Unveiling Infinissime- J’adore’s Ode to Women of Strength & Feminity

Legendary Coco Chanel said, “a woman who doesn’t wear perfume has no future.” Christian Dior said, ”Perfume is a mark of female identity and the final touch of her style.”

Infinissime, the new Eau de Parfum reconstructed by Master Parfumeur- Créateur François Demachy of the House of Dior from the original classic J’adore of 1999, was released worldwide in September this year as the latest scent for Dior’s J’adore line of perfumes. I was invited to experience what it is to be a woman empowered by Infinissime by the Dior boutique at the high-end department store, de Bijenkorf in The Hague.

J’adore (French for “I love”), is dubbed as a fragrance of confidence and a perfume for the empowered woman. Check out Actress Charlize Theron as she returns for J’adore’s Infinissime’s ad campaign, wearing a gold necklace that winds unevenly around the neck, mimicking the perfume’s bottle, and signifying independence and strength, Dior Chin Up, they captioned. South African Theron has been J’ádore’s face since 2004 and the first celebrity signed by Dior, the perfect face for J’adore for a woman of beauty and brains, accolades and nominations in the field of performing arts.

But let’s not forget what François Demachy said about perfumes, “A successful perfume is one in which the formula is as beautiful as the fragrance… one that makes the woman wearing it smile and awakens desire in a man.” I suppose we shouldn’t make an overstatement on women’s power if Demachy, the creator of Infinissime is to marry the Infinissime woman in a man’s world. I can’t help but add what Persolaise of Persolaise Perfumes read from the lavish press release which he commented as, “cringy” about these lines, “… being a woman, she is a woman infinitely proud and noble. Head held high, she has boundless strength…” and so on. All of that epitomised in the perfume’s commercial with Charlize Theron and her back-up women wearing shimmering dresses in gold, heads held high in confidence as they move forward to the music of Kanye West’s Flashing Light. Impressive and modern, but I still also like the old commercial of J’adore when the original perfume came out in 1999, created by perfumer Calice Becker. The concept was gold and its mesmerising effect, translated into the scintillating top notes of magnolia, melon, peach, pear, bergamot and Mandarin orange. Model Carmen Kass steps into a pool of gold liquid to the tune of Barry White’s low and sensuous voice, Never, Never Gonna Give You Up. Feminine, Sultry, Alluring.

The new design of J’adore Infinissime. Dior photo

At the Dior boutique, Cher, one of Dior’s beauty and perfume specialists, blind tests me with eight of the notable notes in the new perfume in their purest form. Like most modern perfumes, Dior uses synthetics but in the heart of its perfumes, flowers are vital to its formula and image. We started with Jasmine Sambac, a key element and used in all Jádore fragrances due to its “olfactory qualities,” according to Demachy. It is sourced in Tamil Nadu where he visits each year, and the flower is harvested by the crack of dawn when its scent is at its peak.

According to Demachy, Jasmine Sambac has something “animal and powerful about it.” A slightly orangey and sensual quality.
Photo: australianplantsonline.com

Next, I smelled Tuberose. It’s in the very heart of this new creation. The flower is once again re-introduced in Grasse during the last ten decades, where it wasn’t seen since the 1950’s. It is harvested when the sun goes down, as Cher mentioned. At dusk, it releases its powerful smell, and its scent is extracted with the age-old process called, enfleurage, only used in Grasse, where carefully prepared wooden frames are coated with a plant-based grease and then blanketed with the flowers and slowly absorb their fragrance. The frames are then turned every 24 hours and covered again and again with fresh flowers until the desired scent is acquired. Tuberose has a waxy or buttery smell of white flowers, so powerful that during Victorian times in England, it was suggested that young girls should be forbidden to inhale the powerful tuberose scent for fear of inciting sexual impulses! During the Italian Renaissance, it was forbidden for unmarried girls to walk through the gardens where tuberose exercised her erotic and intoxicating power, so they would not succumb to drunkenness and men maddened by the erotic smell. It was said that a woman who exudes the scent of tuberose cause mimicry recalling orgasm. Such is the bewitching power of this precious flower, it has to be used with caution. If I have to re-write what was written in the press release, it will be, Intissime-seductive, alluring, magnetic and everything that embodies a woman of beauty and elegance, a woman to behold.

