Koffie met Vlaai

We were in the Netherlands a couple of weeks ago, a family trip to visit the homeland, friends and relatives, indulge in Dutch cheeses and the sound of the southern dialects, architecture, canals and trees all lined up nice and neat. And to enjoy koffie met vlaai.

signVlaai is a sort of pie in the Netherlands, especially in the southern parts of the country. It is a treat that cannot quite be mimicked anywhere else, though I will try to make this at home soon, as I didn’t get quite enough while visiting. There are all sorts of varieties, apricot, berry, rice with or without chocolate shavings on top, crumble vlaai…lekker (yummy) and more.

Yes we were on vacation, so we were certainly relaxed, but koffie met vlaai is always an indulgent moment, no matter if you live there or visit. The coffee comes richly and with no free refills in a small porcelain cup, with a cookie or chocolate beside it on the saucer. The vlaai is very fresh, not machine-made, and served with or without real whipped cream. My favorite is apricot. The absolute best approach is for you to sit under a large patio umbrella so you eat while you watch the market, the train station or the bikes going by, and visit with your friend.

Antje van statie in Weert; the woman of legend, selling vlaaitjes (small vlaai)

Antje van statie in Weert; the woman of legend, selling vlaaitjes (small vlaai)

Now why am I writing about pies and coffee in a sustainability blog? Think about what we USA folks do for a coffee break. We grab a big cup of coffee in a foam cup and maybe a doughnut or a bagel or a rather large cinna-bun, and we eat on the run, on route to somewhere else. If we schedule a business meeting we can manage to sit for a few minutes, on our phone or finalizing terms with our colleague.


Quite a different scenario than koffie met vlaai. I’m seeing this as yet another example of quality versus quantity. Somehow we want more of the edibles and call that good (supersize me), but less of the time indulgence and relaxation, because we see that as bad, when exactly the opposite was so incredibly healing and sustaining to me.

Koffie met vlaai. I recommend this time and space tonic at least on the weekend, if not every day.




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