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Friesland might be best known for its world famous Elfstedentocht, but the Dutch province (officially known as Fryslân) also boasts a rich culinary tradition that has been enjoyed far longer than the celebrated ice skating event.
Below is a list of typical Frisian products with both the original Frisian and Dutch names for reference.
Friese nagelkaas (Fryske Tsiis)
Frisian clove cheese, also known as kanterkaas, kanternagelkaas or kanterkomijnekaas, is a particularly pungent cheese flavoured with cumin and cloves. It is firm, flat and round and best enjoyed when left to mature for some time. For this reason, the cheese is often matured for up to 6 months, after which it becomes hard, dry and takes on a slightly sour flavour. Due to its solid crust, Frisian clove cheese can be somewhat difficult to cut. It’s therefore recommended to warm the cheese to room temperature and soften it by covering with a damp tea towel before serving. This traditional Frisian cheese is ideal on bread, crackers and toast, or served on its own with drinks. It can also be used in a variety of warm meals and delicious sauces.
These typical Frisian biscuits are no bigger than a thumb (hence the name Duimpje, which means thumb in Dutch) and prepared using a tasty blend of anise, ginger and cinnamon. Whilst you can easily recreate these tempting cookies at home, if you visit Friesland you’ll be able to purchase them in bakeries and supermarkets throughout the province. You’ll also find that local cafes and restaurants serve these sought-after Dutch biscuits with coffee.
Fries suikerbrood (Fryske Sûkerbôle)
Frisian sugar loaf was traditionally given as a present to mothers of newborn baby girls. The suikerbrood is rectangular in shape, contains 40% sugar and is baked in the oven. Although other Dutch provinces boast their own versions of sugar loaf, Frisian sugar loaf is instantly recognisable thanks to its generous sugar content and distinct cinnamon flavour. These days Frisian sugar loaf is a favourite throughout the Netherlands and is available in almost every Dutch supermarket. Alternatively, you can have a go at making Frisian sugar loaf yourself.
Oranjekoek (Fryske Oranjekoeke)
Unlike its name might suggest, orange cake is not served on Queen’s Day (or indeed King’s Day for matter), but rather at Dutch weddings, and takes its name from the orange peel that decorates it. The colourful cake features a plate shaped base onto which a pink glazing and whipped cream is applied. Orange peel is then scattered liberally over the cream to give the cake a decidedly festive look.
A spicy liqueur that originated in 18th century Amsterdam, where it was first brewed by gin distillers using spice merchant Hendrik Beerenburg’s secret blend of herbs. Berenburg however was popular mainly in the north of Holland and became intrinsically linked to Friesland. If you happen to holiday in Friesland, look out for Beerinnenburg, a special variety of Berenburg sweetened with syrup and honey and often referred to as ‘Berenburg for the ladies.’
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit to our sister blog, heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?