Tuberose Photo: jayeshp912

We didn’t go through all the ingredients but we ended with the beautiful smell of the aromatic Sandalwood, grown in Sri Lanka, in Dior’s Secret Garden. “So secret and heavily guarded, the people working there do not even have the chance to see the whole place”, says Cher.

Demachy describes sandalwood as woody with a milky note, slightly animalistic, and a little bit spicy that gives volume and power. Just like the Jasmine Sambac, sandalwood is used in the Jádore line of perfumes.

photo: candlescience.com

Other notes in the heart are Centifolia Rose and Ylang Ylang.

While I enjoyed the afternoon ritual of smelling the ingredients and the beautiful introduction to Infinissime, it’s the use of face mask that hindered me to enjoy the scent to its fullest. I admit that it is a beautiful smell, sophisticated, but one I have to get used to. Smelling it on a card for a few seconds and covering your face again wasn’t the best thing to do. I would have preferred to smell it also in the air as it’s being sprayed. It adds “embellishment” to the sombre atmosphere we are going through during these uncertain times. Estee Lauder said, “Perfume is like a new dress, it makes you quite marvellous.” I wanted to feel it marvellous!

Sayuri, The Hague Dior’s new boutique manager replacing Cher who stepped back last year, prepared Jádore bath concoction. Another J’adore to try. We pretended that we were having a bath and enjoying the luxury of Jádore shower & bath oil even if it’s just cotton wool soaked in water with drops of the oil added, sitting on our hands. A must have to intensify Infinissime on your skin or simply soaking on J’adore!

I left the launch smelling J’adore and with my favourite Dior product line, Dior Snow, along with a sample of Infinissime in tow and a little of the new Dior Prestige Light-in-White L’óleo Essence Lumiere (a bit of a mouthful)- a light, whitish lotion with a beautiful texture and a lovely smell of Granville roses.

I wasn’t transformed to be a woman of power or felt like it, but delighted to have met the new Jádore creation which I’m sure will be welcomed with much pleasure and one to love by those who need the strength to keep their heads high and a Dior Chin Up boost, until François Demachy comes up again with something more empowering or lavishing and it won’t be long. Oui, J’adore Dior!

White roses on your skin to give you that extra radiance and youthful look!

*Dior photos


J’ADORE HUILE DE DOUCHE ET BAIN

Shower & Bath Oil. Cleans and enhances and delicately perfumes the skin with the enveloping floral notes of J’adore. The oil melts into the skin with a fine lather on contact with water.

*Dior photo

Our pretend bath prepared by Sayuri.

It’s the sweet-smelling J’ádore Shower & Bath oil.

*All Dior products mentioned are available in Dior boutiques in de Bijenkorf Department Stores (Netherlands), Perfumeries and dior.com

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STREET FOOD WITH A VIEW, a twist of Asian food in a western setting

JaneSNA

There’s something about Street Food that whets my appetite. More often than not, it’s informal presentation makes it fun and enjoyable: The aroma of food being prepared in open-air and the joie de vivre the cooks put on show in front of their customers.

Looking back into the history of Street Food, it has always been thought of as food for the poor. Not anymore. Many Street Foods have become sophisticated in their presentation and ingredients re-invented, they can rival your normal go-to restaurant. Having said that, there’s a different Street Food atmosphere I discovered in my city of Delft. Serendipity!

I love walking in Oude Delft. The street is lined with cafe’s and restaurants and has always been lively with diners both local tourists and international tourists alike. The city of Delft between The Hague and Rotterdam was one of the most visited places in The Netherlands (before Covid-19)…

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STREET FOOD WITH A VIEW, a twist of Asian food in a western setting

There’s something about Street Food that whets my appetite. More often than not, it’s informal presentation makes it fun and enjoyable: The aroma of food being prepared in open-air and the joie de vivre the cooks put on show in front of their customers.

