High Tea With Dutch Book Bloggers

TeacupLast week, six Dutch book bloggers came together in Utrecht to meet each other in person and talk books and blogs.

Iris from Irisonbooks and Chinoiseries didn’t know anyone else yet, but Gnoe from Graasland, Janny from JannyAn’s Blog and Els from Elsjelas know each other quite well. I had met the latter three once or twice.

We had a delicious High Tea in De Bakkerswinkel, i.e., The Bakery.

“High Tea” is Dutch nonsense. It’s supposed to be a typically English mid-afternoon tea session with scones and sandwiches. Well, that’s Afternoon Tea in England, people! Anyway, it’s wrongly named, all over the country, but ever so nice.

De Bakkerswinkel – Bakery

The Bakkerswinkel is situated in an old, narrow building. When you go in, you see an old-styled bakery with light-green wooden display cabinets full of lovely cakes and breads.

Bakkerswinkel - shop

Photo from website Bakkerswinkel


You wonder, so where are we supposed to sit? Well, through the door there is a narrow staircase taking you downstairs. This is a vaulted area which is located next to a canal. From the window, you can see the canal. The room has a slightly sinister feel to it.

 

Downstairs Bakkerswinkel

Picture from website Bakkerswinkel

We had the larger table on the right. It was set out with a lovely old service, a flea market mixture of cups, saucers and plates.

TeacupTable settingDelft Blue Pot

 

What we ate

We started off with some enormous scones with clotted cream which they made themselves, which means I can make it myself, once I find out how (I love you, clotted cream!!!). Some scones had chocolate in, others were plain. There was a nice mango jam and a raspberry-basil jam. Both were very good.

We had a choice of many, many teas and got the equivalent of one big pot per person. It was great trying out some new teas. We also got a small glass of fruitshake each.

SoupThen we got a cup of tomato soup, full of tomatoes and tasting delicious. Odd, but quirky, and quite unfair, we all got our soup in tea cups and depending on the size of your tea cup, you’d get a lot of soup (like I did, on the picture), or not much at all. Iris got a small cup which also was only half full. That was a bit strange. Also, it was probably the only complaint I would have of the food and the service.

FoodAfter that we got a cake stand with three levels of sandwiches and cakes. There was also some quiche.

In all, there was too much food and tea to devour in the time we had. Unfortunately, de Bakkerswinkel closes its doors at 5pm. We could have stayed for much longer!

The gossip

Janny and Chinoiseries

Janny and Chinoiseries

What did six bookish women talk about? Well, books! And ourselves, to get to know each other a bit better. We discussed what books we were currently reading and how often we write blogposts, about our studies and work and about food.

Some of us brought some books. In the week before, we had some email exchanges about books we were willing to swap and so a few of us got some books and/or donated some books. I was very happy to donate 5 of my books to various people and went home with three new books, one of which is a rare Murakami book, Hear the Wind Sing, which Chinoiseries was kind enough to let me borrow. It’s a Japanese edition for learners of English with English text and Japanese annotations. It’s very small and thin, more like a short story.

Much too early we had to leave De Bakkerswinkel. Hopefully we can repeat the event some time soon, maybe with some more Dutch book bloggers – or any other bloggers that happen to be in the country!

Iris, Els and Gnoe

Iris, Els and Gnoe

De Bakkerswinkel can be found at 5 minutes walk from Neude, a central quare in Utrecht. Cross the main road into Voorstraat and follow this until you cross a bridge over a canal. You’ll find the restaurant on the left, over the bridge (Wittevrouwenstraat 2).

Weekend Cooking

Weekend Cooking

About Leeswammes
I'm owner and editor at bookhelpline.com. In my free time, I read and review books on my two blogs, Leeswammes' Blog and De Boekblogger.

48 Responses to High Tea With Dutch Book Bloggers

  1. Uniflame says:

    This looks so nice! I am glad you all has such a great time🙂

  2. Col Reads says:

    How fun — no matter what you call it!

  3. JoV says:

    The place looks absolutely cosy and lovely. Hope you have a great fun! (Tell me when you host another one in London and count me in).🙂

  4. Looks like you had a lovely bookish gathering! How fun!

  5. Young1 says:

    Oh it sounds like so much fun – i wish this happened in the UK more!
    Looks like you had a wonderful time and i hope you get a repeat soon!

  6. Beth says:

    Wow I wish I was Dutch haha!
    This place looks fantastic and you guys sound like you had lots of fun🙂

  7. Suzanne says:

    It looks and sounds as if a good time was had by all. What a lovely setting for a gathering.

  8. RFW says:

    I love you clotted cream too – have not had it in awhile…mmmm

    • Leeswammes says:

      RFW, at the bakery I was told you can buy it in Utrecht in a shop that sells English import. So if I don’t make it myself I will look there. It’s so nice, isn’t it?

  9. Mystica says:

    It would be lovely to meet fellow bloggers with like minded interests.

  10. Bellezza says:

    Oh, I wish I could have joined you (even though my mother’s Dutch, not me, and I wouldn’t qualify). Your tea looks so delicious, and cozy, and I envy the time you had together with other book blogging friends. In a good way, of course. Blessings!

