Dunkin’ Donuts in the Netherlands

As an expat American living in the Netherlands, I am kind of thrilled when a taste of America shows up on the shelves in the grocery store or a restaurant opens up with promises of remembered delicacies. For example, when I first got here, I could go to Burger King (which tastes the same as it does in the States) or McDonald’s (which doesn’t) to get a little frisson of “home”. I don’t drink soda, so the aisles of Coke at the grocery store offered no solace and the many products marketed as ‘American Style’ were uniformly disappointing imitations.

I was thrilled when Subway opened up a shop in my home town. And then I ate there and remembered why I didn’t eat there when I lived next to one in North Carolina.

There’s a KFC which is too yummy and, thankfully, a 20 minute bike ride away.

Taco Bell showed up earlier this year, but it tastes different and doesn’t offer the only thing I really REALLY wanted to have, a 7-layer burrito.

Basically, when American stuff shows up here, I am torn between my hope that it will hit my taste buds in just the right way to remember happy times from childhood and my pessimism that some corporate hack won’t screw up perfection by trying to ‘fit’ their product for the Dutch market.

So I was pretty stoked when Dunkin’ Donuts opened up a few locations in the Netherlands. A great donut is a great donut. Once you know how to make donuts and have a winning combination, you wouldn’t futz with that, would you?

I had to take an hour long train ride to get there. But the lure of Long Johns and Crullers and Donut Holes and that Dunkin’ Donuts coffee was a siren song . . . irresistible temptation!

I made that journey.

I arrived in the gleaming new Dunkin’ Donuts in Eindhoven at 7:30 this morning, hoping for fresh donuts and looking forward to a severe sugar and caffeine overdose to start my working day.

No Long Johns.

No Crullers.

No Holes.

This was what I was hoping for:

What I got was some over-decorated donuts with lots of sugar glaze and none of the flavor of their American brethren. A small scattering of donut types and flavors that would have a tough time battling what you could find in any American truck stop. I got a few to try, anyway. It was a journey and I didn’t want to leave empty handed. They did not taste better than they looked.

Heartbreak and desultory donut eating on a train.

I gave half of them to people in the office.

I just couldn’t bear the crushing weight of my crushed expectations.

Bitter.