A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Hey there. Though I am a new entry on The (fabulous) Leidener, I have been living in Leiden for over a year now. Coming from a country that is famous for its marvellous food, Italy, one might wonder how we food-loving southern Europeans would feel about the choice of food in the Netherlands, a place that is not particularly famous for its culinary wonders. I often hear about worried fellow Italians who feel lost and desperate and on the verge of depression, because they miss their (legitimately) good cuisine. Well, friends, don’t be fooled. I gained 6 kg during my stay in Leiden, and the explanation is: Dutch desserts are dope! From stroopwafels to vla, you will find it hard to resist all of these temptations.
I already knew vla before coming here, since I took a trip in the southern Netherlands many years ago and the sweet treat was basically my most beautiful memory! It is a simple custard produced in many different flavours and types, you can find varieties with chocolate chips in them, or fresh Summer flavours with yoghurt mixed in. However, my favourite one has always been the simple, delicious, delicate vanille vla. There is a cool culinary blog which features the recipe to make your own vanille vla at home, which is surely healthier than the supermarket version: http://www.thedutchtable.com/2012/03/vanillevla.html. Moreover, it is also possible to find non-dairy varieties made with soymilk, which I absolutely love! Vla is usually described as an after-dinner dessert: I have heard stories that you non-Dutch humans would find hard to digest, literally, such as cups of vla mixed in your plate with the remnants of your savoury meaty dinner, nom nom! However, I have always eaten it for breakfast with my corn flakes, as a substitute for milk. But I am free of my vla addiction now, since I would count this wonderful cup of joy as one of the main reasons for my weight gain, and I have sadly but resolutely decided to abandon it altogether!
You might have noticed I mentioned another renowned Dutch remedy for all the sadness in the world: stroopwafels. Buttery, crisp and sticky at the same time, it is a kind of cookie with a layer of caramel-like syrup in it. The name of the treat actually means just that: syrup and wafer. If you, like me, are also addicted to coffee, dip it in your morning cup and it will not only melt in your mouth, but melt you heart too. How can you ever feel sad about Dutch food when you have this super-lekker treats in your kitchen? And if you’re worried about gaining weight, like I did, do not despair: hop on your bike and it will all be ok!
Other honourable mentions in my list of dopey desserts impossible to resist are: speculoos cookies (and paste! Yes, there is a paste just like Nutella, but made from cookies), gevulde koek and the awesome poffertjes.