Saturday, November 17, 2007

SinterKlaas arrives today!

Today all the children in Holland are excited because SinterKlaas (the Dutch Santa) arrived in Holland on his steamboat. He lives in Spain and comes to Holland a few weeks before SinterKlaas avond ~ December 5th which is the day the children receive gifts from him. He helper is not an elf but Zwarte Piet (Black Peter).

December 6th is St. Nicolas Day which is the birthday of this saint. The season brings with it certain Dutch goodies one of which is speculaas or the spice cookie. I love speculaas not only to eat, as there is nothing better dipped in a cup of hot tea, but also for the beautiful molds used to create these wonderful cookies.

For years, I have been collecting these cookie molds large and small. I have a wall in my little kitchen where I hang them. They come in all sizes and various motifs. Click on the photo to enlarge it so you can really get a good look at them. The little lady with the baby on her back comes from a famous cookie shop on the market square in Brussels, Belgium. It was hand carved and very nicely detailed.

These are my newest molds. I purchased these in The Alsace, France. They are springerle molds. I fell in love with these being a stitcher who loves samplers and just had to add them to my collection.

These molds have not been darkened with any oil or stain and are actually able to be used for making the cookies. My other molds are just for show. I was taught by a baker in the National Bakery Museum how to make the cookies. It is a very work intensive process but so fun to see the forms of these molds come to life.

This mold is my largest and used to hang in an actual bakery. It was bought at an antique shop that was going out of business. It is very heavy as it is carved from a solid piece of wood.

Some of my 'newer' molds which still need to be hung. The husband of a good friend is always picking them up for me at flea markets. He found me a really special one that is double sided but has had wood worm. It is outside in our storage shed and will need to be handled to be certain before bringing it in the house.

Those three molds from the previous photo will hang on the wall with this lady and her gentleman. They are hanging where other pictures had been and too far apart. I will rearrange the wall with the other forms to make it look nicer. This way, I can simply add more nails to where these already are.

Another 'arrival' is the wine called Beaujolais nouveau. It is a wine that is fermented for only a few weeks and then sold as of the 3rd Thursday of November. We picked up two bottles this morning. I can't wait to see how this year's nouveau is! This wine has a special place in my heart. Back when I first immigrated to Europe, we lived in Brussels and I was unfamiliar with drinking wine. Jos and I used to take walks in the city in the evenings and stop for a drink in a cafe. He told me to try this young and fruity wine thinking I might like it. Each year, as it comes out, I am taken back to that first autumn here by my taste buds. How different it was to be in a big city and sit in a cafe sipping wine. You really never know where life will take you!

You can still sign up for the blog give~away on the last post if you have not done so. This is a long blog entry so I will save my responses for tomorrow.


Penny @ Lavender Hill Studio said...

What a wonderful treat to find out more about the holiday season from another country! Thank you.

I love all of your cookie molds! The wine sounds yummy.

Nancy said...

What an exciting time this must be in Holland!

I love your molds. What a fantastic collection you have.

Drink a glass of wine for me Heidi!

Enjoy this very special time,

Nancy said...

P.S. to my previous comment -

Thank you for the Mr. Sandman song. I have always loved that one!

Anonymous said...

Love your cookie molds, Heidi!! I wish I could join you in a glass of that wine ... have a glass for me, would you please?? :) Santa Claus arrives in Toronto tomorrow and in our town next Sunday. Have a great weekend! ~ hugs, Lynda xoxo

Nancy said...

Hey, you have added more since I was there last. Are you going to make me a giant cookie when I come?
I remember we did get one about a foot high in an area we went and sat on a bench eating it. Yummmmmy. I bought some speculaas at Aldi this morning when I went and was accused of forgetting you on skype. Heidi you are unforgettable and you know it. I was just delayed getting home.
Love you, Mom
PS: You can blame your brothers, neices and families. I have to get ready for Thanks for Givin. Right Kristy

Mary said...

These are just beautiful molds Heidi, such an impressive display. Unfortunately I have very little wall space in the kitchen so miss having cooking related things displayed.

Thanks for the info. on Dutch holiday traditions - just realized my late dear Mum shared her birthday, Dec. 6, with St. Nicolas.
I must run to Aldi and see if I can find those spice cookies like your Mom did!

You asked about the angels - yes, again I had to leave them for some other lucky person - I have several already and just have nowhere to place more! I do like to decorate for Christmas but have cut back the last couple of years because it was getting overwhelming. I will be doing some though - in fact tomorrow I think I'll start getting things out of the attic - went downtown to watch the 2 hr. Xmas Parade this morning and really do have the spirit now!!

Hope the painting turned out well - we are planning to do some after the Holidays!

Nunnie's Attic said...

Heidi thank you so much for sharing this post with us. Every time I hear of SinterKlaas I am reminded of Miracle on 34th Street. And your molds are just beautiful. And you have quite an extensive collection. Thank you for sharing your part of the world with us!


Sysan M said...

Heidi.....I didn't know you had this other blog. Such beautiful molds! I would love to taste one some day. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family. May it be filled with love, blessings and family.


Anonymous said...

Those Dutch traditions are fascinating. Thank you for sharing your mold collection with us. I have never seen anything like them before, but my sister-in-law is Dutch, so I'll ask her about them.


Kristen said...

The molds are all wonderful! The wine as well! I know that you have become quite at home there, but we miss you oh so much! We will just have to share you with Europe. :) The molds are so interesting to look at. I had never considered using wood to mold the cookies. Very interesting!

Ragged Roses said...

Hello Heidi! What wonderful cookie moulds - absolutely beautiful, especially grouped together like that. Lovely too to find out about Christmas celebrations in Holland (also lovely to hear Little House on the Prairie once more).
Kim x
PS I think I've been able to write that post about grey rainy days that we talked about a few weeks ago!

Andylynne said...

I love your cookie molds, and the story of how you collect them. I have clay cookie molds for sugar cookies. You suppose to cook the cookies in the molds. I haven't used them for that though. I unmold the cookies, because none are very big and you can do so. I also have ceramic cookie stamps as well. Isnt' it amazing how all aspects of our lives can be made more interesting, creative, and special. Cooking, drinking wine, sewing. The human spirit seems to want to be creative. People could have just threw pieces of dough and not worried about how it looked. Not cared to see if they could entice buyers to their shop with beautiful designs. They could indulge creative impulses by carving the molds. Or employ friends or family to do so. Thank you for sharing the Dutch celebrations it sounds like things are very busy and festive about now.
Have a glass of wine for all your blogging friends old and new. And have a wonderful holida season.

Helen said...

Wonderful Molds Heidi. They look so good hanging together on your walls. It would be great learning of their past histories.

regina barnett said...


Angela said...

Wow Heidi,
What a fantastic collection of moulds. They look so impressive all together. What a huge range of sizes and designs. No wonder you love them.
Learnig about the Dutch traditions and all about the delicious sounding speculaas was really enjoyable.
Enjoy, your Beaujolais Nouveau. We used to buy this in Cyprus as soon as it came out but haven't thought about it over here. Perhaps we should revive that tradition :>)Howe lovely that it has such wonderful memories for you.
Hugs, Angela :>)