I bet you all know Santa Claus. I'm sure you do. Did you know that Santa Claus is actually based on a Dutch holiday figure? It's true! I'm talking about Sinterklaas :)
On December 5, we celebrate the birthday of Sinterklaas (Saint Nicolas). Saint Nicolas was a bishop, living in Myra (Turkey) from 270 to 343. He used to be called a patron saint of children, for he was very generous towards them! Giving them presents and candy to kids in Europe. In the Middle Ages, everybody was talking about him and celebrating his birthday! After many ups and downs (wars, poverty, change of religion), we still celebrate his birthday.
The kids can put their shoe (not socks like Christmas!) by the fireplace, and during the night, Sinterklaas will visit all the kids on his horse Amerigo, with his helpers (Zwarte Piet), and bring them presents. It's common that kids leave a poem in their shoe and a carrot for the horse :)
There are many traditional snacks to eat during Sinterklaas, the most common to be: kruidnoten (spiced nuts). They're made with a special dutch spice: speculaas :) it's spicy, sweet.. It's a unique flavour that's inexplicable! You have to eat it in order to know its flavour. It's used for a lot of Sinterklaas treats: speculaas cookies, speculaas filled with almond paste, KRUIDNOTEN <3
Another common snack (MY FAVOURITE) is amandelstaaf. The best translation I found for it is: butter almond filled puff pastry. It's basically puff pastry, filled with almond paste, with extra flavours to taste. It's my favourite Sinterklaas snack <3 .... Ok kruidnoten too! And marzipan! <3
So december is a very busy month for dutchies, but that doesn't stop us from celebrating <3 Sinterklaas is mostly a children's holiday, but grown ups (not me ;) ) also create a happy feast around it. It's the perfect day to have a nice meal with family and friends, and share presents!
My family and I celebrate Sinterklaas by giving each other small presents and having a good meal. This year, we'll prepare our food on a raclette grill!
And for dessert, I made something special... Pecan cake <3
Use the basic cake recipe, add a splash of milk, along with 120 grams of ground pecan nuts. Eat it luke warm, with a scoop of ice cream, and you'll have a feast for dessert!
The best part about this day is having lots of fun and being together :) We had a great day today! Also, can you believe Christmas is only three weeks away?! Time flies when you're having fun.. I hope you're all well.
I wish you a lovely December and a lovely weekend <3 see you soon!