A couple of weeks ago I was invited for coffee at Grand Cafe Walter Benedict which had just recently opened. I was pleasantly surprised by the ambiance, service and the most important aspect: the cappuccino was really good, bonus! Walter Benedict serves breakfast all day, yes all day, they really captured the French atmosphere without overdoing it. The entire vibe is so laid back that I will definitely be going back again soon to try the food.
After years of speculation Starbucks finally opened it’s first location in The Hague last week. A small group of Starbucks fans met up at the end of the afternoon to enjoy their first of many drinks. The location at Central Station is surprisingly quite big although it seems to be in a temporary spot as the entire station is being rebuilt. What is your favourite coffee spot in The Hague?
If you say “Hopje” or “Hopjes” in plural, a Dutchman will associate it with The Hague immediately. Foreigners may associate it with a typical Dutch candy.
As the Dutch words “Haags” or “Haagsch” and “Haagse” or “Haagsche” mean “something or someone from The Hague”, a Haagsch Hopje is a coffy candy from the Hague.
Wikipedia has an English Language and a Dutch language lemma on Hopje. Former links with The Hague Daily Photo Blog, a blog sadly discontinued by its author Lezard, but still worth while a visit. I took the second photo from it.
Hopje’s History is also Typically Haags
It is named after baron Hendrik Hop who used to live in The Hague. His doctor advised him not to drink coffee, but he craved coffee like many of us. According to some sources it happened entirely by accident as Hop left a mixture of coffee and sugar simmer too long on his stove so that a heavily caramelized substance was left in the cup. He asked baker Theodorus van Haaren, who lived on the ground floor, to create coffee lumps that he could dissolve in water as a coffee alike drink. After some experimenting, van Haaren created a sweet made of coffee, caramel, cream and butter.
Where else than in The Hague could a Baron cause the invention of a candy?
Noteworthy is the hopje became so popular as a candy that there were many brands, each claiming being the producer of the original hopje. Rademaker’s is one of the brands that still survive, but Haagsche Hopjes are being made in Breda nowadays.
The Hague used to have a Museum dedicated to its Hopje, but that has been closed since 1998.