Surviving the tastings

For those of you interested trying out new flavours, Dutch proeflokaals (tasting rooms) are just the thing for you. From organised tasting sessions on whisky, to a free crash course in coffee, here’s a look at some interesting tasting sessions in Delft and nearby.

If you haven’t tried this traditional Dutch liquor yet, then Schiedam is the place to do it. In the 18th century, this tiny town was the international hub of jenever manufacturers. Today it houses the Jenever Museum (which also conducts tastings) and a number of smaller pubs with big collections of the juniper-berry flavoured drink. One such is Jeneverie ‘t Spul which has over 400 different kinds of jenever, a small museum on the premises and they conduct regular tastings. Seven kinds of jenever are served along with snacks at a typical tasting. “Besides talking about flavours, I also tell participants about the history of the drink, anecdotes and explain how it is made,” said Rob van Klaarwater, the owner. Call or email for reservations and price indications.
Where: Hoogstraat 92, 3111 HL Schiedam

If you’re a coffee connoisseur or someone who’s not entirely sure how they like their coffee, then this Coffee College might be just the thing for you. Every two months, Cisca Colijn, the owner of the coffee branderij (roaster) Miss Morrison organises a free workshop for coffee lovers. Typically, visitors are first introduced to the green beans and then they watch a roasting process before the actual tasting begins. “Understanding how it is made helps people discern flavour. It’s important for people to know what form of coffee they like best before investing in apparatus,” she explains. The date for the next coffee college will be posted on their website.
Where: Voorstraat 7, 2611 JJ Delft

One of Amsterdam’s famous tasting rooms, the Reypenaer Cheese Tasting Room conducts an hour long tasting session with a specialist. Here visitors try six varieties of goat cheese and Gouda. “We usually pair the cheeses with different wines,” said Daphne van Delden, an assistant manager at the store. Non-alcoholic drinks can also be requested. The tastings are conducted by Ron Pieters, who has been in the business for 40 years. Among other things, visitors learn to discern the texture of old cheese, the creaminess of milk cheeses and what pairs well with what. Priced at €15 per person, the tastings are held all week long, but be sure to book in advance.
Where: Singel 182, 1015 AJ, Amsterdam

Trappistenlokaal ‘t Klooster has something for whiskey and whisky lovers out there. “Most whisky tastings are set up for individual groups. So according to their wishes we adjust our tastings,” said Helmer Dil the owner. “However, twice a year we organise a whisky dinner and tastings can be done in Dutch and English,” he adds. The level of the tasting can also be adapted to suit beginners and experts alike. Prices for their tastings start around €17.50 but vary depending on the number of food items and whisky. Check their website for the agenda.
Where: Vlamingstraat 2, Delft

Most pubs in Delft and across the Netherlands host some kind of beer tasting events, including Biercafe Doerak. Every two months, a beer tasting is conducted at Doerak and while it’s primarily in Dutch, the hosts are happy to translate for internationals. Tastings are structured differently each time, sometimes a brewer brings over a sample of beers, while some are themed on a particular kind of beer.
Where: Vrouwjuttenland 17, 2611 LB, Delft

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