Looking back into the history of Street Food, it has always been thought of as food for the poor. Not anymore. Many Street Foods have become sophisticated in their presentation and ingredients re-invented, they can rival your normal go-to restaurant. Having said that, there’s a different Street Food atmosphere I discovered in my city of Delft. Serendipity!

I love walking in Oude Delft. The street is lined with cafe’s and restaurants and has always been lively with diners both local tourists and international tourists alike. The city of Delft between The Hague and Rotterdam was one of the most visited places in The Netherlands (before Covid-19) for its Gothic churches with their spirals that can be seen from the Market Square, old-style shops and historical buildings and the stunning architecture of our City Hall in the Renaissance style.

With the lockdowns, Oude Delft and the charming restaurants lining both sides of the street became deserted. It became a “ghost town” except for few people strolling the city centre. I was one of them. It also gave me the time to peep into the windows of closed restaurants and read their sign boards.

The quiet Oude Delft these days. Hopefully it will pick up during the summer months
A view from the window of Street Food by Han. The spiral of the New Church & belfry of the City Hall behind the tree
Historical residential homes in Oude Delft
Oude Delft. A lively scene on a King’s Day. We haven’t had this crowd for the last 2 years because of Covid-19

“Street Food by Han”, says the sign and they are open for take-away. No, they are not cooking on the street. This Street Food is not one where you see someone cooking out in the open air but inside a quaint and historical building in Oude Delft, one of the old streets in this charming 15th-century old city. The interior is Asian using Chinese lattice patterns on wood attached on the walls, colourful hanging lanterns and adorable bird cages. The menu is *Asian Fusion, created by chef and entrepreneur Han Ji, the first mainland Chinese from Qingdao who came to The Netherlands as a student way back in 1999 to study International Economics and Econometrics, and the first Chinese chef immigrant to have received a Michelin star for his restaurant named HanTing (a combination of his name and his wife’s) they opened in 2009. After ten years, the restaurant was later renamed, re-made and re-opened its doors in 2018, no longer a Michelin star restaurant but a place where you are transported to the bygone Imperial China to experience and celebrate the art of Chinese cuisine that was once served to emperors and dignitaries, and be treated as a royalty. The restaurant was named, Zheng. One day when I get to meet chef Han Ji, I will ask him what is behind the name.

Street Food by Han Ji was launched in 2019 and can be found in the cities of Amsterdam, Eindhoven, Delft & Rotterdam. With their palatable menu, I keep going back.

The front exterior of Street Food by Han in Oude Delft, Delft
Street Food’s interior -exotic lanterns hovering above you
A dramatic spiral staircase lighted by an elegant chandelier
Looking down from above
Another spiral staircase to climb on (to the WC’s)
The back room of Street food. A nice spot to sit when the sun comes shining through

I may not be seeing how things are being prepared in the kitchen but I can smell the aroma of the condiments put together by the creative cook and savour the tasty flavours of my dining-in orders, the take-home orders and my home deliveries. My favourites are these sandwiches from their Sandwich Bar. YummyLicious!

From their Curry Bar, I have tasted these yummy bites. So delicious they were already half-eaten before I can take photographs. To show the actual menu, I have pulled these three photos below from HanTing delivery archive.

Sweet Chicken Satay with Teriyaki sauce Photo: HanTing delivery archive

Satay Peanut Chicken Croquette with curry sauce Photo: HanTing delivery archive
A combination of grilled and smoked salmon on a bed of fresh vegetables topped with mayonnaise. Photo: HanTing

What’s a Sunday lunch if you can’t share it with a friend? I invited my friend Rose, a foodie who has a fetish for food presentations (as I do) to try Street Food. As usual, I ordered my favourite Sweet Tori Sando and Rose had a Bao Bun called, Don’t Chicken Out. No, we didn’t!

Don’t Chicken Out Photo: HanTing archive

For the next round, Rose went for another Bao Bun-These Shrimps Are Made For Eating and I concluded my lunch with Yuzu Misu Will Cheer You Up and a tea with a lovely taste- milky Oolong. Earlier, we also had our “aperitif”. A wholesome fruity drink which is a concoction of carrot, watermelon, guava and other luscious fruits blended together. It was so good, Rose had two glasses and I forgot to take a photo.

