The Dutch people are known for their love for milk and dairy products, so don’t be surprised when you hear that karnemelk, the Dutch version of buttermilk, is the most popular assortment of milk in the country.
In fact, if you are visiting the country and you don’t want to blend in with the crowd, especially at noon, all you have to do is grab along with a simple sandwich with cheese and a box of buttermilk. You can find it in any store, packed in the same way as regular milk. Just like in the case of regular buttermilk, karnemelk is obtained after the churning of butter. It is the liquid that is left behind after this process is completed, having a slightly sour taste and a thicker consistency than milk. Karnemelk can be consumed as it is or it can be used when cooking, especially for the making of bread, as it works well with the leavening agent that makes the bread puffy. Back in the days, karnemelk represented an important dairy product for the poorest side of the population. When resources are scarce, they didn’t want to discard what was left after the making of butter, so they drank the nourishing liquid. Also, they used to pour it over their potatoes, instead of meat gravy, which was rather inaccessible. But, this habit stuck until today, and many Dutch still pour karnemelk over their potatoes before mashing them, to make them creamier.