  11. Cindy says:

    It looks very charming🙂

  12. Americans make the exact same mistake with “High Tea.” That’s a really pretty bakery!

  13. Rachel says:

    We have “high tea” over here in Australia too. I think it is supposed to be “fancier” than afternoon tea… it is so fancy and trendy right now, in fact, that you can book your wedding reception at places that serve high tea! it’s all the rage😉

    • Leeswammes says:

      Rachel, that sounds really funny, a high tea at a wedding party! My mother had a high tea when she turned 80. It was nice too but in a hotel, quite a different atmosphere.

  14. Gnoe says:

    It was fun indeed and the food was delicious, although a bit expensive considering what you got. But hey, paying for the entourage as well.😉

    I’d had strawberry-basil jam before (love it) and especially found the orange-mango jam a treasure; it lacks the bitterness of ordinary marmalade.

    Have you ever tried a crème fraîche-mascarpone ‘clotted cream’ version???

    • Gnoe says:

      Forgot to add: two more pics on Flickr (unfortunately Chinoiseries just closed her eyes).

      Dutch Book Bloggers having afternoon tea
      Dutch Book Bloggers having afternoon tea

      • Leeswammes says:

        Nice pictures, Gnoe. The first one with Janny and a closed-eyed Chinoiseries. The second with me in the background and Iris in full view. And great shots of all the food we got.

    • Leeswammes says:

      I don’t think I have, Gnoe. Crme frache-mascarpone ‘clotted cream’ sounds a little lighter than the Cornish clotted cream that I am used to. The arteries-clogging type: one bite and cardiac arrest is around the corner. Full-full-full fat, we’re talking about!

  15. Iris says:

    I think you turned this into a great blog post🙂 Yes, it was a lot of fun. I agree with Gnoe that we paid a lot for um.. soup and cake, but it was nice nonetheless..

    • Leeswammes says:

      Thanks, Iris. It wasn’t cheap, I agree, but the experience was really great.

      I think just buying cakes and bread there is quite expensive too. But the quality is high, the bread I had was just so good! And the soup! The scones could have been smaller, actually.

      Anyway, it was fun and if it becomes a regular event, we can meet up in La Place next time!🙂

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  17. JoAnn says:

    Looks like you all had a fabulous time!

  18. Isalys says:

    Oh, what a lovely way to spend a day!! I’m a little bit jealous ;o)

    Unfortunately, Miami doesn’t offer too many Dutch bakeries so I might have to settle for hosting our own in a Starbucks! LOL

    I’m glad you had a great time!
    ♥Isalys

    PS: The tomato soup looks amazing (I ♥ soup!)

    • Leeswammes says:

      You know, Isalys, the nice thing about meeting up with book bloggers is that you all talk about something that other people find utterly boring and you can talk about for hours. It was great meeting like-minded people.c

  19. Esme says:

    Looks like you had a fun afternoon. I would have loved to have joined you.

  20. Beth F says:

    Sob. I’m totally jealous! You got to meet up with other bloggers, you talked books and gossip, and you had a lovely meal. AND you’re in Holland. I haven’t been to Utrecht but I love the Netherlands and I hope to get back there in then next couple of years.

  21. LindyLouMac says:

    How great that there are other bookbloggers who all live close enough to be able to meet up like this. I would have loved to join you.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Yes, the Netherlands is a small country and the furthest one of us had to travel was 2 hours, and she combined it with something else she had to go to Utrecht for anyway. I think the closest was 10 minutes away or so. We need to dig out some more Dutch book bloggers, there must be many more!

  22. Miel Abeille says:

    This looks like the most delightful afternoon! I don’t think there is a bakery around me that is comes close to being that adorable! I’m jealous!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Miel, it was really nice. In Utrecht there are lots of canals with vaulted cellars around them (used to be for storage of goods, now there are lots of restaurants).

  23. chasing bawa says:

    How wonderful to meet everyone! It’s so exciting when you get bookish people together, isn’t it? I love meet-ups and reading about them:) And the bakery looks divine.

  24. Amy says:

    What a wonderful idea and it sounds like you had such fun. I love the look of the bakery you went to and, as a huge fan of tea, I love those china tea cups, very pretty!

    It’s so nice to take this on-line community and move it into the real world for a bit, putting faces to the names we come to know so well.

    Great post!

  25. signalman says:

    Sounds like a good time was had by all !

    It also looks like the tea rooms are in the arches by the mani canal in the city…I’ve been intended to go to eat at an Indian restaurant there for ages ( Moonlight ? Passage to India ? Can’t remember🙂 but never quite make it.

    Maybe this will inspire me as Utrecht is a great city to visit.

    • Leeswammes says:

      Utrecht is really nice, Signalman! This was not the main canal in the city but a bit hidden from the main area with some more local shops. I’m not sure about that Indian restaurant, there is one next to a Thai restaurant in the wharfs on the main canal. Both those restaurants have been tried and approved by me.🙂

  26. Lelia says:

    Tea is clearly the universal language….along with clotted cream of course. Let us know if you come up with a great recipe. It is really hard to find in the states!

    • Leeswammes says:

      Clotted cream is not easy to find in the Netherlands, either, Lelia. I will share if I find a good recipe. Although going to the English shop in the next town is a serious candidate too.😉

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