A Taste of Home in Haarlem: a characteristic food shop, in the heart of Haarlem with sweet treats, drinks, and foods from abroad. The perfect place to get your Christmas crackers, puddings and mince pies. We interviewed the owner, Lauren Fisher, about A Taste of Home and Haarlem.
Dear Lauren, please tell us, what is A Taste of Home?
The concept of A Taste of Home is to bring supermarket items from abroad, for those who aren’t able to find them here in traditional supermarkets – while also introducing new flavors and foods to those looking to have a little “get away” right here in Haarlem!
What makes your concept distinctive from other food shops?
Most food shops specialize in foods that are already widely available in Holland or have a very fixed selection of items they stock. We are constantly adding new items to our range as well as offering special requests for customers looking for products beyond our normal assortment.
And your offer?
We allow those who have spent time abroad whether growing up, on vacation, or studying to have a taste of that nostalgia that they know and love.
What’s you role in A Taste of Home?
I am the owner of A Taste of Home – but more than just the shop owner I am an expat myself. I moved from San Francisco, California two years ago with my husband (a California native).
In May 2015 I took over the ownership of the shop – although it’s been in Haarlem at the same location since 2010. I was a customer of the shop when I moved here – I needed flour for making my bagels! Taking over the shop was a real exciting career move for me, I was previously working with computers but I found they aren’t nearly as friendly as the people I meet on a day to day in the shop!
Please, tell me an example of what’s going on in the shop these days.
We have a contest going on while we are ‘pet-sitting’ our friends goldfish while they are on vacation for the holidays
in Ireland. The fish are without names at the moment so the one who thinks of the best name for the two fish will win a bar of chocolate, bag of crisps and a drink! We have an entry jar at the shop and we will choose on December 25th!
And of course Christmas is coming… Christmas crackers, puddings and mince pies of course.
Gammon Steak and Ham Joints are being ordered for Christmas! Please let us know if you are interested to be put on the order list!
What are your future plans?
Our future plans are to be able to offer more products from more places, and get a larger number of local Dutch population to see our store as a place for exciting foods they wouldn’t normally come across!
You and Haarlem, please, tell me more
Haarlem is where my husband and I ‘landed’ so to speak when we moved here. It’s all we have ever known and we feel at home here. Haarlem to me is a big village with a big heart. I love that no matter when I am cycling, I always see a familiar face. It really contrasts living in California, you’d never run into your neighbor or a friend on the streets there – everyone is in cars!
Your favourite food place in Haarlem?
Easy answer! De Haerlemsche Vlaamse on Spekstraat (Bacon street – aw yeah!) is my must-have friets place. They were my first taste of Belgian friets after moving here in October 2013. I had them just 4 hours off the airplane and I’ve never stopped going back for their sambal-mayo friets!
Your favourite restaurant in Haarlem?
La Cantina023 has to be my favorite restaurant in Haarlem, their TexMex cuisine sends me back to my years living in California, where the mexican food is plenty!
Your favourite cooking shop in Haarlem?
Whenever I need a particular tool for making my favorite recipes I usually check out Huismuis, they’ve got everything I could need for baking my favorite American recipes!
Place to buy food?
I can’t say I have a particular place I like to shop for food, the great thing about Haarlem is there are so many offerings, you can shop around to find all your ingredients make the perfect meal. You aren’t limited to just one large supermarket here, there is a great mix of “Mom-and-Pop shops” each with their own selection.
My favorite dish has to be a Skyline Chili “cheese coney”, a throwback to my birthplace of Cincinnati, Ohio. ‘Cincinnati chili’ as it’s more widely known, is a meat sauce that’s traditionally eaten on spaghetti topped with shredded cheese. So darn good! (and YES those of you wanting to try it, we stock seasoning packets for making it!).
What else do you like?
Wat vind je nog meer leuk? I enjoy traveling immensely, trying new cuisines, and meeting locals while doing so. (I am a bit social if you can’t tell). There is nothing more enjoyable than getting to know someone who has their own story to share of a restaurant, or food, or even a particular street where you are traveling.
Your last word
I don’t have any last words, because my mouth is full of Skyline Chili!
Address and opening times
Gedempte Oude Gracht 42
2011GS Haarlem, Netherlands
Mon 13 – 17
Tues-Fri 11 – 18
Sat 10 – 17:30
Sun 13 – 17