Posts Tagged With: Candy

Disappointment at the expat store (Or: Now and Later candy)

As a kid I was always eating Now and Later candy (English Wikipedia). Or Spree candy, the chewy version. The best part about Now and Later candy is that it is hard now and chewy later, hence the name.

I have thought about these candies now and then over the years, but it was never a big enough craving to buy a bag while I was in the States. I usually think about the candy whenever I see Marco put a peppermint in his mouth and bite it immediately. He can never wait, not even a few seconds. I told him before “well if you had a Now and Later candy you wouldn’t be able to do that!” because the candy starts off so hard it is impossible to safely bite through at the beginning.

I was pleasantly surprised to see that the local expat store, Kelly’s, started selling the Now and later candies last month. I immediately planned a trip to the store and dragged Marco along. Later that night I unwrapped a candy, inspecting it. It looked hard like the original candy, but perhaps quite like I remembered. I took a bite, and felt the familiar disappointment of an expat set in. By which I mainly mean the disappointment of moving away and things change while you are gone. It was still tasty, mind you. Just not quite the same as it used to be. It isn’t as hard anymore–maybe people sued over their broken teeth–which was unfortunate considering the name.

It’s still fun to things drifting over from the States, though. I think two of the most important things are Frank’s original red hot sauce (for me) and Frank’s red hot buffalo wing sauce (for Marco). You can even get it at the local grocery store, Albert Heijn. No extra trip to the expat store needed. So it isn’t all disappointment!

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Childhood memories (Or: Old Dutch candy)

A few days ago I was at the local Hema and I spotted some classic Dutch candy (oud hollandse mix).

It reminded me of visiting my grandparents. I am pretty sure they had a candy dish full of sweets like that (who didn’t?). The hard candy that sticks together, somewhat annoying for a kid because you have first try to pull them apart before you can enjoy one, but nice because they take so long to eat. I don’t remember them having much taste, but I could be wrong on that point.

Candy, candy, candy everywhere. Sometimes I miss being a kid that could eat half a bag of candy or a handful of cookies without a second thought. I do still have a weakness for Haribo gummy bears, though. But only if you stick them in the freezer first… I’m weird, I know.

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Who needs a jacket anyway? (Or: Destination summer)

It finally happened! This is the first time this year I was outside without a jacket on. Temperatures are around 27C (mid to high 70s) with 100% sun. It is positively lovely to feel the sun on your skin. Unfortunately I was not able to take any photos for the blog as I was on a quick trip to the grocery store between meetings. You will have to trust me that it was sunny with blue skies all around.

Speaking of the weather, here is a care package I received from my work last week or the week before, with lots of sugary goodness:

You can tell the note is old because it reads “Spring has been a bit shy this year and not quite as warm as could be expected. We are also aware that it is a busy time for most of us. This is why we decided to invite you to take a well deserved warm break. We hope you’ll enjoy this little treat.”

There’s two pieces of chocolate from Tony’s chocolonely (milk and dark), a packet of instant coffee, a packet of hot chocolate, two tiny stroopwafels, a piece of fudge and a bit of nougat.

Tasty! Oddly enough most of it still remains uneaten. Although we did use the hot chocolate mix to make chocolate waffels on Sunday (yum yum).

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Chocolate everywhere (Or: Almost Easter time)

Last week at Albert Heijn I spotted a Tony’s Chocolonely display filled with Easter eggs. The company’s mission is to make fair trade chocolate. (The company’s slogan is: “Crazy about chocolate, serious about people“.)

The cutest thing was these mini egg cartons:

And of course the Easter candy started popping up a few weeks ago already. You can never be too early!

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Tricks of the eye (Or: Is that …?)

Marco and I recently had coffee at Hema, splitting a slice of apple pie. On the way out, we noticed some of Hema‘s famous sausage:

Marzipan sausage at Hema

Except that this was in the candy aisle. The sausage was made of marzipan! (Marzipan is apparently rather popular over here, but not so much in America).

I also noticed some chocolate bars which say “You are sweet” and “Thank you”. The problem with this is I have some good memories of the chocolate bar when it used to be in Dutch (“Ik vind je lief“) so it is a bit odd to see it in English. For example, the first time Marco gave me one when I still lived in America…

Thank you and You are sweet chocolate bars

And finally, a what the heck? kind of image. Check out this Kit Kat flavor Marco and I saw at the Asian store:

Sweet potato kitkat flavor

That’s right – if you look at the pricing card underneath you will see it is sweet potato flavor… All right-y then.

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Haagse hopjes (Or: Wall decorations at MegaStores)

A few weeks ago Marco and I went to MegaStores. We mainly wanted to visit Woonexpress XL, a furniture store like Ikea where you have one path with different sections of the home along the route. At the end of the path is the storeroom with the larger items seen along the way (like shelving, drawers, etc.) for you to take. Beyond that you have the cash registers and the exit.