These Shrimps Are Made For Eating Bao Bun
Surely, Yuzu Misu Will Cheer You Up
The latest appetiser we tasted. Can’t remember the name.

There’s still so much Street Food by Han to be discovered and with 365 days in a year, I may just be able to go through their whole menu before another year is before us.

If you ever find yourself in Delft, drop by Street Food by Han at Oude Delft 125.

If you’re reading this from outside The Netherlands, check out their website and see what they are offering in this side of the world. The description in their website is in Dutch but the pictures paint a thousand words. Bon appetit! Eet smakkelijk! Itadakimasu! Chī hǎo hē hǎo!

https://streetfoodbyhan.com

FUSION:

*First coined by renowned chef Norman Van Aken in the late 1980s, “fusion” has been used increasingly to group together various types of cooking — and no cuisine has been associated with fusion more than Asian. … Call it fusion, of course. It’s an umbrella term that’s evolved to being used almost entirely by default. -https://www.foodrepublic.com/2015/04/07/is-it-time-we-stop-using-the-term-asian-fusion/

For a little sight-seeing in Delft, check out my video collaboration with friends:

From booze to food, that’s Balthasar for you!

JaneSNA

The Koperen Kat brewery, de Kokkerie (deli), and a Chef discovered that a beer can be eaten. With little bit of creativity, a mustard came about. A mustard they named, Balthasar.

It’s a mustard with a story that will connect you with history so that is what makes it special and ”rare.”

If you’re not a beer drinker or a mustard lover, here’s where you can taste both and enjoy the lovely marriage of a beer and a mustard. A beer specially brewed and a mustard recipe that was carefully planned. Think of Amuse Bouche without the trimmings on the plate to delight the eyes, but a taste and smell to titillate the mouth and invigorate the palate. That’s exactly what this mustard is all about. It gives you that “kick” as Erwin van Oosten describes it, the culinarian & chef who came up with the recipe…

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Gautam, the GOLD(en) boy

Young but not restless, Gautam Ajay Chamman is cool, and I like him for his Joie de vivre!

At 32 years old, he is one of Delft’s youngest goldsmith’s in a city steeped in history. Think of Delft as a trade centre in the 16th & 17th century when businesses were booming, the shouts of merchants and clinking of coins deposited in every pocket or drawer; imagine when Johannes Vermeer lived here in the 1600’s and the rich dressed in their finest to have their portraits painted, and envision when Delft pottery called, “Delft Blue” brought prosperity to the city and the country and every able household owns an intricately painted Delft blue or two or more to show-off to their guests as a sign of wealth.

*When the French traveler Balthasar de Monconys, who visited Delft in 1663, explicitly stated that more trees line the streets of Delft than those of Rotterdam. He also noted that the houses in Delft were more beautiful and pleasant than elsewhere which was confirmed by Dirck van Bleyswijck, Delft’s city biographer, who had been burgomaster (commonly translated as Mayor) sometime during the 1670s, proudly asserted that visitors and writers admired the city because…”the houses of Delft are as beautiful, as elegant, as large and as high as can be found anywhere else in the Netherlands.”

To this day, many of those beautiful houses that Monconys have seen are still standing either as residential homes, or turned into chic offices or small shops that are quintessential to Delft. Here are a few in this slideshow.

Facade of a century-old house in the city centre
Beautifully maintained old homes in the city centre

In the centre of the city, century-old houses and buildings are still intact where Jewelry Delft, the cosy boutique and workshop beside the imposing Renaissance Stadhuis (city hall) where Gautam established himself as a jewelry designer, goldsmith, diamond appraiser rolled into one, showcases his bold creations and are on display for everyone who love hand-crafted fine jewelry.

