There are many good reasons to start your cycling tour at the Markt (market square) in Dokkum. The historic Abbey, once an orphanage. The extraordinary Ice Fountain by Birthe Leemeijer that literally makes nature and climate change tangible. The Grote Kerk (church) which was partly built from the stones of the monastery that once stood here. But the best reason is that you can also end the tour here and have dinner at Michael Roest.
Roest practised his culinary magic for years at the Waard van Ternaard, but moved to the old abbey in 2020 and it’s now the Waard of Dokkum. He stayed true to his philosophy. Honest and delicious special cooking. With the best products from local addresses - some of which you'll find along the way, so make sure to bring extra bags - and vegetables from his own garden in Zwaagwesteinde. All fair trade and organic. The tastiest selling point of this culinary trip.
From the Markt to the first route point you can already catch a glimpse of the first culinary hotspot. At the foot of the terp (man-made dwelling mound) that you descended over the Hoogstraat, is the ZUCO dairy cooperative on the other side of the Zijl. They make delicious products from fresh milk that comes from small-scale dairy farms in their own region. Cottage cheese, custard, yoghurt, kefir, panna cotta and ice cream. It’s worth remembering because you will turn left before the Zijl over the Diepswal along the Grootdiep.
At Diepswal no. 5 is the city beer brewery Bonifatius 754. Dokkum once had nineteen breweries, but they disappeared one by one. Fortunately, the tradition is being picked up again. In addition to Bonifatius 754, Dockum Brewery also makes local beer that is brewed on site.
But it's too early for beer, you have to keep going! Over the old towpath along the Grootdiep, you arrive in Ee. You cycle into the village on the Stienkesterwei. Get off at No. 30A. This is the Wilman family’s regional produce shop the It Alde Molkfabriek (the Old Milk Factory). The shop can be found in the shed, which is also used by 'It Wurkferbân Fryske rassen' (the Frisian breeds association) which is committed to the preservation of original Frisian vegetable, fruit and animal breeds and varieties. This is reflected in the products such as forest beans, small red (a brown bean like you've never eaten before) and the tastiest potatoes.
After Ee, you cycle to Engwierum. To be precise, to organic care farm Timpelsteed, for the pesticide-free seasonal fruits and vegetables. Not all products in the farm shop are equally beautiful in shape, because they prefer not to waste food. As long as it tastes good, it doesn’t matter what it looks like.
Along the Lauwersmeer, where the SPNA experimental farm is busy with saline agriculture, continue to Anjum for a visit to artisan butcher Menno Hoekstra, who sells Scottish Highlanders from the Lauwersmeer area, among other things. All products are local and come from their own slaughterhouse. If you're not a vegetarian, it’s a good excuse to bring along that dried sausage.
If you prefer to buy your natural meat from the farmer himself, then it’s just a short bike ride. Just outside Anjum is the Frisian Angus van Folkert van der Zee farm shop at No. 8 Boltawei. The shop is named after the black cattle variety that Van der Zee grazes in the nature reserve on the way to Lauwersoog, but he also sells several other local products here. The store is only open on Fridays and Saturdays.
To continue your route to Paesens-Moddergat you can cycle along the main road or back to Anjum to take the parallel Alddyk (old dike). In the ancient village of Paesens-Moddergat, a monument recalls the disaster that struck the village's fishing fleet in 1883 and killed almost all the men. Museum 't Fiskerhuske gives a good picture of the conditions in which they left their wives and daughters behind.
Seen everything in Peasens-Moddergat? When leaving the village, pay attention to the old shrimp factory. It’s a beautiful monument to the Taste of the Wadden. Cycle through the old fishing village of Wierum to Hantumhuizen, Hantum and Brantgum and then on to Raard and Sybrandahûs. In addition to a lovely church where concerts are regularly held, this hamlet also has a goat farm that you might want to visit to buy a piece of Hooidammer cheese. This is a goat cheese with loads of flavour that owners Melle and Tineke de Vries have made in Heerenveen and sell at home.
After Sybrandahûs, it’s only a short journey back to the Markt in Dokkum, where the Waard van Dokkum awaits, as long as you’ve made a reservation. Enjoy! And if it's getting late, you can always ask if they still have a room available in the old abbey.
Looking for more tasty places in the Wadden region? See the Taste of the Wadden