And what is MegaStores? It’s basically an indoor mall (a rarity for the Netherlands, unfortunately) full of mostly furniture shops. Marco and I both find it a bit disappointing as having only furniture shops definitely limits its appeal. I’ve only been there a few times myself, with one of those times to buy our two couches from Sanders. Of course, you do have some other generic Dutch stores here (Xenos, Kruidvat, Hema and similar) but since you can find them anywhere, there’s no great need to go here. Except that it is indoors, always a plus during bad weather.

One of the interesting highlights is a wall decoration of “Haagse hopjes”, a coffee candy made in The Hague. They are delicious. You can get them almost anywhere, including the VVV tourist branch in the The Hague public library’s central branch. Or cheaper at places like Xenos, but most tourists do not realize that.

Haagse hopjes wall decoration at MegaStores

Haagse hopjes wrappers as a wall decoration

I’ve posted about MegaStores before, with one post about how Dutchies tend to visit furniture stores on Easter Monday or to show the awesome escalator layout (and one VERY ugly rug – seriously, you’ve been warned).

One final thing – MegaStores also has interesting toilet facilities from a company called 2theloo. You can see pictures of some of the toilet stalls at Megastores. Each toilet stall has a different “theme”. Each visit costs €0.60, but keep in mind a lot of toilets in the Netherlands charge at least €0.50 and unless you are eating at a restaurant or some cafés you will have to pay. In this country most toilets are maintained by an outside company.

I haven’t had to use 2theloo, but if I ever do I’ll be sure to write a blog post about it and let you know which “theme” I chose. Haha.

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Marco’s gift (Or: A new watch!

After work Marco surprised me with a new watch! A bit crazy since I don’t normally wear watches, but we had been talking about the Apple watch lately…

Isn’t it great? Marco is so sweet!

And so is the watch…

Watch made of candy


Hopefully it is 5:25 am or pm before I get hungry enough to eat it, just so I can say it was right once…

(I have no interest in wearing a watch. I tried it as a kid but it was more annoying then useful. I find it interesting to follow news of the Apple Watch, but only to see how it develops from afar. I don’t think it will really hit its stride until version 3 or 4. Until then my wrist stays bare.)

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Opa Piet was here! (Or: Candy in my shoe)

As previously mentioned, the Sinterklaas holiday is fast approaching. Kids leave one of their shoes out, sometimes with a carrot in the shoe for Sinterklaas’ horse, and when they wake up in the morning there is candy (or sometimes a small, inexpensive gift) in the shoe.

This year in the Sinterklaas television program (which airs nightly at 6pm for 10 minutes), the character “Opa Piet” was introduced, or “grandpa Pete”. He is known for giving out wayyyy too much pepernoten (a type of candy), not just the strictly regulated 15 per shoe that most kids get. At least in this year’s storyline.

When we woke up we saw this…

Sinterklaas gifts in our shoes

In this case it is kruidnoten in my shoe – another type of Dutch candy. Of course, only Opa Piet would know that I am slightly against candy actually touching the floor. If you look carefully only a little bit of it is touching (the rest is on a blue plate) and there is even clear wrap done in my shoe so that the candy doesn’t touch. Yes, I am a bit picky…

Marco received a chocolate letter in his shoe. But traditionally kids receive the first letter of their first name – M for him. But since he received a different letter, that means it isn’t actually his – so he has to share it with me. Yay, dark chocolate!

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Lemon cake part two (Or: Marks and Spencer)

A while back I had taken a picture of the lemon cake at Marks and Spencer (which opened this year in The Hague). However the lighting wasn’t that great. So here it is again, as Marco and I went back last weekend…

lemon cake and coffee by Marks & Spencer in The Hague

lemon cake, small coffee, large cappuccino

The lemon cake is actually quite sour, especially the top layer. The trick is the slightly wet-looking area just below the icing and dark brown layer. Quite sour! Definitely recommend trying it out if you enjoy sour items.

And now I want lemonheads

bag of lemonheads sour candy

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Movie theater candy (Or: Thor time!)

Last Sunday morning Marco, Roger and I went to the movie theater in town to see the new Thor movie, Thor: The Dark World. As sometimes happens, this movie was released in the Netherlands a full week before it was released in America.

The movie was pretty good – the pacing was pretty nice and I didn’t feel that the middle or the end of the movies dragged too much. It was nice to see more character development with the side characters (including Darcy) and of course Thor as eye candy is always good. They have a shirtless scene near the beginning for Thor-approving fans!

Before the movie I took a quick moment to take a picture of the candy options, although it’s not really something I would ever purchase (even ignoring the insane movie theater prices):

candy at the Pathemarkt Spui in The Hague

candy at the Pathemarkt Spui in The Hague 2

As you can see it is not that much different from the setup of a typical American movie theater – similar candy is offered there as well. The one thing I was tempted by were the sour bears on the left side of the 2nd picture, near the bottom. Yum, sour candy!

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