The imposing Stadhuis (City Hall) on the Market Square
Jewelry Delft Boutique shop exterior just beside the Stadhuis

Inside Jewelry Delft is the open workshop where Gautam and his assistant, 24-year old Quint, busy themselves polishing, repairing and setting gemstones. Like Gautam, Quint is in the same school (now in his last year of his studies) where Gautam finished his gemological studies at the Vakschool Schoonhoven, the only school in The Netherlands offering courses on becoming a goldsmith or silversmith, a Jeweler and clock or watch maker.

Vakschool Schoonhoven is used to be called, Zilverschool (Silver school). It was established in 1895 in what is called the “silver city” of Schoonhoven, for its abundance of silver. Its full name was Rijksvak- en Kunstnijverheidsschool (Art School). Such a mouthful to translate into English but it was meant for vocational studies in gold-silver, clock/watch-making technique & Jewelers.

Schoonhoven is located in a rural area east of Rotterdam in South Holland.

With an education from a reputable school and a certified Gemologist by the Federation for European Education in Gemology (FEEG), you are assured that Gautam’s Jewelry Delft produces quality-made jewelries that will be with you for a lifetime. They offer after-purchase service like cleaning/polishing to keep your valuables in tip-top condition and even stone replacement if you want to upgrade.

Born and bred in The Hague, Gautam’s inspiration to be a designer came from his experiences as apprentice and working in a jewelry company after his gemological studies, where he has been repairing all sorts of jewelry that was brought to his attention. Those moments sparked his imagination to concentrate on designing and producing beautiful pieces of his own. That’s what he is today.

Gautam cannot be more than happy to be in Delft where he calls, “a city of art & history. I love its being compact, the little shops and how easily you can be a part of the community.”

And here too live some of the Old Money in a discreet way, the people that come to Gautam’s doorstep every now and then for something special.

Like Gautam, I love living in Delft for its quaintness. You go to the same small shops that have been run by the same families from one generation to the other. They remember you and your favourite things to buy but I frequent Gautam’s Jewelry Delft boutique shop to have the pleasure of viewing his beautiful creations. No money involved, just friendship.

I asked Gautam why he is not in Amsterdam where many millionaires live that may discover him. “Amsterdam is a bridge too far for me,” he said. “I like Delft. Amsterdam has become more commercial. It’s touristy. Here in Delft, you can be a real artisan and not be rushed to produce something. That gives me the pleasure to be creative.”

While Gautam can fashion a work of art from wood, he loves working with gold and gemstones. He uses a lot of tourmaline and other semi-precious stones in his designs that goes into his Dream-to-sell Line to “survive in the business,” he said. He believes that everyone should be able to enjoy a jewelry and it doesn’t necessarily have to have diamonds or sapphires because “citrine, for example is also a beautiful stone,” he added. Price for this line starts from €800.-

For those who have deep pockets, you have the Centre Pieces or unique pieces, one-of-a-kind designs embellished with precious stones : Sapphire, diamond, ruby & emerald. Price? Sky is the limit.

And for that everyday wear, any occasion wear, there is the Elegant or Bold Line. Looking at a price ranging from €5,000 – €15,000, your precious stones will make you the ‘jewel of the day’ wherever you will be and whoever you are with.

Gautam’s favourite colors are Green, Purple, blue and “happy colours” that are in many of his designs.

With only a mobile phone camera on hand to take some photos, I cannot replicate the true beauty of Gautam’s jewelries. Here are a few of those exquisite, beautiful craftsmanship and enviable pieces on display at Jewelry Delft (they were there at the time of my shooting in June this year). The professional shots are from the archives of Jewelry Delft.

Gautam is presently preparing his new collection to be showcased before winter. As usual. they will be Big, Bold and Beautiful!

Custom-made rings just for one special customer. That’s a huge statement!

“Big girls need big diamonds”- Elizabeth Taylor

If Elizabeth Taylor is still with us today, she will be delighted with Gautam’s love for big & bold. After all, what’s a jewelry if not to be flaunted and admired! Here’s one of his masterpieces.

