VLA is Dutch – all you need to know Posted by Sten on Oct 12, 2015 in Culture, food
VLA – what do these three letters mean in the Netherlands? A mysterious secret service? A shortcut for a big city in the Netherlands? Maybe something… astronomical?
All NO, NO, NO! I am talking about something delicious here. The Netherlands is famous for its Heineken beer, its cheeses, bikes, marijuana, dykes and flatness. But not for the toetje (dessert) vla, weirdly!
Vla is an exclusive to the Netherlands, and not widespread in the world. I think that is because it is fresh zuivel (dairy), and can therefore not easily be transported… And maybe it is also a matter of taste?
Well, it is a warm recommendation from me: the next time you are in the Netherlands, go get some Vla! It is not a dessert you can find in restaurants usually, so just walk into a supermarket and head right to the refrigerated zuivel section. Next to the kwark (quark) and yoghurt (Yogurt).
So what is vla exactly?
The law has something to say about this, actually! In the Warenwetbesluit Zuivel (Product Law Decision Dairy), Article 14, it is specified that a dairy product may only be called Vla if it contains:
- zetmeel (starch) as an important ingredient and at least 50% cow milk;
- a milk fat level of at least 2.6%;
- other ingredients needed (like a flavoring, sugar, etc.).
This should result in a dikvloeibaar samengesteld zuivelproduct (thick liquid, composed dairy product).
This all sounds a bit scientific and not very telling – what is it actually? It has a consistency between yogurt and pudding, and is very smooth.
It also comes in a lot of different flavors, always with a good amount of sugar, to make it nice and sweet. Very popular are Vanilla and Chocolate. There are many, many varieties, from those where chocolate balls are added, real pieces of fruit, where two or even more different flavors are mixed (VlaFlip, Dubbelvla…). Of course there are also light versions, with less sugar and added sweetener, for example. Or another type of lightness: luchtig toetje. This is vla with added air, to make it fluffy.
It is mostly eaten as a toetje (dessert), but can also be eaten as a tussendoortje (snack).
Adding some ingredients yourself can be nice too. For example, vanilla vla with jam or fresh fruit is great. Or add some yoghurt to give it less of a sweet taste. Adding some hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles) is of course also possible. Well, the possibilities are endless!
I am a super big fan of it!
Where can I get this?!
Since vla is not much available outside of the Netherlands, Belgium and parts of far west Germany, I found some recipes for you. Below a video in Dutch, which explains how to make vla quickly yourself!
If that all went too quick for you, this English explanation might help you!
Have you heard of vla before? Have you found it in your country?
In case you have had it before, what do you think about it?