Even the Santas Are Tall

Santa Hats
We went for a wander through the kerstmarkt on Twijnstraat today and had a festive time. The market was even bigger this year and there were some really lovely items, as well as lots of tasty food and drink. We had our first gluhwein of the season, sipped after heading down one of the narrow alleys down to the Oudegracht. It’s always a nice break midway from the crowds!

From the very beginning of the market, there were people giving out free Santa hats. I got one, which came in handy at times since it was misting with rain. One of the people giving out the hats was the giant Santa on stilts. Or is he just particularly tall and skinny? Here in the Netherlands, it’s hard to tell sometimes!

Dutch Saint Nick
However, there was also a more traditionally sized Santa on hand, and kids could sit on his lap and have their picture taken (by their parents). There was even a Mrs. Claus, as it turns out, although I didn’t see her until later and didn’t get a photo.

The market is taking place again next weekend, so be sure to check it out if you can make it into town. I think there will also be a market at Janskerkhof. They were there yesterday, in small numbers, but there was no market there today.

Also, if you’re in the Den Haag area and want to order some Christmas baked goods this season, don’t forget my dear friends over at American Baking Company! They’ve even made a little video to wish you all a happy holiday season.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Urban

Houses in a Row
This photo was taken a few weeks ago on a vividly sunny Sunday morning. I loved the slight curve of the street and the mix of older and newer houses of different sizes, colours, and styles. And it’s not a Dutch photo without lots of bikes! Cars are being phased out of the city center more and more, so the few that you see there are some of the few that remain. Although to be honest, I’ve got lots of photos — this one included — that would be so much nicer without the cars in the shot!

Tasty Street

This is another Dutch urban scene taken last Saturday. We stopped at De Tafel Van 18 (pictured on the left) to try their cheesecake, since they were offering free samples that day. Very tasty, but I still crave a slice of the strawberry cheesecake that American Baking Company makes. On the plus side, ABC is going to be at the Veldzigt Bourgondia markt on Saturday (not far from Utrecht/Zeist) if you want to try their baked goods.

This is a pretty typical urban photo in the Netherlands. Lots of bikes, as well as awnings and umbrellas so that any shop that sells food can make the most of good weather and let their customers sit outdoors, and even a Chinese fast food place, Wok to Go.

Still, when it comes to the concept of “urban” my favourite photo I’ve taken is probably this old one of urban graffiti and urbane students:
Contrast [Day 236/365]

Weekly Photo Challenge: Regret

Yum

I regret not living closer to Den Haag where my friends run the American Baking Company. Their desserts are delicious! I got to enjoy some of them this past Saturday when I went to help them out with a project. They kindly sent me home with some freshly made cinnamon buns, a mini cupcake, and some Hello Dolly bars. Every bite was fantastic! I saw some of their other treats on offer at the Coffee Company in Den Haag and I regret not buying some red velvet cake and cheesecake to bring home with me!

So, if you’re in Den Haag or in Amsterdam on Sunday afternoons near the Sunday market, go look for American Baking Company. You won’t regret it!
Hellow Dolly

Fun with Frosting

Welkom
I spent a fun day in Den Haag with the American Baking Company. You know it’s a good day when you get home and discover cinnamon bun frosting in your hair!

I really do like Den Haag and want to spend more time exploring the city. It’s got some really beautiful spots and a nice mix of old and new architecture.
Building Den Haag

Crafts and Cupcakes

Teacup Jewelry
For once, I’m going to suggest that you go to Amsterdam if you’re within travelling distance. Specifically, go this Sunday, 6 March, to the Sunday Market (Cultuurpark Westergasfabriek,Haarlemmerweg 8-10, 1014 BE Amsterdam). Once there, go visit the booths of solohandmade and American Baking Company. You won’t regret it.

For one thing, you can buy beautiful necklaces like the ones in the above photo. Those are both ones I own and adore and wear regularly. Kerry, who is the solo handmaker, takes some of her beautiful photos and turns them into mini necklaces. She also makes various “pretty and practical” things, such as coasters, pillows, hair clips and more. You can see and order her items on her etsy shop.

The American Baking Company
While you’re wandering around the market, you may get a bit hungry, or maybe you will be looking for a little something sweet and delicious as a pretty end to your weekend. In that case, go check out American Baking Company. Based in Den Haag, they make the most divine cupcakes and other treats, such as pies, bars, cookies and cakes. They’re also absolutely beautiful to look at, but once you take your first bite, you’ll be too busy inhaling them to stop and look any more. Seriously, buy more than you think you’ll want, because once you’ve eaten the last one, you’re going to want more. They’re truly addictive. Fantastic flavors, moist cake, and frosting to die for! They also do fantastic traditional American flavor combinations, including peanut butter and jelly, and peanut butter and chocolate. Amazingly enough, considering the Dutch do eat chocolate and do eat a fair amount of peanut butter, they don’t put these two great tastes together! Fortunately, ABC is doing it’s job to spread the wonder of this flavor combination. They also have a delicious red velvet cupcake with wonderful cream cheese frosting, and all sorts of other flavors.

So go. Enjoy. And say hi for me. The people involved are my friends, but they’re also truly talented and wonderful people and I’m promoting them here because I want everyone else to see their work, because it’s truly fantastic.