Photo: Jewelry Delft

JEWELRY DELFT

Markt 25, 2611GP Delft

The Netherlands

Tel. +31 (0)6642755376

Email: info@jewelrydelft.nl

Instagram: jewelrydelft

*Professional photos were supplied by Jewelry Delft

*On Balthasar de Monconys and Dirck van Bleyswijck http://www.essentialvermeer.com/maps/delft/delft_in_vermeer’s_time.html

For more on Delft, watch the video on WELCOME TO DELFT:

From booze to food, that’s Balthasar for you!

The Koperen Kat brewery, de Kokkerie, and a Chef discovered that a beer can be eaten. With a little bit of creativity, a mustard came about. A mustard they named, Balthasar.

It’s a mustard with a story that will connect you with history and that is what makes it special  and ”rare.”

If you’re not a beer drinker or a mustard lover, here’s where you can taste both and enjoy the lovely marriage of a beer and a mustard. A beer specially brewed and a mustard recipe that was carefully planned. Think of Amuse Bouche  without the trimmings on the plate to delight the eyes, but a taste and smell to titillate the mouth and invigorate the palate. That’s exactly what this mustard is all about. It gives you that “kick” as Erwin van Oosten describes it, the culinarian & chef who came up with the recipe giving it a hint of sweetness and a white balsamic taste at the back of it. Delectable! Believe me, I’ve tried it!

Delft blue colour for the presentation to represent the city known for its blue pottery
enhance the taste of your salmon fillet with the Balthasar Tripel Mustard
Brussels Sprouts will never be bitter again with the Balthasar Tripel Mustard

De Kokkerie who partnered with the Koperen Kat for the mustard is a cooking studio and a private dining restaurant in Delft. But with Covid-19 and the lockdowns, it has not operated the way it should be and it is presently operating as a traiteur. It is spearheaded by Dutch celebrity chef Yuri Verbeek. With him are some of the best chefs and sommeliers in the country.  As summer approaches, a new menu is set to be unveiled and limited outdoor seating will be allowed.

A number of selected wines are available at their mini wine shop and an in-house Sommelier is present on weekends to give advice. You should find your mustard displayed here.

De Kokkerie doubles as a private dining restaurant and sometimes as a traiteur

The Koperen Kat that provided the beer ingredient for the Balthasar Tripel Mustard, is the oldest city brewery in The Netherlands and classified as craft brewery owned by Rolf Katte, a jolly & accommodating fellow who can memorise all the names of his beers on display and attentively watches the entrance door to welcome customers who drop in to pick up their cartons of beer, bottles beautifully labelled with stunning graphics that are very much a focal point in advertising his craft beers. When I asked Rolf if he is wary about being kidnapped since his front door has no security,  (I was recalling the 1983 kidnapping of Freddy Heineken), he shrugged his shoulders and said, “they can’t carry me!” and here’s why.

Don’t underestimate a Kat(te) that can roar!

The collaboration between de Kokkerie and Koperen Kat started here in this industrial area and building which was once-upon-a-time a cable factory. The Koperen Kat brewery had to throw 15,000 liters of beer due to the lockdown and with expiration date, they cannot be kept in stock while new beers are being brewed. Over a bottle of beer and long conversations, Chef Yuri suggested that they can come up with something enterprising by asking a talented chef with a well-developed palate to create something out of these “surplus.” With some experimentation came the birth of Balthasar Tripel Mustard.

a Tripel is blond to deep gold in colour because it doesn’t use caramelised sugar and is brewed with light Pilsner malt. The most important thing to remember about a Tripel is that it’s deceptively drinkable—they’re generally high alcohol beers (7.5% – 10% ABV) with all sorts of inviting flavors (spiciness, banana, fruit, some faint residual sweetness, citrus).

*ABV- Alcohol By Volume.

ERWIN VAN OOSTEN, THE CHEF WITH A “FINE TASTE”

“Would you like to try my new recipe?” Erwin asked as he displayed his mustard delivery in vacuum-sealed bags at De Kokkerie cooking studio. He’s come to show off his new invention but hush hush making sure the customers do not get their hands on the bag before they are even bottled.

A teaspoon in the mouth might be too much but as soon as it touched my tongue, it is almost as if I tasted wasabi but a very refined one that didn’t make my nose tingle. The smell is delicious with the infusion of honey, nutmeg, cinnamon, white balsamic vinegar, turmeric and that ‘’magic’’ ingredient of Balthasar Tripel beer. It is divine!

