Photographed at the entrance of the VU University Medical Center Amsterdam by Twitter user @vankarine, this advert from Dutch supermarket chain Albert Heijn featuring Dutch Tony’s Chocolonely chocolate bars seems to be attempting to cash in on people’s covid-infused sleepless nights.
The sign says ‘These won’t make it to the holidays’, which is what is being said about covid patients in hospitals. It has caused some outrage, and rumour has it the signs are being pulled because they are in poor taste – shocker. I hope the person who thought this up has a few sleepless nights themselves, to be honest.
Dutch chocolate company Tony’s Chocolonely, whose goal is to raise awareness for the slavery that still persists among people harvesting cocoa to make chocolate, has decided to brew some beer, and it’s called ‘Chocolate Milk Stout’.
Together with Amsterdam brewery De Prael, this new beer claims to be ‘smooth with a taste of chocolate’ and will be available in Amsterdam as of 1 January 2017.
Executive Pastry Chef at The Peninsula hotel in Hong Kong, Dutchman Frank Haasnoot makes Christmas pastries that are a pleasure to watch and I’m sure a pleasure to eat as well.
As the French mentioned in the video, you’ll love how he makes the Christmas tree at the end of this video. If you want more pastry magic, follow Haasnoot on the food channel, better known as instagram.
We wrote to you ages ago about famous Dutch chocolate brand Tony’s Chocolonely trying very hard to produce 100% slave-free chocolate, and now they are one step closer thanks to a collaboration with French-Belgian chocolate company Callebaut.
Callebaut will install a cacao butter tank with fully traceable cacao beans just for Tony’s Chocolonely, which they say is a milestone in chocolate production. This improvement means that as of November 2016 the chocolate bars of this Amsterdam-based company will only be made from traceable cacao beans.
Read more about it because it is a very cool story and check out the video. And if anyone has any limited edition with the pop sugar in it that they don’t want for some reason, hit me up.
It’s time for another holiday controversy, one that revolves around chocolate Easter eggs sold at Dutch chain store HEMA. The store calls one type of its milk chocolate Easter eggs ‘eggs for hiding’ for the purpose of an egg hunt, but omitting the word ‘Easter’ has led to hate-filled comments from Dutch Twitter conspiracy theorists living in their own echo chamber. ‘The H in HEMA stands for Halal instead of Holland’ and other hateful nonsense is doing the rounds, effectively helping the rest of us weed out the nutters just in time for some online spring cleaning.
Part of Dutch Twitter went down the rabbit hole claiming, with no proof whatsoever, that HEMA was pandering to Muslims by removing the word ‘Easter’ in their ‘eggs for hiding’. HEMA claims it has been calling one type of its milk chocolate eggs ‘eggs for hiding’ for 10 years now because there’s a gold one and that makes them great for Easter egg hunts. After one ‘offending’ picture on Twitter, people jumped on the bandwagon because it sounded plausible if you ignore the pesky facts that get in the way of blind hate.
HEMA sells pork products, Christmas stuff, Easter stuff, Sinterklaas stuff, even head scarves that offends absolutely nobody.
Last month we told you about beautifully crafted marzipan handbags from chocolate maker Jordino in Amsterdam who had received a nasty letter all in business French telling them to stop making Louis Vuitton handbags with the threat of being fined 40,000 euro for trademark infringement.
This week as I walked passed the shop to see if the bags were still there, Jordino did one better: they have now branched out into Gucci and Chanel bags as well. They were too busy dishing out ice cream to ask them why they continued crafting bags after the threat, but my best guess is Louis Vuitton was either told to get stuffed in Dutch or were completed ignored. I’m happy Jordino decided to keep making their beautiful sweets.
According to Het Parool, French fashion brand Louis Vuitton got wind of the well-known and beautifully crafted marzipan handbags from chocolate maker Jordino in Amsterdam and sent them a nasty letter all in French that had to be translated. The message was clear: Jordino was never ever to sell anymore LV bags otherwise they would be fined 40,000 euro for trademark infringement. Although surely an unpleasant surprise, the law is on the side of the Parisians this time around.
While at English-language summer camp in Québec in 1984 reading a copy of TIME magazine about the Summer Olympics boycott by Eastern European countries, my Polish bunkmate stared around the big canvas tent we lived in from her bottom bunk with her distinct lack of cheerfulness, not knowing what to do with her quiet time. For the rest of us, it meant reading in bed and scarfing down some chocolate we called ‘tuck’, a British expression we didn’t know was British.
The Polish bunkmate had parents rich enough to send her to Canada for summer camp, but not enough for her to have any tuck. The other girls didn’t take to her because she couldn’t speak English very well and was quite reserved. I decided it would be funny to let he read the propaganda that is TIME magazine and also gave her some of my chocolate bar. She looks at me a bit scared, broke off a square, popped it her mouth, and went very quiet. “It’s good,” she said, finally smiling a bit. “What, you’ve never had chocolate before?” She nodded for no. She was 15.
Now it’s time to see how cocoa bean growers in Ivory Coast react when they taste chocolate for the first time, as filmed by a Dutch TV crew. Just like the Polish girl, it’s hard to believe that anyone hasn’t had chocolate before, especially cocoa bean growers.
In Dutch, French and at least another Ivory Coast language, with English subtitles:
Next, the Dutch at a market are shown a cacao pod and can’t figure out what it is, even after tasting it. I like the older man who wanted to say ‘abrikoos’ (‘apricot’) and turned into ‘Afrikoos’ (roughly ‘Africot’):
An advertising campaign that builds on Kit Kat’s slogan ‘Have a break, have a Kit Kat’ features a place to sit and have a break that is WIFI free (‘Free no WIFI zone’). That’s right, no WIFI instead of the usual free WIFI, although ‘Free no WIFI zone’ sounds weird, evoking a ‘yes, we have no bananas’ grammar feel to it.
The red bench is right downtown Amsterdam on the Max Euweplein (Max Euwe Square), named after Dutch chess Grandmaster, Max Euwe. It’s also surrounded by a casino, a comedy club and more venues that cater to non-Dutch speaking tourists.
What is cool about this street furniture advertising campaign is that it actually blocks WIFI signals within a 5-metre radius. I will test it next time I am downtown and report back.
UPDATE On Jan 31 I went to see if it was there and it had gone.
We’re in the middle of the six week school holiday period, so Dutch travel trailers have once again spread out across Europe. Not only do we have a reputation of traveling with trailers but also of bringing along our own food—what do you mean, we have to integrate too?
According to a study by insurance company Fortis though, bringing along your own food is in decline. “Only” a quarter of the Dutch still bring along foods (quote-unquote both by Z24 and me). Legend has it that we like to bring along our own spuds, but the study shows that the most popular caravan comestible is cheese, followed by chocolate sprinklings (hagelslag) and black liquorice (drop). Somewhat embarrassed I must admit the latter two make sense to me: hagelslag just goes well with French bread, and liquorice and iPods can help while away the long hours on the road.