Thursday, 1 August 2013

How rain turned into a sunny day filled with yummy food

Summer stays strong. Last week we had some thunder and rain comming over. Which was very welcome. Although, it almost ruined my day with friends in Zeeland. The place where I spent many many years of family vacations aat the beach and the little towns. After a rainy start we were off for a sunny kind of food tour. And a pretty good one if I may say so myself.

We went to Saint John (Sint Jan Straat 40, 4331 KD Middelburg, mo-sa 8:30-18:00). A brown café, a cosy little home feel cafe in Middelburg for Lunch. We had a great tosti St. John special, including Dutch bacon: Zeeuws spek. Served with brown fresh (I think) baked bread and a little salad (which could have done with a little less dressing) it was a good starter. But the winner of the day was the yoghurt Ice cream. Absolute big hit. Light but oh so creamy. We went back at the end of the day for a second one, finding the café closed (of course we didn't check the time table). Which means I have a very good reason to come back there. 

Still raving about the ice cream we went walking though the city a bit. Then my friend took us on a car ride along the former island of Walcheren. It isn't an island anymore thanks to poldering and a dam connecting it to the main land. 

Driving though the small towns, that look so lively in the Summer season and passing many mini-campings, B&Bs and small hotels and vacation homes. We took a little break at Veere. It's such a pretty old city (earning city rights from 1355!). It's quite a tourist draw especially for the small harbour and a lake (Veerse meer) near by. But we didn't mind everybody was in summer mood and we took a little tour to walk in the lake water. Swimming was not an option since we didn't bring our swim wear (it looked too cloudy to be true in the moring). 
The best kind of hidden spot was a covered old tunnel that was used back in the days to defend the city. 

We enjoyed some fish snacks: kibbeling (fried crispy fish) and Zeeuwse Oysters. Both were nice fresh a little silty. The only down side was the sauce from a readymade pot. 

Most part of Zeeland is below sea level plus the province is a big river delta including the Rhine, Maas and Scheldt. The worst flooding was the North Sea Flooding of 1953. My grandmother who lives in the coastal province of Zuid-Holland, still has a small picture where the family's home is almost completely under water. Only rooftops are visible. The Delta Works were developed after the event to protect the land. We saw some of it in the distance when we took a short beach walk. 

After another little car ride we went to the beach of Dishoek for dinner. Dishoek, had the most beautiful beaches along the Dutch shore line. Or at least, that's me thinking. Childhood memories and sleeping in once of the beach cottages a few times give me a little sweet spot here. One of the best memories I have here, is walking along the shore line around midnight by full moon with my father. He pointed out the green glittering at the shore: salt lighting up in the moon light. It really is one of the most magical (but real) things I have ever seen.

Beach pavilion Kaapduin was our dinner place. It was very hot and the outside terrace was filled. So we sat inside and enjoyed the generous food portions. I had cooked Zeeuwse Mussels and my friends baked mussels and a fish trio. We had a good time feeding oursselves. 
On the almost 3 hour train ride home, I reminded myself to enjoy my own country more. Because this day was such a great, and taste full day. The best things sometimes are in your own back yard, remember.

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