Dreaming of a Bright (Not-So-White) Christmas

windmill and snowRecently I spent time thinking about some of my family’s Christmas traditions, most of which centred on food. Oh boy, are the Dutch good at food! And at Christmas they become exceptional.

My grandparents would arrive to spend our December holidays with us, laden with Christmas specialities. My favourite was probably the chocolate letters. I’d get a ‘J’, while Yvonne got a ‘Y’. I always had the sneaking suspicion that there was more chocolate in a Y than a J. But I figured a “W” would even trump a “Y” on chocolate content – it was the only time I ever wished my mother had called me Wilhelmina! There would be other delicious things too, things that tasted of almond, cinnamon and warm, foreign spices – banketstaaf,  pepernoten and stollen. Continue reading