local life: inside amsterdam

Vera Van Stapele is a cookie maker and owner of cookie shop Van Stapele, Heisteeg 4, 1012 WC Amsterdam

After spending months developing the finest dark chocolate cookie recipe, Vera opened a chic-but-cosy shop right in the heart of this cool Scandi city where she sells batches upon batches of the best cookies in the world (trust me I tried them on my recent trip to Amsterdam. Her ethos is simple: make one cookie and make it really well. And boy has she succeeded.

Vera Van Stapele, maker of the best chocolate cookies in Amsterdam.
Vera Van Stapele: the smile of a woman who makes the best cookies in the world….
Her secret ingredient: a white disc of white chocolate in the middle of each cookie.
Perfect pre-baked balls of Vera’s chocolate cookie creations

Her secret? In each ball of her delicious Valrhona dark chocolate cookie dough she nestles a disc of white chocolate so that once its been baked – and you’ve bitten into the soft outer cookie – the white chocolate (that’s melted to perfection) oozes out.

I’m salivating just remembering them! In fact, we loved them so much we bought an entire tin as a thank you for my parents-in-law who were looking after the kids during our stay. Ten minutes later we’d eaten the lot and had to go back and buy more!

…the smile of a woman about to eat a whole tin of the best cookies in the world!

Vera’s 3 secret tips to see in Amsterdam

travel: “Rent a bike and then ride the (free) ferry to the north of Amsterdam where you’ll see all the little old Dutch houses (e.g. Nieuwendammerdijk). Have a drink in a local cafe (like Cafe ‘t Sluisje) without any other tourists. It’s only 10 minutes from central station and is the perfect place to get a real sense of old Amsterdam.”

lunch: De Foodhallen is quite a new food complex where you can have small, interesting bites in a nice ambience. It’s 10 minutes by tram from the city centre and well worth a visit.”

dine:De Groene Lanteerne is a very cosy restaurant with a classic high quality menu. Make sure you reserve because it’s a tiny place with only a few tables. It’s a little pricy, but it’s also a place that not many tourists know about as it’s too small to notice when you’re just walking by!”