As I mentioned in my previous post below I have just returned from the Netherlands with my now Fiancee Joanne. I actually proposed to herself in the village where my grandmother lives by the name of Wassenaar. Doing so on the second day of the holiday which really set up our 12 days in the Netherlands to be fantastic from the the get go. The holiday however was always proposed to be a food tour of the Netherlands, by trying to get around to and eat as much Dutch food as possible ( of which my ever growing Cooksbelly is evidence of ). Along with my Dutch recipe posts I will try and give an insight also in to the places we ate, and foods we tried. The first one being Sonnemans bakery in Burgh Hamstede in the Netherlands province of Zeeland. Before I tell you about the bakery I must give you some background story.
In the spring of last year I decided to research my ancestry in the Netherlands, my father being the link , moved to Ireland in 1978 to marry my mother. I relate a lot to my Dutch heritage and have embraced it my entire life. So with a lot of online resources and the help of family in the Netherlands I managed to trace a good amount of my history back even as far 1596 where I discovered my grandmothers family dates back to a Scottish soldier. On my grandfathers side I was able to find out that nearly all his family originate from Zeeland, most notably the municpalities of Oude Tonge, Zierikzee, and Sint Maartensdijk. I also learned that I am the 7th Willem De Korte in a row, which for some reason gives me great pride, alot of people dislike their name but I truly love my name, and of course its also the name of the Dutch King. So I bet you are thinking what is the link between my past and Sonnemans bakery. Well I think it was in the Autumn of last year the Hairy Bikers did a tour of Europe called the "Hairy Bakers" and their journey involved a trip to Sonnemans bakery in Burgh Hamstede Zeeland. In the bakery they met Harry, one of half of the baking duo of himself and brother Maarten. The reason why they were there however was to try Harry's Zeeuwse Bolus, of which you can find the recipe here. Harry's Bolus are renowned throughout Zeeland as being slightly different as they are slightly smaller than what you would get elsewhere on the other islands in Zeeland. The bolus are part of my heritage, a favourite of my grandfather's whilst he was alive, so because of this episode I have been making them ever since. Most of all though I think the eccentric charm of Harry Sonneman is what inspired me to make the Bolus in the first place.
Fast forward a few months, when Joanne and I decided to go to the Netherlands a trip down to Sonnemans was an absolute must. So on the Wednesday morning we set off from where we we staying (Maassland to be precise) to Burgh Hamstede. As we pulled the car up to the bakery I was overcome with excitement, for me I was meeting a celebrity in Harry. We went inside and like the TV show it was like an aladdins cave of cakes interspersed antiques. Naturally I asked for Harry when we got in, I didn't come all the way not to meet the man. The girl at the counter gave a shout in to the back and the man himself appeared! I told him how I had come all the way from Ireland to meet him and taste the bolus he makes. I then asked could I see the bakery kitchen, he very much obliged.
We chatted about all things bolus, Dutch baking and the Hairy Bikers. It was excellent, the man was a true gent and extremely welcoming. We had come to buy bolus but as a gift he sent us away with 5 free ones, ( not to mention the 2 free ones we got when we first arrived). I left with the biggest grin on my face, it was like meeting Willy Wonka. The holiday at this stage was getting better and better which of course I will elaborate on in later posts.
You can check out the Hairy Bikers episode here:
Thanks for reading as ever
Will The 7th ! :)
Oh and for the sappy amongst you here is the setting of where I proposed to Joanne :)