How do we show Rotterdam to the world, now international guests cannot visit our city during the Eurovision Song Contest? This was the question during the brainstorm with the partner network of Rotterdam. Make It Happen. One of the results was the idea for this beautiful cookbook: Taste of Rotterdam

With this (cook) book, Taste of Rotterdam, we will take you on a journey through our city. The wonderful thing about food is that it connects and brings people together. Eating is sharing. Sharing emotions and experiences, sharing stories. However, we would be selling Rotterdam short by mentioning food alone. After all, there are so many more ingredients that make up the taste of Rotterdam. Take, for example, dance, music, art and culture, sustainability and innovation, and the port of Rotterdam. Ingredients that make Rotterdam and Rotterdammers who we are. Ingredients that shape our culture, and that we are proud of.

Based on inspiring stories from true Rotterdammers, such as Shirma Rouse, Tymon de Laat, and Sabine Biesheuvel, Taste of Rotterdam will give you a glimpse into our kitchen, or Terry Priem’s kitchen to be exact. Together with this top chef, we created this (cook) book containing 41 local dishes from the countries participating in the Eurovision Song Contest. However, we wouldn’t be who we are if we didn’t give the dishes a Rotterdam twist. Experience the dishes and the rest of this book as our taste. The taste of Rotterdam, the city that, with so many languages, faces, and more than 175 nationalities. has grown into a true metropolis.

Taste of Rotterdam actually give back to the city and it’s citizens. Of every copy sold, a contribution goes to Fröbel: a great restaurant in Rotterdam that is run by people with disabilities. A place where they have the opportunity to really make a difference in our society and – through training – can not only develop, but also do what they love with a lot of passion. For some employees, the experience they gain at Fröbel even offers a springboard to a paid job. A wonderful initiative that only knows winners!

Mayor of  Rotterdam, Ahmed Aboutaleb:
Each country has its own traditions, rituals, stories and cuisine. And every migrant carries a taste of it with them to their new home country. Family recipes for example. These recipes do not only consist of ingredients, they also contain stories. That is why eating is such a wonderful and personal way to get to know others. Flavours, smells and eating habits transport us to the different cuisines of our mothers, grandmothers, and great-grandmothers. They remind us of the past, and we use them to create new stories.

At home with my family I eat dishes from different food cultures. But the flavours of my native Morocco play a permanent role in our kitchen. Olive oil, couscous, honey and ras-el-hanout are indispensable chez Aboutaleb. The amazing variety of food cultures also make Rotterdam into a multi-culinary, international port city. On the West-Kruiskade, for example, where I like to go, you can see, smell and, above all, taste the whole world. From Surinamese pom to Moroccan almond biscuits. From Chinese Peking duck to the traditional Dutch meatball. From Turkish pizza to durian.

Food connects us, as music does. So, Rotterdam opens up again as host city of the 65th edition of the Eurovision Song Contest 2021. Rotterdam will be a temporary ‘home’ to people from all over the world. A hopeful speck on the horizon. Because we crave culture, sharing and experiencing together. We have had to wait a year longer for this magnificent musical event. An event that fits so well with this colourful city where more than 175 nationalities live together in peace. Perhaps because the reason is that here, just like at the Eurovision Song Contest, you can be one with others in all your unique individuality. As a mediagenic city with iconic architecture, the river, Europe’s largest port, and the Erasmus Bridge that connects North and South, Rotterdam is a suitable backdrop for such a grand international event.

I am sure that the final of the Eurovision Song Contest in Ahoy Rotterdam will be celebrated in millions of living rooms with all kinds of tasty snacks on the table. This beautiful book Taste of Rotterdam is a wonderful source of inspiration for this. I hope you enjoy reading and viewing it, and hopefully you will at some point be able to admire this beautiful city with your own eyes and taste it with your own mouth. So let’s open up!

My selection