Is it just me or does time seem to pass really fast these days? It has already been 2 weeks since I met up with Loraine and Armand from The Hungry-Trotting Couple! I was back in Amsterdam recently and the loving couple brought me out to Valkenburg, a little hill town built around the only elevated ruined castle in the Netherlands.
On the walk to the town centre, we saw an interesting outdoor chapel that’s an exact replica of the grotto in Lourdes, France. To be in such a peaceful place on a beautiful day is a blessing =)
The main reason why Loraine and I wanted to come here is for the famous Christmas market, which takes place at the Fluweelengrot (Velvet Caves) underneath the town. Even before entering the cave, the festive atmosphere was awesome!
With like-minded foodies around, eating is a must! Lots of people were queuing in front of a stand selling German food so that’s a good sign. The button mushrooms were yummy and I particularly love the Kartoffelpuffer (German potato pancake, somewhat like the Swiss rösti), best served hot with applesauce in the cold weather!
Happy with a full tummy, it’s shopping time! The Christmas market is like a huge labyrinth and plays host to a large variety of stalls selling everything from clothes and beauty products to sweets and Christmas decorations. And cuz it’s rather touristy, it’s inevitable that some things are obviously overpriced and look suspiciously ‘made in China’!
P.S. Spot Loraine and I at the candy store! Haha.
Love how the whole cave is lit up with twinkling lights!
For me, the highlight of the place took place at Lunchroom F.H. Botterweck. Ever since I read HungryTrotters’ mouth-watering post on vlaai, I’ve been wanting to try it and Loraine being Loraine, she did the research and brought us here =)
Omg, how I wish there’s vlaai in Singapore! Cuz these spongy fruity pies are sooooooo GOOD. Better than good. The super tart mixed berries vlaai with a flaky base is my favourite; cherry vlaai has a softer crust and is no less delectable; while the rice pudding vlaai is surprisingly ambrosial with a rich custard-like filling. Mmmm~ Did I mention how delicious they are??
Grotestraat Centrum 51
Then we were off to Maastricht, the city where Armand grew up. Although it was only slightly after 5pm, the sky had already grown dark. Oh, the joy of winter -__- Most of the shops were closed and the city was quite quiet. We walked to the churches and I like how pretty the Church of Our Lady is, with turrets and fortress-like walls, and the hanging lights outside give a magical feel to the place.
Dinner was a quick fill-me-up affair before the 2 hours’ drive back to Utrecht where I had to catch a train back to Amsterdam. Armand brought us to a sandwich deli that’s been around since his youth days. Simple and satisfying, that’s my open-faced salmon salad on a long crusty baguette. And I’m amused that there’s no lettuce/tomato (the quintessential sandwich filling) on it!
It was fun spending the day with such great company. They are the reason why I can’t wait to go back. See you soon, Loraine and Armand! =)