Snow and Oliebollen

oliebollen_edited-1Happy New Year!

Well, here I am again, finally. Did you miss me?

For Christmas we went to New York State. to stay with my brother and sister in-law.

There was plenty of expected fun.

My in-laws were wonderful hosts and their house was deliciously cozy and Christmassy. We enjoyed spending time with them and with each other, with no work or homework to think about. We were super-excited to have snow. Real snow and real cold. The kids had never experienced that.

And so I took photos of my children sledding for the first time in their lives at ages 14 and almost 17. But hey, to me they looked just as cute as if they had been three.


My in-laws live in a small town, so I could experience walking to a coffee shop again. Not only that, but walking in the snow. And feeling the invigorating cold on my face. It was marvelous!


After Christmas my brother-in-law took us to a local farmers’ market where I had the surprise of my life. I was pleased as punch to find Dutch cumin cheese, made by an actual Dutch person, but I had had cumin cheese in a fancy restaurant the day before, so I knew I might run into that. I also found nettle cheese.

Grinning from ear to ear already, I wandered into the next room (it was an indoor market) and yelled OLIEBOLLEN before I realized what I was doing.

olibollensignAcross the room, another Dutch lady was selling them. Just like that, in the middle of New York State! So I had my first oliebol in twenty years, and then a second, while making sure T and my brother-in-law had one, and then I went all out and bought ten more to take back, especially so the kids could have some.

For those who don’t know: oliebollen and appelflappen are deep-fried Dutch treats we have only once a year. They are a bit like donuts or beignets, but different. And no euphemisms here like “dough nuts”: oliebollen are–literally translated–oil balls and appelflappen are apple flaps. Both must be generously sprinkled with powder sugar.

I was in seventh heaven. I don’t even like oliebollen all that much. I would have them on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, but I preferred appelflappen. But the fact that I hadn’t had them for so long and that it was a complete surprise to find them made it special.

Well, that’s putting it mildly. It was one of the food highlights of my year.

If you’re an immigrant or an expat anywhere, and you’ve ever been that excited to find a food from your home country, tell us about it.

10 responses to “Snow and Oliebollen

  1. We were travelling along in New Zealand and were on the ferry from the North Island to the South Island. Arriving in Picton there was a Dutch bakery and they sold oliebollen, suacijzenbroodjes, gevulde koeken and apple cake and some real Dutch baps etc! We were over the moon!


  2. Great story, Barbara. One observation: what you call “appelflappen” we called “appelbeignets”. A difference between Eemnes and Baarn, perhaps?


  3. Happy New Year to you as well! I DID miss you, and wondered just where you were in all that snow! How fun to let 17-14 year olds have the amazement and joy of toddlers. Glad you had a great cross country trip. AND got some oliebollen!


  4. A great story. The only similar one I have was finding that a confectionary shop in England sold ‘tablet’, which is a traditional Scottish sweet treat. 🙂 I was very happy to discover that. 😀


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