De Week van de Smaak (in English, "National Tasting Week") is a gastronomic event in the Netherlands held every year to celebrate traditional, sustainable international and local food. National Tasting Week is celebrated with hundreds of different activities in which food and local produce takes central stage. Restaurants, local producers, farmers, food shops, cookery schools - they all organise their own activities in big and small cities across the country.
This event actually started back in 1992 in France, where it is known as Le Semaine du Goût and it soon extended into other European countries. Today, the event is celebrated in Switzerland (since 2001), Belgium (since 2006) and the Netherlands (since 2007).
In Zwolle, the city where I live, National Tasting Week was celebrated with many special activities. The Dutch Tourist Office (the VVV or Vereiniging van Vreemdelingenverkeer), for example, offered during the week of 21-27 September, a gastronomic walking tour through the historic city centre, visiting some of the best restaurants and shops which held tasting sessions or had special menus especially elaborated for the occasion.
Another big event which took place to celebrate National Tasting Day was the Superstreekmarkt (in English, the "super regional market") in which traditional local produce was displayed on the approximately 50 stalls arranged around the restaurant of the Agnietenberg camping site in Zwolle.
There, visitors could taste and buy different regional products and delicacies that are not normally found in supermarkets but in traditional winkeltjes (in English, "little shops") in the city or in farms from the region. Also, there were open cooking demonstrations, talks, poetry reading, wine tasting, etc.
The market could be easily reached by car but there were other "fun" options, like sailing from the city centre of Zwolle to the Agnietenberg by boat on board "De Gebeurtenis"; or riding in one of the fietstaxis (taxi bikes) Fiestjoe.
Some more photos of the Superstreekmarkt in the Agnietenberg, Zwolle:
Busy day at the Super Regional Market
Did you know that there are more than 180 vineyards in the Netherlands? Winegrowing is a thriving industry that contributes about 1 million of bottle per year! There is even a vineyard in my own city, in Zwolle - check their website for more information about the wines and visiting or volunteering to work during the high season: Wijngaard De Swolse Marken.
The wine shop Henri Bloem had an international selection of wines for the public to taste. I was pleased to discover that one of their star wines (Felino, Viña Cobos, Malbec 2008) actually came from Mendoza, the wine producing region in my country, Argentina.
Visitors could also see, taste and buy another typical delicacy from the region: smoked eel.
More "lekker" (in English, "tasty") sausages.
A view of the turnout for the Super Regional Market in Zwolle.
Of course there were a couple of stalls offering a tasting of locally made cheeses:
Cook books for those looking for inspiration.
There is more to come yet, in this month of October: Zwolle Culinair, an event which will take place from 23 to 25 October in Deltion College, Zwolle.
If you are curious about other gastronomic events taking place in Zwolle, visit the Zwolle, Week van de Smaak website, or the VVVZwolle (Dutch Tourist Board, Zwolle).