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Food for thought: De Dutch

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De Dutch is a Dutch-western Canadian breakfast and lunch franchise specializing in sweet and savoury pancakes called “pannekoeken.” The only location outside of BC is in the heart of downtown Edmonton on Jasper Ave.

De Dutch has a unique origin story. According to DeDutch.com, a Dutchman called John Dys “joined the Dutch army, but soon realized it wasn’t quite for him. However, there were only three ways to leave the army: either by finishing the full-service period and retiring, by emigrating to
another country, or; by dying. Since he was nowhere near retirement age, the second option seemed to be the most attractive. So in 1955, John packed up his clogs and emigrated to Canada and opened the first De Dutch restaurant in BC.”

Now over 50 years later, there are 16 De Dutch locations with a large customer base. The Edmonton location opened in 2012 and is a popular destination for the famous pannekoeken.

The manager of the Edmonton franchise, Jeff Van den Biggelaar describes pannenkoeken as “a cross between a traditional pancake and a French pancake. They are the size of a crepe, but in thickness they are in between a crepe and a traditional pancake. The inside is supposed to be almost like a custard. They are really unique, and we can make them sweet or savoury with fillings inside or toppings.”

When asked what sets De Dutch apart from other places in the city, Van den Biggelaar said, “the service and the quality of the food is above a lot of places. And the uniqueness of us using Dutch ingredients and some of the Dutch specialty items that we put out.” De Dutch gets a lot
of specialty items straight from Holland through a supplier called Royal Imports.

One of their popular imported products is a special syrup called “stroop.” According to myrecipes.com, stroop “is a syrup that features heavily in (Dutch) morning cuisine. Made by boiling down fruit (most often apple, but pear is also common), the finished product is thick and sticky with colour and consistency similar to caramel.”

Van den Biggelaar said that other Dutch specialties offered at De Dutch include “a French fry sauce called ‘fritessaus’ which is similar to mayonnaise and something called ‘chocolate hail,’” which are small chocolate sprinkles that are traditionally used on bread and other baked
goods in Holland.

When asked what a must-try item on the menu is, Van den Biggelar immediately responded with “the ‘meat lovers pannekoek,’ which is a savoury specialty pancake. It has four different types of meat inside: sausage, ham, bacon, and turkey bacon. They are all cooked into the pancake, with Gouda cheese and tomatoes on top. And then it’s served with the stroop,” he explained.

One of De Dutch’s fun traditions is that they give a roll of Mentos to dine-in customers every Wednesday. “Mentos is a Dutch candy that we import,” said Van den Biggelaar. There are lots of different flavours, including black licorice which is a popular treat in Holland.

De Dutch also has several options for people with dietary restrictions, including gluten allergies, lactose intolerances, and vegan/vegetarian lifestyles.

Van den Biggelaar said De Dutch is a “company that tries to focus on all the little things.” When dining at De Dutch, be prepared for a quality experience with authentic and unique Dutch food.

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