We were invited to explore Amersfoort, together with a group of fellow bloggers. We can’t say no to that! The theme? ’50 shades of green’: so we got to meet the sustainable and green side of Amersfoort. During the tour we went to several stops, where we were told the story behind the location, in what way they contribute to a sustainable Amersfoort and at most stops we also got to have a taste…Or make something ourselves! Read on to hear all about our food-adventures!
After a short walk across the former train depot terrain of the NS, we arrived at a beautiful greenhouse. This turned out to be our first stop: DLC. That stands for Daily Local Cooking! The building and her interior design turned out to be completely made of recycled materials and trinkets from the local thrift shop. You wouldn’t know if they didn’t tell you! The interior has been meticulously put together. If this is the prospect for the food that we’re about to have, then we’re super excited!
DLC’s location manager explains us all about the concept behind DLC, while we enjoy some nice bites. Pure, delicious and honest flavours, using as many ingredients from their own greenhouse and garden as they can. DLC even has their own chickens (for the eggs)! To supplement their own produce, they use suppliers that sell products from local farmers, honest products for an honest price. They also offer work placement in their restaurant, the garden and greenhouse for young people with a distance to the labor market. Tucked away in a corner of the restaurant, you can find a little store where some of the homemade and homegrown products are sold!
The first thing we get to taste is a beautiful little glass of soup made with Jerusalem artichokes, celeriac and samphire greens. A surprisingly creamy soup, with a salty edge to it from the samphire greens. After that we get to enjoy a nice old fashioned ‘bitterbal’. Except this isn’t the bitterbal you expect! This bitterbal is made with oyster mushrooms and completely vegetarian, with a little dot of mustard seed and pea cress on top. It tasted almost indistinguishable from the real deal! To finish off we got to taste a delicious little tart made with puff pastry, sauerkraut and taleggio cheese. The cheese makes it creamy and very filling, but the surprisingly sweet and fresh sauerkraut balances the dish out perfectly. We’re already being spoiled and it’s only the first stop! Let’s see if the rest of the bites will still fit in our tummies…
Website | Open Thursday to Sunday from 16.00
Smulweb kookcollege with vanBlik
Then it’s off to the next stop. After an exhilarating bike ride we arrive at the Smulweb kookcollege. You might know Smulweb from their recipe website! My first reaction was complete surprise, I didn’t expect the office of Smulweb and their own cooking studio to be hidden away in Amersfoort.
At the cooking studio we were welcomed by Maartje, the developer and owner of the company vanBlik. vanBlik makes and sells tasty and healthy dishes in cans, without too much salt or sugar. Sustainable and tasty! She wants to improve the bad image that canned food has. Cans are actually a very sustainable material to use, as up to 95% of the material can be recycled!
We got a challenge: make up and cook a delicious (and kind of healthy) dish with one of the vanBlik cans. The winners could win a vanBlik bicycle! This was my favourite part of the entire tour, it was kind of like Masterchef with food bloggers. I was paired up with Krista from Stoer en Smaak and we made a delicious pumpkin soup based on the vegan curry of vanBlik, topped with zucchini-noodles, fresh coriander, spring onions and homemade garlic croutons. Completely inspired by autumn, we named the dish the ‘Warm Autumn Hug’. Sadly, we didn’t win first prize, but we did get an honorable mention by the chef and the third place!
The well-deserved winners were Sarah from South and Pepper and Wendy from Deedylicious with their tasty looking stuffed zucchini! With this yummy dish they both got to take home the cool vanBlik bikes.
Website | Open on request
De Nieuwe Graanschuur
After our cooking adventure at Smulweb it was time to make our way to the city centre of Amersfoort, where a lot of other spots were waiting for us. The first of them was a very special one: food cooperation De Nieuwe Graanschuur. That might sound very fancy, but it was actually just a very interesting supermarket. De Nieuwe Graanschuur sells most of its products without packaging and from local suppliers.
Once you enter the shop, it feels like a cross between an organic supermarket and an old fashioned little grocery shop. Rows of jars with all sorts of tea, beans and rice line the shelves of the store. They even have huge taps of high quality olive oil. Because everything is offered without packaging, the prices are all quite affordable and you’ll also be contributing to a more sustainable world! You can take your own refillable jar, buy one in the store or grab a ‘second hand’ from the shelves.
