A moment with the “stroopwafel” man
January 6, 2012 77 Comments
It was love at first bite when way back in 1996 I encountered “stroopwafels”, that sweet and crunchy caramel waffles that is so typical here. I remember hoarding them for “pasalubong” or presents to family, colleagues and friends in the Philippines. The recipients, just like me, all fell in love with it as well…at first bite.
Every time I go back home to the Philippines, I usually would bring these caramel waffles together with the Bastogne cookies. Both are addictive I can tell you. They are preferred presents than chocolates because the latter can be bought there anyway.
When we went to Albert Heijn supermarket last Saturday, I saw this “stroopwafel man” at the entrance. He had pieces of the waffles for customers to sample to I was tempted to have a little piece but resisted the idea of buying a pack of 10. I’m sure that I won’t be able to resist eating them all so better not as I am trying to stay away from sweets this new year after indulging so much last Christmas season.
Instead, I asked him if I can take some shots while he was making the waffles. He was actually happy to show the whole process and I can take pictures. He regaled me with stories of the good old days when this waffles making was really a real art and tradition. These days, the production is mechanized which is more cost efficient because of economies of scale used and fast. Indeed, we can just buy the waffles inside the supermarket at a much cheaper price.
What is he then doing at this supermarket? He is employed by the supermarket to make these waffles as a come on to shoppers and to provide that “gezelligheid” or coziness that is so typical Dutch. The aim is to still keep this old craft fresh and vivid in the consciousness of everyone in this day and age when mechanism has in most cases, overtaken so many of the manual aspect of work.
I asked him if he also made the dough and the caramel by himself. I was actually curious and interested to get the recipe and may attempt to make them myself. To my surprise, he told me that the ingredients (dough and caramel) are also produced in bulk by the waffles company near Gouda. Thus, nothing is homemade anymore about these waffles.