08 Mar Are Pannenkoeken really Dutch?
If you live in the Netherlands you know how much people love here their pannenkoeken (pancakes). There are some restaurants specialised in this delicious, yet so simple, dish and offer them in a myriad of choices, sweet or savoury.
If you are a tourist visiting the country I’m sure one of the things they have recommend you to do is to try one or two at a “Pannenkoeken huis”.
But, the question is, are the pannenkoeken as Dutch as Gouda cheese? Why are they so typically Dutch?
Let’s travel back in time and go to China and Nepal in the 12th century. What do we see? They are already eating pancakes, cooked with buckwheat and water. History says that the crusaders liked them so much that they brought them to Europe.
The recipe changed with time and due to the concept travelling across the different regions in Europe, so some time later people in the Netherlands and other countries started to replace the buckwheat with flour and added eggs and milk instead of just water.
Nowadays, you’re more likely to find buckwheat pancakes only in Britany where they are one of the regional delights, especially when accompanied with a glass of cider. In the centre of Rennes you will find one creperie after another, apart from stunning middle ages and gothic architecture. Once there, don’t ask for a crepe but for a gallette since this is how the Bretons call them.
The reality is that in almost every country in the world we find a version of the same thing, pancakes.
In France and England we find the famous crepes, in Germany they have a version called Pfannkuchen, in Scotland they call them Ulsters, in Spain Frixuelos, etc.
Many people think that the Europeans brought the pancake to America but the reality is that the Native Americans already had a similar thing called “Nokehick”. Freely translated this means “no cake” and consisted in pounded cornmeal shaped into pancake-like rounds.
During the 18th century the Dutch made the buckwheat cake popular in America, which developed later on in their famous thick pancakes, which are mainly eaten for breakfast.
No one will deny that the Pannenkoeken are a big thing in the Netherlands, and probably the Dutch eat them more often than in any other places, surely due to their variety of flavours and because they always bring good moments.
In Holland you can eat pannenkoeken not only for breakfast but also for lunch with cheese and ham or as a snack in the afternoon with lemon and sugar. Any moment of the day is a good moment.
In The Hague we are very lucky because we can eat pannenkoeken while enjoying a nice day at the beach, no matter if it’s winter or summer, at ‘t Pannekoekenhuisje on Scheveningen Beach. We can sit inside in winter lekker near the heating, or out in the terrace enjoying the view of the ocean when the weather is good.
The place, located at the base of the beautiful Kurhaus hotel, opened its doors in 1972 and has been run by three generations of pancakes lovers. It’s a traditional establishment with a lot of character which walls can tell us hundreds of stories.
The place is very popular among locals as well as tourists, not only for its great location but also because during all these years they’d tried all kinds of crazy combinations, like pancakes with chicken curry.
They still make special and crazy pancakes but also traditional ones, with fresh ingredients. There’s always a choice for even the “difficult-to-please” ones we all know!
And if you want to enjoy the mini version of a pannenkoek, you have to try the poffertjes with sugar, whipped cream and fresh strawberries. You can’t go more Dutch than that!
Ask this little fella!
Kids love poffertjes….
Posted by 't Pannekoekenhuisje Scheveningen on Sunday, July 27, 2014