New Catch Holland Herring
is another name of Hollandse Nieuwe. In the Netherlands June is the month of New Catch Holland Herring at a time of year when the silver fish gain up to 25% fat from feasting on plankton in the waters of the North Sea.
The first barrel of "Hollandse Nieuwe" — or "Maatjesharing", as the green or matjes herring is called — is put on auction in the last week of May. This auction officially opens the herring season.
In the weeks that follow the first auction there are several herring parties, days and special activities.
The most well known of these events is the Vlaggetjesdag in Scheveningen, where a herring fleet abundantly decorated with flags, celebrates the opening of the new season.
And though not as expensive as the first barrel of Hollandse Nieuwe, the "Koniginenharing" (Queen's herring) is probably the best herring around.
This is judged upon the fat percentage of the fish, with the higher percentage of fat making a better tasting fish. These fish are normally caught a few weeks after the opening of the season in the second half of June.
Customarily, if available, a barrel of this royal fish is presented to Queen Beatrix.
Herring can be preserved and sold all year, but Hollandse Nieuwe is only available from the middle of May to the middle of July, when it is eaten in its typical manner, that is, straight down the hatch!
After July, herring is only referred to as Maatjesharing — older and green herring taste different.
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