As noted in an earlier blog post, I stopped by the oliebollen stand in the city centre today (in the area of Blokker and Xenos). Luckily the stand is big enough for good social distancing – there are two lines in the middle, with exits on either side. I didn’t have too wait that long either. I ordered two oliebollen and four krentenbollen (oliebollen with raisins). The two regular ones are for me and the four krentenbollen are for Marco and Roger.
Preparing the goods… bag of oliebollen with a canister of powdered sugar. And here’s a look at the oliebollen with some coffee:
Not the best pictures in the world but you get the idea. The one on the left is a krentenbol and the one on the right is an oliebol. Normally we douse them with even more powdered sugar, but not this time. The dough itself is pretty sweet anyway.
The reason we can have oliebollen already is because The Hague (along with a few of the other larger Dutch cities) decided that oliebollen stands would be allowed to open a month earlier, from 1 October, rather than the usual 1 November. This is to help combat the loss of revenue due to all of the cancelled festivals this year, where oliebollen is also traditionally sold. Oliebollen sales will peak around New Year’s Eve (the busiest day of the year), although some stands will stay open through the end of January.
It just reinforces Marco’s idea that we should put up the Christmas decorations extra early this year, to bring some more cheer into our apartment.
On the plus side, I know that the oliebollen stand on the Grote Markt by Xenos/Blokker is open again. I’ve seen it with my own eyes! No photo proof yet, however. I heard a rumor that we’re going to go pick up some tomorrow. Yum yum yum. According to their Facebook page, they are open from tomorrow (Saturday).
Oliebollen literally means “oil balls” and is the precursor to the doughnuts Americans know. See also the oliebol page over at the English Wikipedia. Traditionally they are sold with raisins inside, but you can also purchase them without raisins. (As Marco and Roger lament, the name changed in the last few decades: oliebol used to mean an oliebol with raisins, whereas if you wanted one without raisins you needed to specify. These days oliebollen are without raisins. and if you want an oliebol with raisins you ask for krentenbol. At least around here. Usually.)
Yum yum yum. This was last year’s batch, topped with powdered sugar. My stomach is rumbling already. Speaking of which… off to make dinner. Stay safe, everyone!
We interrupt this blog post to say: Happy birthday, mom!
Here’s a look back at our oliebollen making attempts this year. (Quick recap: oliebollen literally translates to “balls of oil” and are sort of like doughnuts, usually with raisins found inside. They are a traditional New Year’s Eve treat for Dutchies.)
First, a look at the batter. Doesn’t look like much yet! Or it kind of looks like we are making chocolate chip cookies… But it still needs to be allowed to rise for about 45 minutes, too.
To make the experience a bit easier this year we bought an oliebollentang from Albert Heijn. It’s really just a glorified ice cream scoop. We also tried wetting the scoop in oil between each oliebol. It was still trial and error, but we finally learned the best trick for us was to use a large spoon to grab the batter, and then carefully place it into the oliebollen scoop, and finally put the scoop into the oil, releasing the batter under the oil so that it would come off (a bit) easier.
Time to fry them up! My favorite part is when the oliebollens start flipping on their own. Doesn’t always happen, but sometimes.
They are already looking a lot like oliebollen. You only need to keep them in the oil for 3-4 minutes, but they should be flipped once to make sure both sides are evenly cooked.
And the finished product, with a fair heaping of powdered sugar on top.
As mentioned in a few months back, the oliebollenkraam (= stand to sell oliebollen) has temporarily moved to the Grote Markt due to construction around the Spuiplein. I suspect the move has been good for them and they are making much more money where they currently are. They are consistently voted one of the best stands in this providence.
Oliebollen is sort of like a doughnut and covered in powdered sugar. They are traditionally filled with raisins, but you can get them without raisins as well these days. They are eaten around New Years Eve, although you can also find them at carnivals throughout the year.
Here is a look at the line around 10:30 this morning:
And a close up, to show you what the stand looks like:
So the lines weren’t too bad at 10:30. This is what it looks like around 14:30, just four hours later:
There’s still three lines, give or take, and they stretch just to the edge of the tram/bus area. Compare that to the lines in 2014 and 2015. Of course that is at the old location, where it is easier to just have a single line.
I suspect the crowds will be greatest around 17:00, when everyone is out of work. However by then festivities will also be starting at our place so we won’t be going outside until closer to midnight, for the fireworks.
Public service announcement: please note the very awesome and tasty oliebollenkraam on the Spuiplein (which has its own Facebook page!) looks to have relocated to the Grote Markt this year:
This is because of all the construction at the Spuiplein (article in Dutch, with photo), which seems to take over more and more space every week.
The Facebook page for the oliebollen stand says it should open on November 2nd. This is a very popular place to buy oliebollen. Oliebollen (literally “oil balls”) are sort of like donut balls, without any holes. They are typically served with raisins inside, unless you are a heretic like me that eats them plain. Here’s a look at how long the line gets on New Year’s Eve, back in 2014. This stand is popular! Or check out this 1 minute video.
And for the public transportation aficionados reading this (haha), the bus driving past is the old model – it is bus 61, which is a temporary line to take over tram 1 at least through the end of the year. They are busy doing work on the Scheveningseweg.
This is a photo of a pop-up store near the Grote Markt. Here’s an article about it in Dutch – Pop-up oliebollenfabriek opent deuren in Den Haag. I confess I hadn’t quite understood the concept until reading the article. Alongside the traditional oliebollen and appelbeignets, they also sell champagne oliebollen. Except that it’s just in the name – there’s no actual champagne inside. The difference is in the sugar that they use. Some examples of the types of sugar they use include limoncello, salted caramel and chocolate sugar. In total there are 10 different types of sugar you can choose from and some samples for you to taste.
I can’t believe it – four years in the Netherlands already!
And a look at the lights in the other direction, towards the movie theater and Primark:
Oh, and today a coworker brought in 12 oliebollen (sorta doughnut-y pastry that is usually made with raisins inside and covered in powdered sugar). They started selling those on November 1st… It is always something to look forward to!