At Christmas time in the Netherlands gourmetten is a popular and traditional way to eat. It involves putting a hot plate / grill in the middle of the table and then cooking mini pieces of meat, seafood and vegetables yourself. There are many styles of gourmet sets from a standard flat-bed hot plate (below) to full-on Raclette party grills which have individual pans for each person to grill things on the underside – in addition to the shared plate at the top.
Popular ingredients to “gourmet” are:
Rundvlees / biefstuk – Beef (steak)
Kip – Chicken
Hamburgers – they must be mini ones!
Speklapjes – bacon, normally wrapped around a wooden stick
Worstjes – mini sausages
Zalmfilet – Salmon fillet
Garnalen – King prawns
Plus groenten (vegetables – stir fried types are normally used) and brood (bread) with knofloofkboter (garlic butter – mmmmm!)
Playing with fire!
Often, dessert is also cooked on the bakplaat (hot plate) …after it’s been cleaned, of course. The dish of choice is normally pannenkoekjes (pancakes) which are served with a variety of fillings / flavours including ice-cream, fruit, advocaat (traditional Dutch alcoholic beverage made from eggs, sugar and brandy) etc. Booze is optional and a slightly terrifying experience, as you can see!! 😉
My Dutch family enjoy to dine this way A LOT, not just at Christmas. It’s very sociable, fun and everyone can eat what they want… and cook it the way they like it. Supermarkets such as Albert Heijn even sell special pre-packed gourmetten sets with a selection of mini meat cuts. Of course you do get charged a bit extra for the privilege… but the convenience is worth those few extra euros in my opinion!
So, that’s gourmetten – or as the Dutch would say “gezellig tafelen voor iedereen” (cozy dining for everyone!)