Beer so far.
Well, I didn't come to Holland for the wine or the coffee or even necessarily its culinary prowess. Different countries are known for different things. You go to Italy for wine and pasta, olive oil and tomatoes. Belgium ranks high with beer, fries, waffles, chocolates and the like. Holland is famous for its dairy especially cheese and all the custards, yogurts and ice cream. Southern Holland and Germany can boast impressive white wines and the latter has a corner on sausages and wursts. Holland too, is famous for its sweets, candy shops and sugar doused pancakes---and bread. Bread is front and center for breakfast (with many choices for toppings, varieties of breads, pastries, etc., and sandwiches (toasties, paninis, sandwiches) for lunch. A most common lunch menu item is 'toasties,' which really is a grilled cheese (kaas), ham and cheese (ham & kaas) or cheese & tomato sandwich. But Holland also has good beer and spirits; they invented gin after all. Though here, gin and tonics are considered antiquated, they are into mixed drinks, beer and vodka. Though my drink of choice tends to be red wine, I am in the land of beer, and consider it my duty to indulge.
Holland's cafes showcase their loyalties with outdoor signage---you will see what beer they serve before you even know the name of the cafe. Signs jetting out from outside walls, in piazzas and along canals are primarily Amstel, Grolsch or Heineken. Oh, and the occasional Illy (great Italian coffee). The signs are great markers for finding a quick outdoor table or place to relax while the boys kick around the soccer ball on a nearby cobblestone street.
The signage promotes their main beer, but many are offered. Consequently, I have tried Leffe Blond, Wieckse Witt, and Palm (amber). And Hoegarden and Wieckse have Rose beer that is a little too easy to drink. But my new favorite is a Belgian beer: Duval. Full yet smooth, meaty yet polite. If your store stocks the single bottles of Belgian beers, pick one up and try it. It will be money well spent (ehem, it is a lot less expensive for me to drink it while here, than it is for you to buy it there. No doubt a bank-breaker when I return home and long for my favorite Belgium beer(s)).
For more about my family's [current] adventures in Holland, Belgium, France, England, Italy... visit www.familyfrolics.com