day, I was always hesitant around free samples because 1) I never wanted to look like a greedy animal and 2) I didn’t want to look like I couldn’t afford food. Now I don’t particularly care. If I can’t afford to or don’t want to buy the overpriced item, I’ll still try it because YOLO, and looking like a greedy animal? If the sample is so good it requires it, then so be it. Oink.
So whilst I’ve taken my mentality away from free cheeses (as per the veganism), I’m still on it with the free breads and coffees that Jakarta loves to offer, except now I’m more likely to actually make a purchase, because, apparently, I’m more easily swayed these days. Thanks for the lesson, Amsterdam! (And also thanks to your frites, which I’m craving unbearably right now).