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Typical products and recipes from Zeeland

The saying ‘Ons Zeeuwen ben zuunig’ (us Zeelanders are thrifty) originated from a famous Dutch TV commercial shown in the 1980s and is still well known throughout the Netherlands. Whether or not Zeelanders really are more careful with their money than those from other Dutch provinces remains to be seen – in fact typical Zeeland products and recipes, with their rich and distinctive flavour, tend to suggest otherwise!

Dutch Mussels

Zeeland mussels, oysters and Oosterschelde lobster

Perhaps the most celebrated products from Zeeland are mussels. Nowadays, these delicious Dutch shellfish, which are predominantly farmed in Yerseke, are readily available in most Dutch supermarkets, either fresh or in jars. And although the traditional mussel season only runs from September to December, Zeeland mussels are so popular that they’re often on the menu of good Dutch restaurants in the spring and summer months too. Mussels can be boiled, baked or fried and are best served with fresh bread and a crisp salad. In addition to mussels, oysters are farmed in the waters around Oosterschelde and Grevelingen. These include the special Zeeuwse Platte oyster, with its delightfully sweet and peppery flavour and the Zeeuwse Creuse, with a slightly more salty taste. Another Zeeland delicacy, Oosterschelde lobster, which is famed for its exquisite, yet subtle flavour, is available from late March until mid-July when it is supplied to exclusive restaurants up and down the country.

Lamsoor en zeekraal (sea lavender and samphire)

Two nutritious sea greens found in abundance in Zeeland are lamsoor (sea lavender) and zeekraal (samphire). Both vegetables boast a salty and somewhat fishy flavour and are best served with seafood and lamb. Zeeland samphire and sea lavender are especially plentiful in spring and summer – although very few Dutch supermarkets actually stock these tasty vegetables, they can be purchased direct from Zeeland farmers in season.

Zeeuwse bolussen (sweet pastries)

If you order a coffee in Zeeland it’s likely to come with a mouth-watering Zeeuwse bolus. This intensely sweet pastry is made from dough that is rolled into a spiral shape and then soaked in sugar syrup and cinnamon. Zeeland boluses are baked fresh each day at almost every bakery in the province and are most delicious when smeared with butter.

Zeeuwse babbelaars (butter candies)

Another typical sweet treat from Zeeland is Zeeuwse babbelaars (butter candies), also known as boterbabbelaars. These traditional Zeeland sweets are similar to Werther’s Original, but as they are often made by hand, tend to boast a more sophisticated flavour. Zeeland babbelars are particularly popular with tourists and often sold in beautiful souvenir tins featuring photos of Zeeland or Zeelanders in their traditional costume.

Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit our sister blog, heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?

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