- They consist of two sweet and semi-crispy cinnamon biscuits (somewhere between a waffle and a wafer but much tastier!) with a caramel-cinnamon filling.
- They go from great to divine if you leave them on top of a cup of hot coffee for a few seconds, right before you eat them.
- Legend has it that they were first made by a baker in the Dutch town of Gouda, somewhere in the early 1800s. By the turn of the century they were still only made in Gouda, but by 100 different bakers!
- To this day, they are so popular that entire e-commerce websites are dedicated to selling them online. And anyone who has ever been to the Netherlands has probably enjoyed a stroopwafel at least once. Over there, stroopwafels are everywhere.
The real thing, in Worcester
The really great news is that locals needn’t miss out. Tineke Baas and her four young children sell authentic, home-made stroopwafels at every month’s Pure Boland Market. She took time to perfect the Dutch recipe while having to use slightly different South African ingredients. She also had to import the waffle iron from America, and then had to buy a transformer because of the difference in electricity current.
Making everything by hand is furthermore painstaking, but Tineke says the effort is worth it: While shoppers sink their teeth into the glorious sweet treat, stroopwafels help Tineke’s children wrap their minds around the concepts of entrepreneurship.
“We joined the Groenstoor around the middle of last year because I home-school. I needed a place where the two girls could learn about running a business: what it cost to buy all the ingredients, what we sell it for, paying the Groenstoor rent money… And because our work is sponsor-based, there was the possibility of earning an extra income too.”
From Holland to SA, on a mission
Tineke and her husband, Chris do relationship and family workshops for the international Christian missionary organisation YWAM. Family Base, as they call themselves, has travelled the world with their little ones, and after a while it just made sense to home-school Naomi (14), Tamar (12), Jesse (8) and David (7).
For the entrepreneurship exercise, something authentically Dutch was the obvious choice. Although Tineke was born in South Africa, both her parents are Dutch. The three of them moved back to the Netherlands when she was eight years old, and she met Christiaan – a born-and-raised Dutch citizen – in college.
So stroopwafels are the main attraction, but the poffertjes go down equally well. (Think pancake or flapjack in a smaller format and topped with icing sugar – a popular small treat among families with young kids.) And who knows what Dutch delicacy will make its appearance next? “Every region in the Netherlands has its own indigenous sweet dish, so Christiaan says we have a lot more to do!” says Tineke.
Judging by the children’s own accounts, they’re not only learning about the numbers but also about taking initiative (Naomi started selling her own home-made stress balls, and Tamar produces earrings and bracelets), marketing (each child gets their turn to sell the sweets to passers-by) and job satisfaction (“it’s really fun to stand there and earn something”).
And that is why the Pure Boland Market has become the monthly event around which all other obligations are planned. “At the beginning of the year already, we crossed out every first Saturday of the month on our calendars. We made it our priority not to be anywhere else those weekends than at the Groenstoor.”
• For more information on the Pure Boland Market, click here.