If you weren't aware before, the Dutch are not big bakers. As far as I can tell, they aren't really much for the domestic arts: no Dutch Etsy; very few young people taking up knitting, crocheting, or sewing; and very little baking going on in the kitchens. I scavenged two major cities last year in an effort to find cake flour before I finally just gave up and had friends bring some over in their suitcases. When I asked about it in stores, I just got blank stares. I've had the same reaction for other ingredients like baking soda, molasses, corn syrup (no surprise considering the main sweetening source in Europe is the sugar beet), condensed milk, vanilla extract...good God, this list could go on forever! I will now add to that baker's chocolate.
Just straight up, plain old, nothing special baker's chocolate. The kind I found in my mom's pantry when I was young, thought I had hit the chocolate jackpot, and after one bite and realized my sorry mistake. Niek and I spent probably a good four hours hunting it down in Amsterdam and failed! Because, you know, I just needed to have the 1.5 oz. of baker's chocolate for the chocolate and peppermint crackle cookies, otherwise the recipe would be a disaster! After whining and crying a little bit I eventually did just give up and buy the chocolate with the highest cocoa content and the lowest amount of sugar. Incidentally, I found baker's chocolate the next day at the American & British store for about $9, but seeing as I had already dropped a small fortune on the fair trade, organic, grown in small batches by self-sustaining family farmers in South America, bitter, dark chocolate, I was no longer in the mood to pay for the privilege of buying what seemed to be a novelty food item.
The day I searched for ingredients wasn't all that bad. Here is my look of triumph from the spice store that actually had peppermint extract: