The purpose of these “Food with Alessia” posts is to demonstrate and try some Dutch foods! Together with my Italian friend Alessia, who does not know so much about Dutch food yet, I will post a video every two weeks with an accompanying post. So get ready to enjoy some very delicious minutes of Dutch food…
We will start off with Breakfast! We chose 5 products that are typical for the Dutch morning cuisine: hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles), tijgerbrood (“tiger bread”), ontbijtkoek (“breakfast cake”), pindakaas (peanut butter), and, of course, oude kaas (old cheese). So what does Alessia think about these things?
This was the basis for our other “test objects”. Tijgerbrood is a typical Dutch kind of bread. There is nothing really special about the dough or taste, but the structure on top of the bread – it looks like tiger fur. It is, as Dutch bread usually is, quite soft, very comparable to American bread. However, opposed to American bread, Dutch bread does usually not contain any sweeteners and other stuff… It is pretty good!
Hagelslag has a nice story to it. Apparently, there was a 7-year old boy that sent a letter to the chocolate company Venz, and asked if they could make chocolate that he could put on his bread – and they came up with hagelslag. Alessia really liked it, but wondered why the sprinkle shape was chosen. The sprinkle shape….
Pindakaas itself is American, invented by Dr. Kellogg in a time of a peanut surplus in 1893. Calvé only started making pindakaas in 1948 when there was much need for nutritious food after the Second World War. But in most other countries where pindakaas is popular, it is called peanut butter, which would have been pindaboter in the Netherlands. So why peanut cheese?
The word probably originates in Suriname, a former colony of The Netherlands. They had a product made of peanuts, but with the structure of cheese. This word, “peanut cheese”, then was used by the Dutch merchants for peanut butter for the first time in 1872. When in 1948 peanut butter entered the Dutch market, it was not allowed to be called pindaboter. The word boter was only allowed to refer to real butter – and thus it could not be used. When it was compared to leverkaas, also a cheese-free bread spread, the word pindakaas was chosen.
Peijnenburg, the original Dutch company that makes this delicious “breakfast cake” introduced the well-known koekhappen (“Cake snapping”), where a slice of this ontbijtkoek is hung up on a cord and you are to bite it off. The company started in 1883. They have some really great commercials with this, like this one. Happen naar Peijnenburg!
Another, quite similar kind of koek is kruidkoek. But we will get to that one another time.
Also important to note is this: when you say koekje (“Small cake”) it actually means shortbread or biscuit. Koek practically always refers to the cake like the ontbijtkoek. So heed that difference!
We chose to go for Old Amsterdam, a cheese that even has its own store in Amsterdam. Old Amsterdam means Oud Amsterdam. Oude kaas is old cheese, meaning it ripened longer. Then the cheese can develop a genuine and unique character, which can spice up the taste quite a bit. The Westland family has made and developed this cheese throughout the last century. It is really tasty! And it must be – otherwise it would not have its own store, right?
Have you had any of these foods before? Do you have suggestions for other Dutch foods we should test? Please let me know!