The first year that I lived in The Netherlands, the quality of fruits and vegetables in the super markets was a bit of a cultural shock for me. In big chains like C 1000 and Albert Hijn you will get the basics: potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, bananas, apples, pears, courgettes, rocket, eggplants, oranges, berries, mushrooms and pre-cut salads. Not too bad, you might think. But for my Mediterranean taste buds, tomatoes have no taste whatsoever and I was shocked to see that the inside of clementine peels was orange too. And that, trust me, is not natural. The lack of taste can be observed in more vegetables, like aubergines and courgettes and citrus fruit do not taste much better either, even if they are imported from countries that traditionally produce these varieties. I do not know if it has to do with the quality of produce imported or with the fact that fruits are often shipped un-ripe, so that they do not go bad until they arrive at the super market shelves. But it is a fact that they do not taste great.
This is why I get excited when local produce is in season. I have enjoyed some great asparagus here at times and fresh kale too. I also like visiting this little grocery store pictures in the photos from time to time. It is way too expensive, but it does have some high quality produce and a great variety. We have bought great mangoes and normal-sized (as opposed to the gigantic, tasteless ones of the super market) strawberries here before. Today I chose a yellow zucchini, just because it looked so great, a papaya -that I have never tried before fresh- and two artichokes that are too beautiful to eat.
Following I went to Ekoplaza. It is a food chain that carries all sorts of health foods. It is where I go to buy whole grain bread, great risotto rice and quinoa. It also has non-soy alternatives to cooking creams and nutritional yeast as well, that I haven’t managed to find anywhere else in Delft. This is where I buy my chestnut flour and hemp powder from. They have this nice area where you can seat and have a coffee or lunch and I love it because it is part of the grocery store, which means that you can enjoy looking outside or at the people shopping and smell all the nice stuff those guys and gals are cooking in their eco-friendly bakery.
Half the papaya is currently in our refrigerator, becoming 3 fruit popsicles and portobello mushroom creamy risotto is what’s for dinner.