Excitingly, Erwin mentioned that the Dutch enjoy their cocktails or “borrel hapjes” with small bites of meat platter and a mixture of accompanying cheese slices and what better way to savour the drink and the food? To dip the “hapjes” in mustard! Unfortunately, that day at de Kokkerie was extremely busy and there was no one to show us where to get the cheese, let alone find other things to add to this photo to complete the ingredients in the mustard. But a bit of the mustard in itself is more than enough to guarantee its yummy-ness!

There’s turmeric and cinnamon and the goodness of other ingredients in that bottle.

Erwin is a Delftenaar and being true to his roots, he chose the Balthasar beer for his mustard recipe because Balthasar Gerard (where the beer was named after) is a significant part of Delft history (and The Dutch history) for the crime he committed on that fateful day on the 10th of July 1584, by shooting William I of Orange (also known as William the Silent, and later known as the ‘Father of the Fatherland’) at his residence in Delft which is now the Prinsenhof Museum. There, the holes where the bullet went through have been preserved. To Erwin, he wanted to connect the mustard as a Delft original connecting the past by its name. He could have used other beers but the Balthasar beer would give a connection to Delft.

Koperen Kat describes the Balthasar beer as: A beer with high alcohol content (8%) but also fresh, fruity with a slight bitter taste and not considered as a strong beer. And with these characteristics, one may have the tendency to over indulge by having one bottle after the other, oblivious that the beer takes over you slowly like an assassin. Of course, you will not end up with a fate as that of William I for over indulging. Just a word of precaution, drink moderately. There’s always another day.

With Balthasar mustard, the worry of getting drunk is very remote. It’s the craving to indulge on its goodness that will definitely happen and who should tell you to stop, you shouldn’t!

ERWIN’S (MIS)ADVENTURES

Erwin van Oosten is enviable. At 26, he worked as a chef with Holland America Cruise line and at 29, he became an Executive Chef in one of the small luxury cruise ships of Windstar Cruises. They cruise to 50 nations, calling at 150 ports throughout Europe, the South Pacific, the Caribbean, and Central America.

Having been on a cruise ship twice as a passenger on a clipper ship, the Star Flyer, I know the demands it takes to feed passengers who, for some, paid for a once-of-a-lifetime experience and dining is much looked forward to. At one time, for Chef Erwin, it was a learning curve.

From the Archive of the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, 2004, it reads:

Chef Erwin Van Oosten could be forgiven for not knowing what hit him when the rabbi ordered that the lasagne be sent back into the kitchen.

It was the executive chef’s first full day running the kitchen for a Caribbean cruise ship full of kosher passengers, and he had thought all was in order by the time the prodigious luncheon buffet had been laid out for the guests.

But it turned out the cheese lasagne had been cooked in a meat tray, and the head mashgiach — the rabbinic supervisor charged with ensuring that everything was properly kosher — had noticed the mistake before any guests dug in.

“I was shaking,” the chef recalled later that night in the elegant dining room of the Wind Surf, the flagship vessel of the luxury line of Windstar cruises. The company chartered out the vessel for four weeklong kosher cruises this winter.

“Kosher is not different as long as you follow the rules,” the Dutch chef said. “But sometimes we make mistakes.”

For years, many large cruise liners have turned parts of their kitchens kosher to accommodate groups of kosher passengers, but the partnership with Windstar was the first attempt to make an entire ship kosher. A 290-passenger ship complete with sails, the Wind Surf would make everything kosher — from the champagne to the emergency rations on the lifeboats.

Matthew Shollar, the man behind the kosher excursions noted that even the crew ate kosher.

That, I would say, is a “feather in the cap” of Chef Erwin. Cooking, feeding and eating kosher. Being one with those who came to live on board for a month. L’Çhaim! To life!

