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It's Sinterklaas his birthday!
Earlier we've told you all about kruidnoten, and why Dutch children put shoes in front of the fireplace. In the mean time December 5th, Sinterklaas' eve (his birthday), has been approaching very rapidly. The shopping malls in the Netherlands are packed with people right now, who are buying the last presents, kruidnoten, and other Sinterklaas delicacies. And the children can't wait to be visited by his holiness and his two 'zwarte pieten'.
In this blogpost, I'd like to tell more about the tradition of chocolate letters. A chocolate letter is a delicacy made out of chocolate, in the shape of a letter. I hear you think, that that's very obvious. But fortunately, there's a lot more to tell about it. The history of the chocolate letters starts with Dutch bakers who were making letters out of all kinds of materials (bread dough for example) in the 19th century. Nowadays letters made out of puff pastry and almond filling are also very popular.
P is from Piet
You give chocolate letters as a small gift, for example when the children put their shoes in front of the fireplace. Or as a small gift from an employer to his employees. You receive a letter that corresponds to the first letter in your name. But if that's not possible (some letters are very rare in the supermarkets), a P (from Piet) or S (from Sinterklaas) will do as well.
Lots of flavour
Chocolate letters are available in all sorts of flavours. Dark or milk chocolate, hazelnut or praline and so forth. The letters all have the same weight, so it doesn't matter if you buy a M or an I. Dutch children are usually really upset if their names are Inge or Ivo. That's because they think that the letter I will be much smaller than the ones their brothers of sisters named Maarten of Marijke will get. But that's not true, the manufacturers make the I a little bit thicker for example. The font that is used for the chocolate letters is the Egyptienne.
Enjoy your Sinterklaas' eve!!
P.S. Do you speak a little bit Dutch? Then it's a lot of fun to follow the official Sinterklaas on Twitter: http://twitter.com/SintNicolaas
Written by DelicaTessa