Terschelling is a lovely place to escape the busy Randstad area and to enjoy a wonderful weekend getaway. The third Dutch Wadden-island is the only one that is home to an impressive forest, planted some 100 years ago. The ferry from Harlingen will take you there in 2 hours and runs several times a day; the fast ferry can even get you there/back in only 45 minutes. Once you arrive in the village you have the difficult choice of deciding from where to rent a bike, which is the most common ‘vehicle’ used on the island. And because biking mean burning calories, the next obvious question is: where shall one eat in Terschelling?
What better food to choose after a windy discovery-bike-round of the island than a place preparing and serving ‘streekprodukten’ (locally grown, caught or produced ingredients). Restaurant Caracol is located in one of the tiny and cozy streets of the main village on the island. Its menu is inspired by the motto ‘Proef de Wad‘ (Taste the local sea/ Wadden sea) and they serve fish and seafood together with meat and vegetarian dishes. There is something for every taste: in addtion to the line-caught fish there is also meat from free-range Terschellinger cows and plentyof home-grown veggies and spices.
The daily menu is inspired by the seasons. During my visit last autumn, mussels, octopus and fresh sea-bass were available. One may choose between a 3/4/5/6 or 8-course surprise menu, or from the daily dishes. The owner and chef cuisine Werner Zuurman not only prepares daily the dishes with love but also makes a round and takes time to chat with guests. So I had the chance to enjoy a very nice and educative talk about the spices used in the dishes and learned about a new plant called the oyster leaf (in Dutch oesterblad and in Latin Mertensia maritima). This plant, growing close to the coast, has been known to the people of Scotland, Iceland and Greenland for centuries. It has a unique and light taste, reflecting oysters, anchovies or mushrooms.
Much of the garnish and plate decoration such as edible flowers comes from the restaurant’s biological garden. ‘De biologische tuin‘ also produces all of the veggies (potatoes, beetroots, parsnips, sorrel) and spices for the dishes served. The restaurant offers a good variety of Portuguese wine, which is also linked to the Portuguese name of the restaurant. The name of the restaurant – Caracol – means ‘small sea snail’, like the ones that live close to the harbour. On top of the excellent food and presentation, a big draw to this special place is the friendly service and the lovely, soft background music. All in all, a culinary delight and excellent food!