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Now that Limburg is busy preparing for the annual carnival celebrations, it’s the ideal moment to take a closer look at some of the colourful Dutch province’s typical products and dishes. Limburg enjoys a reputation for being the most bon vivant of all the Dutch provinces, something that is clearly reflected in their rich culinary traditions.
Limburgse vlaai is a delicious pie made from an exceptionally light dough that looks somewhat similar to a bread dough. The pie is crammed with tempting fruits (including cherries, plums, apples and gooseberries) or rice and covered with thin strips of dough arranged in a pleasing diamond pattern. The pie is then baked in an oven until it turns a lovely golden brown and usually served with coffee or tea.
Zoervleisj is a traditional Limburg’s stew prepared from horsemeat that has been simmered gently in vinegar, peperkoek (gingerbread) and stroop (syrup). The fact that the dish contains syrup is actually no coincidence – appelstroop (apple syrup) is a typical Limburg’s product. Indeed one of the largest appelstroop manufacturers, Canisius, has a factory in the South Limburg town of Schinnen.
Zult is so quintessentially Limburg’s that you’ll struggle to find it outside of the province. It’s made from the leftovers of a pig (usually the head, tail and ears), which is cooked together with pickled gherkins, peppers and a blend of herbs until they form a gelatinous mass. Once this mixture has cooled it is pressed into a terrine dish and cut into cubes for serving. Zult is commonly enjoyed as a snack with drinks or used as a tasty spread.
Although you can buy asparagus throughout the Netherlands, most of it comes from the fertile soils of North Limburg. The Dutch asparagus season is brief, lasting from April to June. During this period the Limburg’s village of Grubbenvorst, where the asparagus is auctioned, becomes a veritable hub of activity. Fresh asparagus should be peeled prior to cooking for around 8 to 10 minutes, although these days you can conveniently buy ready to eat asparagus in a jar. In Limburg asparagus is traditionally served with a creamy white sauce and a pinch of nutmeg or rolled up in a slice of ham.
The main difference between Limburgs roggebrood (rye bread) and other types of roggebrood is that the Limburg variety tends to be drier and less sweet. Limburg rye bread is made from ground wheat flour and rye. Sourdough is used as the leavening agent, which gives the bread its slightly acidic flavour. Limburgers prefer to eat their roggebrood spread liberally with rinse appelstroop.
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit to our sister blog, heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?