The most common supermarket here is the dutch chain Albert Heijn - nearly everywhere in Amsterdam there's an AH within short walking distance (but then again nearly everything in AMS is within walking distance..). Lidl, Aldi, and some other chains exist as well, but apparently they don't stand a chance against AH ;)
In the welcome session at VU I was already introduced to Hagelslag: basically, Hagelslag consists of chocolate sprinkles that are commonly eaten on buttered bread. Hagelslag is typically made of chocolate, ranging from white or milky until dark chocolate, but comes in all sorts of other flavors and colours as well: fruity and colourful! I haven't tried it yet myself: surprisingly enough, as fond as I am of chocolate in all forms, I can't bring myself to combine chocolate with savory food like bread. However, it might be a good present for all those Nutella-junkies back home.
|Huge shelf in the small Coop next door|
Something else that dutch people seem to love: Licorice! Now, this is something that I can relate to! I knew that scandinavians tend to love licorice, but didn't know that this applies to dutchies as well.
Just for comparison: I had a hard time locating Pasta in the supermarket, which occupied only about a third of the space that was given to licorice or hagelslag.
|Another huge shelf!|
Ok, and then of course there's cheese. You can find cheese stores all over the city (although I think some of them are mostly for tourists, you can usually tell from the prices..) and they seem to have nearly everything in cheese you've ever heard of. I don't think I've seen Blue Stilton anywhere in Germany, and they had several loafs of it in the store! My taste in cheese is not as exotic though, so I just bought some young Gouda with cumin in it, yum!
What probably surprised me most, however, was the huge choice of ready-made meals available here. Back home in Germany, frozen pizza, cup noodles and maybe some ready-made salads are all you can find, but here microwave meals contain lots of fresh veggies, come in all shapes and sizes (family-sized!) and cover most popular cuisines (dutch, italian, indian, asian,...).
|Logical consequence: microwaves in the supermarket|
A luxury version of cup noodles, peanut noodle soup. Price: around 3€. Fresh vegetables, chicken, noodles, peanut sauce. Just add boiling water and stir thoroughly. Fast, uncomplicated, delicious, good value for money. Will buy again!
Tandoori chicken with veggies and rice. Price: around 5€. Unlike the microwave meals I've had so far, there's no need to prick the package with a fork, it had a built-in valve. 6 minutes in the microwave and I had a steaming pseudo-indian meal that was quite okay in taste, but still tasted like microwave food and could have used some more spices. But then again you don't get proper takeout here for 5€ and for not having to do anything it was quite okay I guess.