A couple of weeks ago you could read about the first day of our weekend break to Holland. On the third day we went to a wellness resort, but I have yet to tell you about our second day! Well, actually we wanted to go to Giethoorn, a delightful little village with heaps of canals, beautiful houses and gardens. Unfortunately the weather didn’t look very promising that morning as it was raining cats and dogs, so we decided to visit two little towns, Zwolle and Kampen, instead.
After a delicous breakfast in our hotel (couldn’t get enough of those ‘poffertjes’… teeny tiny Dutch pancakes !!), we headed off to Zwolle first. As soon as we were in this little town, it stopped raining, so we could visit the town umbrella-free.
The first shop we saw we were both immediately interested in… Schuttelaar. This is a fab wine and delicatessen shop which has been run by the same family for more than 100 years. The shop has recently been renewed and offers a fantastic array of wines, coffees, chocolates, gifts for foodies,…
Now I do like a good glass of wine, but to be honest with you I do not know much about it. So when buying wine I always go for the ‘safe’ option. I hardly buy wines that are unknown to me as I don’t want to be disappointed when I get myself comfortable on a Saturday night, with my fleece blanket, my favorite tv show, some tapas and a glass of red wine to keep me company. So I will nearly always buy wine that I know I will like.
But anyway… what has this to do with Schuttelaar I hear you think… Well at this shop, buying wine is quite a unique experience… You get an I-pad on which you find heaps of information on the wines that are sold, but what’s even better is that you actually can taste any wine they sell. The tasting wines are on display in special wine cupboards (and at the right temperature of course !). You can choose how much you taste : a tasting glass, half a glass or a whole glass. You get charged for what you taste. A tasting glass costs you between 0,50 EUR en 15 EUR depending on which wine you taste (of course a bottle of 10 EUR is cheaper to taste than a bottle of 500 EUR !). When you buy a certain bottle of wine, the price from that taste is deducted from your purchase. I was tempted to taste the 595 EUR Château Mouton-Rothschild (2007 Grand Cru Classé), but at 14,95 for a tasting glass… well I let that pass ! I did however taste a delicious Sicilian red wine (Rapitalà Nero d’Avola) and decided to buy that one. On the I-pad you registrate which wines you taste and which wines you want to buy. If you want additional information or help, you can rely on the expert advice from the friendly staff in this shop. So Schuttelaar offers people the opportunity to taste some unknown wines. It is definitely to be recommended for all you winelovers ! They also have an online shop so make sure to check that out !
After buying a couple of bottles of wine and some chocolates (my god they were delicious !!), we did a bit of sightseeing in Zwolle. As many Dutch towns, Zwolle is surrounded by canals and parks so it is really lovely to walk around. The town has many beautifully restored buildings, there is the 15th century town gate, but the building that appealed most to me was the Fundatie museum. We didn’t go in, but it certainly is an unusual building. It is a neo-classicist building from the 19th century which was once a law court. In 2004 this building was rebuilt as a museum and in 2012 the museum enlargened with an elliptical construction on the roof. Now I normally am not a fan of a eclicticism, but this I like… I’m a bit sorry now that we didn’t go in, but at the time we didn’t actually feel like it… well, maybe a next time !
We only spend a couple of hours in Zwolle, but I’m sure you could easily spend a whole day there if you included a visit to this museum !
A second town we visited that day was Kampen. This is a little town situated on the banks of the river IJssel and was once renowned for its fishing industry (mainly herring). But because of several wars and the silting up of the river, the town fell into disrepair. It hardly developed which means that now the town is filled with old buildings. Many are restored and the town centre has nearly 500 registered buildings which makes it a delight to stroll around the streets and narrow alleys. In Kampen we had a late lunch at Grand Café Efes of which I really liked the interior (you can see that on a photo below).
Although Kampen is quite a small town, make sure you visit it when in the neighbourhood!
So now we’ve got two more lovely Dutch towns we can add on our list… at the end of October we will visit another one… a fab one let me tell you! Make sure to check my blog as not to miss it 🙂