Christmas in Holland

On Christmas morning, Paulus and I woke up early, and my mom drove us to the airport. A long list of parties and gatherings awaited us in the course of the following week.

We started that night with a Christmas party for Paulus’ dad’s side of the family, hosted in the house of my parents-in-law. Luckily, Paulus’ relatives are great foodies.

Each of the families that attend bring a dish, and everything is organized around a theme. This year’s theme was ‘Life Flows On’.

We had Lettuce Go with the Flow as a starter (clever!), together with endive cups with shrimp.

And then we had the best smoked salmon I have ever tasted.

In between the appetizers and the entree, there was bread and hummus.

 The main course was a spicy sausage dish with roasted potato and pumpkin. With it we had a pine nut and prosciutto salad, and a starry beet salad.

The next day was for the other side of Paulus’ family. Each Christmas, his grandmother rents a house somewhere and then her daughters come to stay with their families for various amounts of time. And much food is eaten.

This year’s house was really wonderful. It was  situated just next to a very pretty natural area that was perfect for morning walks. Inside, it was old, but beautifully renovated. I noticed this cabinet in the entryway. Charming and very Dutch looking.

On the 26th, almost everyone was there, and there was so much food, I don’t think that I was ever NOT eating.

Here’s the cheese spread that was brought out when we arrived in the afternoon, to go with all the speciality beers that were also available.


After that it was time for dinner to start. First came the amuses, which were little pie shells with different fillings.

Then the gigantic table was set. This is only about a third of it.

The first course was a pate with jam, beets, and beautiful tomato flowers that Paulus’ cousin made.

For the main course, we had rabbit. I think. Food terminology is differs between languages and sometimes stuff gets lost in translation. Anyway, the meat was accompanied by mashed potatoes, zuurkool, which seems to be sauerkraut, beans, and beautiful whole poached pears.

And for dessert there was chocolate cake with fruits and whipped cream. Good, huh?

We had a great time with this side of the family, too, catching up with people many of whom we haven’t seem for more than a year. And I picked the brains of all the excellent cooks in Paulus’ family and even got some tips from an aunt on what might be wrong with my sourdough starter!

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