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Whilst the province of Utrecht has always played a pivotal role in Dutch history, it has had significantly less impact in the culinary arena. Yet, surprisingly there are still plenty of typical Utrecht delicacies, many of which are an absolute must for visitors to the Netherlands and food lovers around the world!
These deliciously thin, round, flat biscuits made from buckwheat flour, cinnamon and aniseed are somewhat similar in appearance to stroopwafels (syrup waffles), except that Prauwels are rolled up immediately after baking. Traditionally enjoyed at New Year, these days Prauwels can also be purchased from specialist Utrecht bakers at any other time of year.
A hearty Utrecht dish consisting of carrots, potatoes, onions, kidney beans and apples and richly flavoured using bacon and broth. Vijfschaft is commonly served with boerenworst (farmer’s sausage) or rookworst (smoked sausage) and was a particular favourite with Dutch farmers when severe winter frosts prevented them from working in the fields. To learn how to make this incredibly satisfying Dutch stew at home, click Vijschaft recipe.
Hernhuttertjes are tempting butter biscuits, which are fashioned into distinctive shapes using special Hernhutterjes moulds. They were first created in the eighteenth century by a small Moravian community who left the German village of Hernhut (which means ‘under the protection of the Lord’) for the Utrecht village of Zeist. This small group of settlers began to bake their own biscuits, which are now known as Hernhuttertjes, in an effort to remain as self-sufficient as possible.
The Dutch sometimes say Janhagel when they really mean hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles). Janhagel is a mouth-watering Utrecht ginger biscuit generously topped with coarse sugar and almonds. During the Second World War it was also a nickname for the Dutch home guard who were routinely armed with shotguns, although the term ‘Janhagel’ originated in the 17th century and is thought to refer to the rather boorish behaviour of Dutch sailors.
Prefer to read this article in Dutch? Then why not visit our sister blog, Heimwee.info, specifically intended for Dutch emigrants abroad?