HEMA is a Dutch-based department store (wiki reference) in Western Europe, with over 500 outlets. I read some interesting statistics about how much of a force it is in the Netherlands, something like at any one time, three out of four women are wearing a HEMA bra; and a HEMA smoked sausage (rookworst) is sold every second.
It’s a modest priced chain but with an accent on delivering quality for value-prices. The stores have a small snack counter, and that’s where you’ll find the famous sausage. Of course, I had to try one.
Rookworst is not distinctly Dutch, though they claim it to be. It’s simply ground meat with spice, salt and smoked flavoring in a casing. I’ve been told that the sausages are not naturally smoked, but the smokey flavor is from “flavor enhancers”. Which probably means artificial liquid smoke, like most smoked sausages in the US, which generally receive a spray mist bath of smoke flavor during their cooking stages.
I didn’t really glance at the HEMA menu, as I had a singular purpose there, tho I did notice they also offered a hot dog, and of course, croquettes.
The wursts were clearly displayed at the front of the counter, and a counter-top sales piece pronounced the available for two Euros.
I asked the server for one, slid my two Euro coin on the counter, and she asked me two simple questions, with bread? (Oh yeah). With mustard? (OH YEAH).
It’s kind of a monster sausage for the price. The meat flavor was very good, and the grind was fine, not coarse and rough like French sausages. The smoke flavor was intense.
As with most things with I am doing this kind of sampling, I just take a bite and toss the rest. Especially when bread is involved, but the rolls the Dutch used everywhere were so damned good, and Mrs. BDB wanted to get in a taste or two, also, so we polish the wurst off in short order.
If I lived in Amsterdam, there would be no hope that I would ever be able to maintain my svelte figure, what with burgers, dogs, and pizza available every ten feet. OK, I don’t have a svelte figure. But living in Holland, I would be in contention with Homer Simpson, when he did the “world’s fattest man” thing. For sure.
HEMA locations in Amsterdam