poniedziałek, 21 listopada 2011

Sweets from Santa Claus

As a declared sweet tooth sooner or later I would have to write about sweets! And because the Santa Claus period is coming and as we all know it's a period of seasonal sweets, now is the perfect opportunity to write. 

Already for some time I've been seeing everywhere in confectioneries, newsletters and shopwindows figures of... no, not the Santa Claus... of the cute little black boys in colorful costumes. Since I came here I already learned about every child beloved tradition. In the Netherland Santa Claus (or rather Sinterklaas) comes on the 5th December, not like in most of other western countries on 6th. Even more, he doesn't come through the chimney. He comes on the boat. From Spain! This all doesn't make much sense for me now, cause as far as I know, the prototype was from Turkey, but for some weird reason most of modern societies placed him on the North Pole or Lapland. Well than sure... why couldn't he come from Iberian Peninsula? From historic-geographic point of view it doesn't make sense anyway. Now another amusing fact: Sinterklaas is accompanied by not Elfs, but these cute little black boys called Zwarte Pieten (meaning: Black Peters). I have a feeling that they are way more popular than  Sinterklaas himself. It's quite understandable since it's Zwarte Pieten who throw sweets in the crowd of children and hand in presents.

Zwarte Pieten in the shopwindow
And what is it what they throw these little Peters? Tiny, round gingerspiece cookies called Kruidnoten, to which I'm already addicted. I often hear as people are calling them also Pepernoten, but it's not really correct. Both kinds of cookies are quite similar because of more less same spieces used for making them. However they are different with its color, shape and most of all taste. While crunchy, brown and round kruidnootjes are made of typical gingerbread mix of spieces: cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg, white pepper, the pepernootjes are soft and have very strong anisic taste, lightbrown color and shape of irregular cubes. I haven't try them yet and I'm not planning since I hate anise.

few kruidnootjes
There's one more typical for this season baking: gingerbread, here called speculaas. I specially liked the version of a soft dough filled with marcepane. Yummy! I recommend to all gingerbread lovers.

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