Returning home with a vast experience of creating different dishes from his many travels, he joined the “Lekkerste Broodje Horeca” sandwich-making competition which he won easily with his Ostrich-licious. That is luscious! It can’t be more luxurious, especially if he had discovered he could make a mustard with the Balthasar beer at that time. If it was wine, that sandwich would be considered full-bodied. But Erwin’s true passion is cooking on weekends for friends and family where he said, “to blow their minds.”

Due to Covid-19 pandemic, Erwin’s teaching in some culinary institutes in the country is put on hold. But being good in what he does, there’s no lack of opportunity to hone his skills and talents in the kitchen. He is presently working at the European Patent Office as a chef and Erwin always pictures in his mind, his many travels around the world and the flavours of the many different dishes from different cultures he has tasted, all of which has enriched his cooking and admits that he doesn’t adhere to a particular style. And for everything he has learned and experienced in different kitchens he said, “I put my spin on the things I make.”

As for Balthasar Tripel Mustard, it will remain a point of conversation at the table and in “borrels”, one you can savour without being tipsy. As long as Balthasar beer continues to thrive at the Koperen Kat brewery, it will always be with us for our borrel hapjes and cooking pleasure.

The Balthasar Tripel mustard is now available to purchase in some shops in Delft like the Van Oosten Zeevishandel along the Buitenwatersloot, Molen de Roos near the Prinsenhof Museum and where tram 1 passes, Koos Bertels, one of the oldest grocers in the city on the narrow alley beside the Oude Kerk (Old Church), not to mention that you can also buy it from de Kokkerie.

Molen de Roos along tram 1 tracks
Koos Bertels beside the Oude Kerk on Schoolstraat 34 2611 HS Delft
Koos Bertels is the oldest family owned grocer in the city running for over 80 years.
The Balthasar mustard and Koos Bertels make a good combination!
Zeevishandel van Oosten along the Buitenwatersloot, a few minutes walk from the train station is the city’s oldest fishmonger since 1923.This family-run business has been passed from one generation to the other.

Table Talk Pineapple You Tube channel brings you another cooking video using the Balthasar Tripel Mustard with Alain Rosier, a Sommelier in Michelin-starred restaurants, who will be cooking with this Delft original and also gives his wine pairing to his dish. To get to know how Balthasar Tripel Mustard got its name, here’s a brief introduction on Delft, the city where it all started.

And the cooking video:

And the wine pairing:

Balthasar Tripel Mustard is priced at €2.95- per pot and available to buy at the above mentioned outlets and at de Kokkerie.

de Kokkerie

Buitenwatersloot 42, 2613ST Delft

Telephone 015 215 8313 

info@dekokkerie.com

https://www.dekokkerie.com/

De Koperen Kat

Schieweg 15M

2627AN Delft

Tel. 06-4212 3398

info@dekoperenkat.nl

USEFUL INFORMATION:

The Koperen Kat, literally translated as “”Brass Cat,” is the oldest city brewery in The Netherlands that started its operation in 2011, reviving the city’s history as the biggest beer producer in the 16th century with 200 breweries producing 77 million liters of beer each year that were exported outside the country. Sadly, the 80 years war (1568 – 1648), the  war on Dutch independence from the Spanish crown ended the city as a  beer-brewing  capital and in 1922, the last brewery closed down.

Koperen Kat produces 70,000 liters of premium beer per annum carrying 12 different tastes and 3 others  called, “seizoensbieren” meaning Seasonal Beers.

De Kokkerie is the oldest cooking studio in The Netherlands that started in the 1980’s. It used to be a venue for private dining. With Covid-19 and the lockdowns, it is presently a traiteur with weekly menus for take-away. It has a wine shop carrying selected wines at reasonable prices.

For more on De Kokkerie and Chef Yuri Verbeek, you can read my previous blog. https://buitenwatersloot.wordpress.com/2021/03/19/serendipity-looking-for-ria-but-i-stumbled-on-yuri/

On Erwin van Oosten, check his video on https://youtu.be/2aG8X6ezCng

Windstar Cruises was named World’s Best Small Ship Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards.

On William I and his assassination: https://www.rijksmuseum.nl/en/rijksstudio/timeline-dutch-history/1568-1584-william-of-orange