In Season - May
'Pick the herring up by the tail, dip it in chopped onion, tilt your head back, raise your arm and lower the fish into your mouth as if you were feeding a sea lion. Eat enthusiastically, then wash down with a schnapps chaser. Repeat.’ My instructor could have added ‘ad nauseum’ but after a couple of fresh raw herrings, the latter word was a little too close for comfort. Although the small, slippery fish had a tender, buttery texture and surprisingly mild and ‘unfishy’ taste, I was still a novice herring-dangler. By contrast, at the annual Scheveningen Flag Day to celebrate the arrival of the Hollandse Nieuwe, or New Dutch herring, the cheering crowds, many in national dress, had no inhibition in making significant inroads into the 120 million herrings the country consumes each year.