We need to talk about stroopwafels.
Why, of all things, would I begin to recount six weeks’ worth of European adventure with stroopwafels? Good question. What I do know is that I can’t stop thinking about the goddamn things, and if any friend or family member ever travels to the Netherlands and returns without a packet (or five) for me, there will be severe consequences.
Mat and I spent three days in beautiful Amsterdam to tie off our trip. A little weary after six weeks on the road, it turned out to be the perfect place to stop, unwind and soak in the last of Europe before our journey home. Amsterdam was just one of those destinations that made my heart sing. Tree-lined canals, cobbled streets flanked by those wonderfully tall, skinny houses, crossing the IJ by ferry to reach our little Airbnb houseboat, and an incredible world of cute little cafes and shops; the Dutch capital romanced us with a delightful, quiet charm.
The stroopwafel, or ‘syrup waffle’, comes in two forms: the first is a large, freshly pressed treat usually found at bakeries and markets. We tracked down a small, canal-side bakery called Lanskroon – Google hinted this was one of the best places for a fresh stroopwafel fix, and it did not disappoint. As big as my plate, the stroopwafel consisted of two thin, crispy waffle layers with a thick syrup sandwiched in between. Fresh from the press, it was warm and crunchy and oozy, and tasted of caramel and toffee. It was divine. We shared Lanskroon mostly with elderly locals (through the trip, we realised this usually meant the discovery of some seriously top-notch eats), as well as a handsome little tortoiseshell-and-white cat. It was the perfect little morning pitstop.
The second type of stroopwafel is a smaller, softer version, bought by the packet in stores. We picked up a packet of about ten in a busy sweets store called Metropolitan, located on Warmoesstraat right by the Red Light District. It wasn’t until we arrived back in Australia that we busted it open, at which point we realised what fools we had been for bringing home only one packet. These snacks are the bomb. And according to strict Dutch lore, there is a very special way one must eat these stroopwafels. You see, their size is quite conveniently appropriate to that of the rim of a coffee cup. After preparing a hot drink (coffee, tea, hot chocolate – anything goes!), one should rest a stroopwafel atop the coffee cup for about five minutes. Over the course of these five minutes, the steam from the hot drink softens both the lower waffle half and the delicious, caramel filling inside. The result is chewy and oozy and again, divine. And oh, the aroma! These stroopwafels had a hint more cinnamon to them, which I loved. It was a truly glorious week of nightly cuppas and stroopwafels before that final, bittersweet ritual, I can tell you.
Really, that’s it for our little talk. Guys, stroopwafels are freakin’ amazing – if you ever have the chance, you should eat and/or buy as many of them as you can. Seriously. I’m not kidding on this one. And if anyone happens to know of a good supplier in Melbourne…