Red herring? Amsterdam and Volendam like fishier flavours, says expert

It is no fishwives’ tale that the folk of Amsterdam and Volendam like a well-soused herring, according to one expert.

Gerbrand Voerman, chairman of the Scheveningen ‘flag day’ annual festival to welcome the new catch of herring, told the Parool that the Dutch regions definitely have different tastes in fish.

Amsterdammers and Volendammers like their fish with a mature flavour, while in The Hague and Rotterdam, they want to eat their herring as fresh as possible – he reportedly said. In the far north of the country, less salt and lots of freshness are the flavours of the month.

The savoury treat is prepared by being flash-frozen and salted, a process that can be speedier or slower – resulting in a stronger flavour and softer texture.

First barrel

The first barrel of this season’s herring was auctioned for €78,000 earlier this week, reported the NOS broadcaster, in aid of the Hulphond Nederland guide dog charity.

The flag festival, which takes place in Scheveningen on Friday, includes a parade of 70 ships, fish-tasting area for children and afternoon of acts. The audience at ‘Holland’s biggest herring party’ is encouraged to dress in historical attire.

Voerman told the Parool on Thursday that he didn’t care how ripe his fish was, as long as he could eat it. ‘A good new Holland herring, ripened or not, is nice and shiny, smells of the sea and tastes heavenly,’ he said.


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