What’s on offer
De Nieuwe Graanschuur doesn’t want to be a specialty store, but they want to find the balance between have a wide range of products on offer and offering local products without packaging. That makes deciding what they offer quite complicated. What do you do if a certain product isn’t locally available but it is a staple for a regular supermarket? Like some vegetables and plants will only be available in season. Or some won’t be available at all until they find a good option for them!
Spread throughout the store you can find several ‘DIY’ appliances to create your own product. There’s a machine where you can create your own wholegrain flour! You can scoop the grains you’d like in the machine and then grind it until you have the flour that you like. They also have a machine to make your own peanut butter, yummy!
This shop is so amazing that I’d almost move to Amersfoort for it. How could would it be to do your daily groceries here?
Website | Open Monday to Friday 08.30 – 19.30, Saturday 08.30 – 18.00
Blur your life
As soon as we park our bikes in front of the glass windows of Blur your life, I fell in love! You can not only have a bite at this hotspot, but also shop till you drop. Interior design items with Scandinavian influences, minimalistic necklaces, inspiring books and even a corner with specialty beers: my heart skipped at beat!
We sat down in the part of Blur that is meant for eating and drinking. This part is separated from the shop with a beautiful open shelving units. Inspiring quotes on the wall and a calm interior: I felt right at home here.
We were in for a true treat at Blur! A giant plate of tasty treats was placed in front of us. We were impressed! Brownies made with avocados, french toast made with sugar bread, freshly baked wafels, rocky road with marshmallows and peanut butter, pandan cake and much more (including some vegan sweets as well!). Every single one of these sweet and delicious treats was a tiny party for my taste buds. I tasted so many that I’m pretty sure I could’ve rolled home. However ‘sadly’ we still had to go to a few more spots 😉
Website | Open Tuesday to Sunday 10.00 – 18.00
SEM Sla En Meer
It took us quite some effort to hoist ourselves onto our bikes again with our full tummies to go to the next spot: SEM Sla en Meer! With such a name you might already know what to expect: salads, but also so much more. They prefer working with local products and strive to make their dishes organic and delicious! Every month they have a contest with the staff to decide who can think of the best salad of the month. This results in some creative combos! Like a salad with beet carpaccio and mozzarella in truffle.
Here we were also greeted with a spread of delights as we came in! This time it wasn’t cakes, but delicious bread, veggies and dips that were on display in front of us. The three dips on the table were sweet potato hummus, seaweed tapenade and bell pepper almond spread. All three delightful for dipping! Next to these tasty bites, we could also snack on some crunchy parsnip, beetroot and sweet potato chips and crispy corn-crackers. It was all so tasty that we managed to make a little more space for these bites!
Website | Open Monday to Sunday 11.00 – 21.00
And then it was already time for our last hotspot and that was a very special one: Madonna! This hotspot hadn’t opened yet at the time of our visit and was still in full renovation when we were there. You could already catch a glimpse of what the building would soon be: delightfully decorated and an interestingly divided space.
Madonna is named after (what else) the Onze Lieve Vrouwekerk in Amersfoort. This beautiful church towers over the restaurant and you can even admire it through the viewing point in the ceiling! The building is divided into 4 different levels, where you can have a completely different experience on every floor.
Downstairs at the 2 entrances you can find both the bar and a little delicatessen store, that will transform in the evenings to be a dj booth! From the bar you can sneak a peak into the kitchen, which you can find in the basement level. Next to the kitchen is another cozy corner and the passage to what promises to be an amazing terrace on the water next summer!
The first floor will be the official restaurant part, where you can sit down and enjoy the Italian inspired and healthy menu. There’s something for everyone! All the way upstairs you can find the attic, with an impressive wooden ceiling. Here you can lounge around on the couches lining the floor. You’re supposed to be able to enjoy some delicious pizzas here too!
Of course we also got to have a little taste here. We started off with a delicious piece of ‘cheesecake’! Except this cheesecake didn’t contain any dairy products and was completely vegan. You wouldn’t know it if you tasted it! With a creamy ‘cheese’ made with pumpkin and orange and a crust made with dates and nuts, this is a tasty but responsible little treat.
We continued on this healthy route with a delicious protein salad. This salad was made with leafy greens, quinoa and pumpkin. Though healthy, all the flavours came together perfectly and created a very tasty salad.
We can’t wait to taste more of their menu once Madonna opens! Madonna is planned to open its doors on november 1st.
Website | Open Sunday to Thursday 10.00 – 00.00, Friday and Saturday 09.00 – 01.00
Want to visit these hotspots yourself? You can find them here in Amersfoort: