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The day of Sinterklaas

Visitors to The Netherlands during this time of the year, would have noticed the first signs of one of our country’s most special celebration.  The day of Sinterklaas (nicknamed Sint). Although the feast has its roots in old Catholic traditions – these have been eroded through the years and have left us with a fun, children friendly, full of sweet treats, family festivity. I will discus the origin of the event and its intriguing connection to one of the world most famous figures – Santa Clause (father Christmas), in another blog. For now, for those of you visiting us in the coming month (until 6 December) it might be useful to understand some of the traditions you encounter. Firstly, the most obvious elements of the feast during the month of October would be special Sinterklaas delicacies which appear in special corners in the food stores. In the beginning they occupy an obscure corner of the shop, but will gradually advance to a prime location towards the end of the month. 

•    Pepernoot/ Kruidnoot – Traditional small and round, spiced cookies. these are used by Sinterklaas and his helpers the black Pete to throw to the children, but are also eaten with great delight by the coffee.
•    Speculaas – thin crunchy cookies spiced with a variety of exotic spices. These serve as a delightful accompaniment to hot drinks (especially hot chocolate) during the dark autumn days.
•    Chocolate letters – one of the common Sinterklaas presents is a chocolate letter – usually the first letter of your name.
•    Figures of Sinterklaas – chocolate or Marzipan figures are also very popular.
•    Marzipan – anything made of this sweet confection is suitable as a Sinterklaas treat. 

Try some of our holiday specialties during your visit and don’t forget to thank the Sint – you want to be on his good side.

*Follow us on Twitter in the coming weeks and get updates to where the Sint is and how to get there.


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H. Deutekom
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