Everyone has wanted Old Dutch sweets from Mariska ever since they gained the attention of a British TV chef

Everyone has wanted Old Dutch sweets from Mariska ever since they gained the attention of a British TV chef

British TV chef Nigella Lawson recently visited our capital for her Christmas in Amsterdam special. Many typical Old Dutch references are discussed. For example, she visited a cheese shop, made cakes in the shape of canal houses and tulips, and visited Mariska Schaefer's candy shop.

Since then, everyone has wanted “Nigella sativa.” “Yesterday I was crying with happiness,” Schaefer told Editie NL. “My phone kept ringing, request after request. My website is booming, and I also have 800 followers on Instagram. It's really cool. I'm a hotel manager.”

Her shop sells old-fashioned sweets like cinnamon sticks, butter tarts and egg rolls, but she also sells newer sweets. “Nigella herself was very fond of real salty sal ammoniac,” says Schaeffer, “but in the end she recommended other desserts. Also because the English often find sal ammoniac too salty.”

The inventory is almost empty

The delicious canal houses and caramel sticks highlighted by Nigella sativa in its Christmas special are now selling like hotcakes. “I've already removed the caramel sticks from the site because supplies are going fast. I don't want to say no,” Schiffer says.

The candy seller himself is still shocked by the effect. “Nigella is actually a kind of god. When you say something delicious, people accept it.”


Tourism expert Marco van Leeuwen understands why Nigella is so enthusiastic about typical Dutch products. “Old Dutch works well because it's distinctive. That's what we look for when we visit a country. When you're in Paris, you also want to see the Eiffel Tower and have your photo taken with it.”

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Old Dutch is not limited to just a specific time period. “It's about the time of Petit Belle and Cromelette and the great masters of painting. And about nostalgia and the iconography associated with it, like cheese, windmills, sleds and clogs. And therefore also old Dutch sweets. Nostalgia is timeless because it affects people.”

So it's no coincidence that a famous British TV chef went into an old Dutch pastry shop. “The store touches on the symbolism and nostalgia of the Netherlands. The fact that it is visited during the festive period further contributes to its popularity. People want to put something delicious on the table during this period. In addition, there are also many shops for tourists at this time of year.”

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