Together with seven other tea lovers (two men and five women) I was invited today by Marion van den Blik, owner of Betjeman & Barton, Denneweg 25 in The Hague (www.betjemanandbarton.nl) to have a tea-masterclass in her lovely shop. The first thing we got was a glass of tea, a melange Pouchkine (which tasted a little bit like Earlgray, with bergamot, lemon and orange), with a homemade applecake, made of Granny’s world famous applecake mix. Marion told about the history of the famous tea brand, which started in 1919 when Englishman Mr. Barton visited Paris where he – of course – fell in love with a beautyful French lady, and opened his own tea shop at the boulevard Malesherbes. About 30 years ago Marion visited the B&B shop in Paris, fell in love with this brand of tea and took her own tea with her being abroad. In 1992 Marion decided to make from her passion her profession and opened the first Betjeman and Barton teashop in The Netherlands. Except for many many brands of tea she sells the beautiful pottery of Emma Bridgewater, GreenGate or Bunzlau Castle.
At home and in her shop she has a beautiful collection of about 140 tea pots, antique and modern ones, most of them in the shape of a cat. The first tea we tasted was the Chinese White Pearl from the Fujian province in Southern China, a light green tea, followed by a green Japanese Gyokuro, which has to brew just for one minute, a Black Dragon from Taiwan (with the taste of smoked chestnuts), a biological Darjeeling first flush, picked in March 2010 (€ 34 per 100 gr) and the fifth brand was the Chinese black tea. The prices of these teas are between € 25 and € 45 per 100 gr). You’ll have the best tea by using Spa water of about 70° C, a clean hot teapot, and o no, no sugar please. Then it was time for a so-called low-tea. Marion made delicious wraps with salmon, little clubsandwiches and mini pizzas, trifle and other sweets.
Thank you Marion, I enjoyed your tea-masterclass very much! And I could not resist buying that lovely red and white striped teapot of GreenGate!
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.
One of the typical habits of Dutch restaurants is that they close early. Usually they don’t take orders after 9.00 PM. Moreover, on Mondays most restaurants are closed.
For reference purposes we have various Dutch sites that contain guest reviews of restaurants, however they are in the Dutch language … is not very helpful for those who don’t understand jot of Dutch. The two most prominent are are SpecialBite – which used to have an English section and recently told me they are considering to reintroduce their English pages – and Iens.
Recently Special Bite blogged very helpfully about 10 X Open on Monday in 070 (070 is The Hague’s netnumber).
On their list is the restaurant of Des Indes. I’ll start this series with Des Indes, because it is the Grand Old Lady of hotels in The Hague.
Although not everybody can bear their sumptuous decoration (see photo), their huge prices, and their sometimes clumsy services by trainees and their not always positively reviewed food, Des Indes has a huge pré: Until 01.00 AM you can order whatever food you want, 7 days a week and also on Mondays!
I needed to start the Shopping and Food and Drinks categories. As I’m currently the “Mayor” of Slagerij Rob van der Zalm (a slager is a butcher) on Foursquare with 2 check ins only, I thought to start with them.
I believe that their mouthwatering hamburgers of Angus beef are the closest to the real American style hamburgers, but I would gladly change my opinion for that of a real American with real American hamburger experience.
A lot of shopping to follow.
It turns out there are two butchers Slagerij van der Zalm, one in Oegstgeest and one in The Hague. The one from The Hague is Rob van der Zalm. Fortunately Foursquare gave me the correct place to login to, but the Foursquare page of Rob van der Zalm needs some updating…
Updated by Happy Hotelier on December 21, 2012 om 10:07 pm
If you are looking for a hotel in The Hague just click the image above or hoteliers.com – The Hague, or in a wider circle around The Hague chose for the province of Zuid-Holland at hoteliers.com – Zuid-Holland. Nearly all hotels of The Hague (or Zuid-Holland) are represented here. You can make your reservation quickly and safely online. All hotels will be happy if you use this site because they pay a fixed annual service fee to be on this site instead of the high commissions other sites charge them. You can also link directly to the websites of the hotels via hoteliers.com. The The Hague tourist board uses a derivative of the site as a portal for accommodation in The Hague in the Dutch language, Slaap in Den Haag, which means Sleep in The Hague.