In this section of the website I will explain more about other experiences in The Netherlands. It does not need to be related to wines so you will find my input about music, art and other cultural events that I go to. I hope you enjoy reading.
February, 2016 – Hotspots in Gouda
One of my best friends visited me at the end of February and it was great to walk around the old historical buildings of Gouda and have some quality time together. I took her to several coffee places that I would like to share with you because, If there is something I know about my surroundings, is where to drink good coffee or chai latte.
One of my favorite hotspots for coffee or lunch in Gouda, and very close to my home, is De Chocoladefabriek. A fantastic atmosphere for those who love to be around books, magazines, newspapers and enjoying a nice big and warm cappuccino. Also, this local library recently won the prize of best library in The Netherlands 2015-2016, so it is worth the visit. The architecture is modern and industrial but the combination of wood and a cozy café, makes the atmosphere really comfortable. The coffee place right in front of the entrance is called Kruim and you won’t be disappointed with the cappuccino nor the chai latte. They also have plenty of organic food and you can choose what you want to eat from the plates from the vitrine. If you or your friends have kids, this is definitely a recommendation, the kids have a nice corner downstairs with toys, books and couches where they can play around while you enjoy your lunch time.
But there are more hotspots in Gouda for coffees and organic sweets, and I can’t stress this one enough, my favorite chai latte is from De Kleischuur. From their window you look at the canal and in the summer time the sun shines through their many windows and (if it’s warm enough) you can sit outside in one of these cool swinging wooden chairs. Lovely. The whole menu is made with organic ingredients, there are plenty of healthy choices and of course, cakes for dessert. My favorite is the carrot cake, it will never disappoint you. Kids can also play around, there are some puffs, books and toys to keep them entertained.
However, in an historical old city such as Gouda, you can’t miss a visit to the old museum behind the longest church of The Netherlands, Sint Jan. The Museumcafé Gouda is a hotspot by itself, since you can see the church and the old streets from the old cellar where it’s located. It is fun to see all the tourist taking photos from the bridge so I would recommend one of the tables next to the windows. The decoration it’s a bit too girly, overload of pink and rococo style but that is because one of their specialties are the high teas for the ladies. However, they have the best garden in the whole city and they also serve organic bites.
And now one of my favorite restaurants in town, De Zalm. It is always open, there is always somebody in, and the coffee they serve is one of my favorites. They also get an extra point because of the small stroopwaffel that they always serve with your coffee or tea. Details like that make your life perfect, don’t they? This year we also booked there for Kaarsjesavond and we were delighted with the special menu they served. It is for sure one of the most cozy restaurants in the center of Gouda with views to the old city hall and the market square. The menu isn’t organic but the ingredients are exquisite so that is why this one keeps being in my top 5.
And last but not least, I have to recommend a location only for drinks. I would not recommend this restaurant to go have dinner nor lunch, but I am recommending it because of the location and the amazing architecture and decoration. Just go and enjoy a glass of wine or beer in the bar, you will be amazed once you enter and reach upstairs. The Lichtfabriek used to be the place where all the electricity was distributed to all the houses in Gouda, and after many years of being inactive and closed they finally made something pretty out of it. Very modern, industrial and cosy decoration and from the ceiling hanging a lot of lights which change colors through the evening. I do not recommend to eat there as the service it is very bad (I have been there 3 times) but just go for a drink and enjoy the mixed of modern and old.
I hope you enjoy a day in Gouda with my recommendations. Salut!
November, 2015 – Country & Christmas Market in Kasteel de Haar, Utrecht
During this month I have enjoyed the preparation of the Christmas Markets with EcoCava but, as well, I have visited a new Country & Christmas Market in The Netherlands in an amazing location: Kasteel de Haar.
Walking around the Christmas stalls and discovering all the beautiful surroundings of the castle was delightful. Also, the standards of quality of the stuff offered during this market were much higher than in any other markets I have been. Great decoration for the house, fantastic accessories and clothing, inspirational gifts, etc.
There was also a choir singing Christmas songs dressed up like in the middle age, creating a fantastic medieval feeling around the gardens of the castle. Also, the show with colored fountains, music and fire was amusing the audience that walked around after the sunset.
June, 2015: Vinum Nature – 3rd Organic Wine Fair, Barcelona
During the 1st of June the 3rd edition of the Spanish Organic Wine Fair took place in the maritime museum in Barcelona. EcoCava is fond of this wine fair because it is always celebrated in our hometown and the wines presented are high quality organic and biodynamic wines, our core products. The direct contact with the wine producers gives us a better knowledge of their techniques and the passion they put on it it is basic for us to trust who we work with.
The level of the wines during this edition was very high and one of our main producers, Castell d’Age received several golden leafs for their wines (the highest price in the contest) and we are very proud of this. For their cavas, the winners were: Olivia Brut Nature Reserva 2010 and Anne Marie Gran Reserva Brut Nature 2010.
Also, the red wine from Vins de Taller Geum 2013 which was also awarded with the International Organic Wine Award in 2014 with the top gold, received the golden leaf during the Vinum Nature. And their original white wine Phlox 2014, which we have not imported yet, was also awarded with a golden leaf. We will have to think about this one…
Summing up, we would like to congratulate all our contacts in Catalonia that are working so hard to achieve these fantastic results and we also are very proud of ourselves for having such a good ¨nose¨ for the best wines! We love what we do and we are good at it.
May, 2015 – The Oasis of Matisse at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam
Not so long ago, talking to a friend of mine I told her about my latest whereabouts in Amsterdam and she told me ¨you are rich, you have time¨. I agreed, I had the opportunity to have a day without rushing to get into the train nor the bus, I was walking through the city absorbing all the inputs and stopping to enjoy them for a while. Brilliant musicians, street art, advertisements hanging on the walls, new and beautiful architecture, tourist biking for the first time, etc. I had lunch in the sun, watching the pigeons seizing breadcrumbs and the children challenging running before grandma.
It was a beautiful spring day in the city of Amsterdam.
After this break I decided to enter the Museum. There was no line (it was Wednesday afternoon) and the people working there nicely indicated me which route I could take to follow Matisse’s exhibition. When I first entered I saw more paintings than only Matisse’s with a dark Parisian style, not exactly what I was waiting for but then I read those were the student times of Henri Matisse. Some still life, books and flowers but nothing that surprised me. I was looking forward to the colors, where were the shocking portraits with the greens and yellows? In the next few rooms something caught my attention, it is not Matisse’s art but it is bright, astonishing, no mixture of colors: View on Bougival (1906) from Maurice de Vlaminck. You can’t miss this one. It’s the beginning of the pure colors. Then I saw the blue sky from the landscapes of Corsica and the green faces in the fauvist portraits. Then the african nudes, the cubism influences and the cut-outs.
It was breathtaking. When I walked upstairs I was delighted by the Stedelijk Museum architecture, this stairs, this skylight through the windows… and, of course, the best spot to hold the main piece of art: The parakeet and the mermaid (1952-1953) from Henri Matisse. I had to sit down. Watch. Observe. He wanted a colorful garden in his house and he made one with his own hands, he added parrots or mermaids, whatever he wished. He could change it from side to side, add more leafs or not. Just leave it as it is. A colorful garden in the Stedelijk museum for everybody to enjoy.
It was a beautiful spring day in the Oasis of Matisse.