this is the archive for the ‘in the netherlands’ category:


speculoos spread

ladies and gentlemen, let me introduce you to the best thing this side of nutella’s invention:

i wish blogs could convey the scent that emanates from this precious jar. it’s… indescribably mouth-watering. our friend isa showed it to us when we were staying with her, and in our excitement we almost forgot our manners and inhaled all of her precious stock! good lord, i could swear they lace it with crack…

speculoos are crunchy spiced (pepper, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg) cookies from the netherlands and belgium. they taste a bit like crispier gingerbread cookies… but better! it’s hard to explain, the flavour is so characteristic – and in my mind irrevocably connected to afternoons writing my master thesis in the netherlands, with a cup of tea by my side.

the spread tastes like the cookies, and has an interesting story too:

In the area of Europe centered on Eeklo, Belgium, where the speculoos cookie originated, local workers had long known that a sandwich made in the morning with butter and speculoos cookies would develop a spread-like consistency by lunchtime.
In 2008, two competitors entered a contest on the Belgian television show, The Inventors (de Bedenkers), with a spread made from speculoos cookies— Els Scheppers, who reached the semi finals, and the team of chef Danny De Mayer and Dirk De Smet, who weren’t selected as finalists. Spreads made from crushed Speculoos cookies would subsequently go into production by three separate companies, and by the time they arrived in Belgian supermarkets, Speculoos spread caused a sensation, taking the “Benelux market by storm.”

it’s still hard to find in germany, but we’ve spotted it at kaiser’s and have been sharing it with all our friends ever since. seriously, give it a go if you can get it! :D

the postcrossing stamps

i shouldn’t let the week pass without mentioning the new postcrossing stamps. they’re the reason we detoured our vacation to the netherlands, so that p. could receive the first sheet of stamps from the hands of postnl’s marketing manager.

it’s a true honour to have your work immortalised in a stamp, and somewhat of a surreal feeling too. we’ve bought the stamp and used it on postcards, but it still feels strange to think that people out there are sending postcards with it.

stamps are reserved for remarkable things, the kind that we want to collect and remember – and having postcrossing up there in that category is pretty neat. after all, how many websites have their own stamp? :)

Patat with mayonnaise

there’s something so simple and right about this… the netherlands might be the land of snacks & small pleasures :)

stroopwafles!


how can one come to the netherlands and resist the omnipresent stroopwafle? it would be like going to belgium and not eating chocolate…
the sweet smell coming from a tent on the alkmaar fair was enough to stop us on our tracks and grab a couple of them. these thin slices of warm waffle, stuck together with syrup are a divine dutch treat. yum!



next, hagelslag!

hagelslag (blowing hail?) are dutch chocolate sprinkles – invented in 1936 by mr. de vries, in reply to a child who wrote him asking for a chocolate topping to put on his bread.
to use them, spread some butter a piece of bread and sprinkle some on top. allow me to illustrate:



the butter is optional, but it helps them stick better. more than the different flavours, i think what makes hagelslag special is the texture – it’s just nice to bite the tiny crunchy pieces of chocolate, and let them slowly melt in your mouth…

they have a special kind of sprinkles called muisjes (little mice) that are spread on round rusks when a baby is born, and offered to friends or family. they’re either pink or blue, according to the sex of the newborn. isn’t that a nice tradition? :)