Koen and I celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Roosendaal, first at his Aunt Maartje and Uncle Sjaak’s house and then at the Brörmann house for Christmas. Unfortunately Nikki, Brigiet, and Sofie could not make it to Roosendaal to celebrate with us – Nikki and Brigiet were in Friesland and Sofie was surfing in Spain! Christmas Eve, we all made special dishes – Koen and I made two types of meatballs – and enjoyed an evening with lots of laughter and delicious food. The next day began with Christmas brunch. The entire afternoon we took turns in the kitchen preparing for dinner. I made macarons for the first time! Oma joined us for our delicious dinner which included a game where we guess what Dook is thinking. Koen and I were the winners guessing Roy Donder’s huispak and Oma’s pearl necklace! After dinner we facetimed my family in the States where they were also enjoying Christmas dinner! Also, special thank you to Barbara for the beautiful photos from Christmas!
Last weekend Koen and I helped out with his father’s wine tasting event – the Tipies Wijncafé (Teepee Wine Café). It was a join venture with my father-in-law’s Grand Vin and one of the Brörmann’s favorite restaurants Het Hooihuis. This is the second time Grand Vin has hosted a wine tasting at Het Hooihuis and we had beautiful sunny weather and a great turnout! Special for the warm weather, Grand Vin debuted its new Rosé and Rosé Spumante. I especially enjoyed the spumante all afternoon! To pair with the wine, Het Hooihuis created a special menu including oysters, burgers, and white asparagus soup. Yum!
For Sinterklaas, I must have been very good because I received a lot of delicious goodies from Koen – foie gras, truffle oil, various cheeses, and wine! I am not very patient when it comes to delicious food (I must get that from my father, who always says ironically that patience is his middle name). With that in mind I wanted try to incorporate everything into one decadent dinner!
Decadent Mini-Burgers! My plate is featured below. I created 2 foie gras burgers and 1 Stilton burger! All 3 were drizzled in truffle oil and topped off with raspberry-onion confiture!
A few weekends ago, Koen and I happily accepted a large amount of wild boar from a friend of Koen’s father. I had only had boar once before in a kroket form, so I was excited to try it in other ways.
Sinterklaas in the Netherlands is celebrated the 5th of December (and the 6th in Belgium) but because my sister-in-law Nikki was in Pakistan, we celebrated a bit later. There are a few differences between the Dutch Sinterklaas and the American Santa Clause. Although the Sint brings gifts to the “braaf” or good children, he is much more strict than my dear Santa. If you are bad, not only do you receive a “roe”, or a cane to be whipped with, but also you will be taken from your parents and home in Sinterklaas’ bag and brought back to Spain, where the Sint lives!
Also, Sinterklaas does not have elves to help him with the days up to Christmas, instead he has Zwarte Pieten, black companions that arrive with him on his steamboat from Spain to help distribute treats. Although originally black to represent the Moorish people who once occupied the Netherlands, they are now black because they are covered in soot from the chimneys! But as an American here, I don’t think I will ever get used to seeing so many people in black face with huge red lips, afros, and golden hoop earrings!
The 21st of July is the Nationale Feestdag van België. The south of the Netherlands proclaimed independence to form the Kingdom of Belgium (the official name) on the 25th of August 1830. This was the start of the Belgian Revolution, which ended on the 14th of July 1831. Leopold I became the first king of Belgium the 21st of July 1831, and every year on this day everyone celebrates in Belgium.
But because the 21st was on a Saturday this year, I went to the Netherlands to spend the weekend (it’s rare that I have 2 days off in a row!). Koen and I had a relaxing time in Roosendaal, enjoying good wine (from Grand Vin, of course), food, and weather.
Friday the 20th