The Dutch Apple Pie is something you don’t want to miss when you travel to the Netherlands. It’s a crispy pastry with an apple filling that I can describe only as mouthwatering. The first time I went to Amsterdam, I wanted to see everything in just two days and I couldn’t afford to go café hunting. But this time I have no excuse. I’m staying here for a while and I’m determined to seize this opportunity and simply wander around the city, looking for a special coffee shop. Well, for a couple of days I’ve been walking up and down the canals without finding the place I had in mind. Coffee shops in Amsterdam are cool, they invite you in, but then the food doesn’t usually live up to the expectation.
Winkel 43 – when there’s no feeling
That was the case of Winkel 43. After spending a long day in the picturesque village of Zaanse Schans, I got off the train in Amsterdam and was caressed by the beautiful afternoon light. On my way home, I decided to stop at a café where – according to some travel guides – you could find the best apple pie in town. Located at Noordermarkt, not far from the Central Station, it looked like the perfect place for an afternoon break. The little square is lovely with its old church and blossoming trees.
There’s something decadent about this coffee shop, which is crowded inside but has wooden tables outside. There were cake leftovers on every table, and the view of the kitchen from a window did not exactly encourage me to stay. My guts told me to leave, and so I did. I found comfort in some “stroopwafels”, the sticky caramel wafers that are popular in Belgium and the Netherlands.
Back to Black and the cat at the window
The next day, I was more determined than ever to find “my” coffee shop. I wanted to sit in a Nordic style place with my laptop, look at the people around me and feel at home. I wanted a good cup of coffee and a slice of Dutch Apple Pie. Then, after exploring the charming area of Spui, I was walking to the Museum area when I turned into a lovely narrow street. It was lined with the typical red brick houses, with bicycles parked outside. And down the lane, I bumped into Back to Black. A furry cat was watching me though the large window. The place seemed to radiate good vibes and I suddenly decided to go in.
Dutch Apple Pie and green philosophy
Inside, a wooden table, comfortable chairs, books, flowers. a delicious smell of coffee and many blond youth working at their laptop made me realize that was IT. The café I was looking for. I ordered a cappuccino and a slice of Dutch Apple Pie and took a seat the the wooden table. There was a book in front of me. It was about the coffee tradition in the Netherlands. And coffee is indeed the protagonist of Back to Black, founded by two friends – Noortje Vlutters and Inge Bulthuis – who have embraced the idea of sustainability. Everything here, from biological detergent to a green energy supplier, follows this philosophy.
Cakes are homemade. Many people living nearby come here and order a cake for their children’s birthday parties. The Dutch Apple Pie is delicious, with a strong cinnamon flavour. The cappuccino is foamy and sweet. Yes, I definitely like this little café and its lazy cat.
where to find it
Back to Black is located in 48, Weteringstraat 48. The Rijsksmuseum is a within walking distance. The tram stop (line 16) is nearby.