I remember walking into my first Dutch supermarket to buy some milk, and saw aisles and aisles of this stuff called vla. I initially thought it was some type of drinking yoghurt or milkshake; it was stacked next to the refrigerated drinks after all. I was always curious to try some as fellow shoppers were chucking them into their shopping baskets by the gallons. Het is lekker?
As Wikipedia puts it: Vla is a Dutch dairy product made from fresh milk.
Originally, the term “vla” was used to describe any custard-like substance that covered cakes in the 13th century. This brought about the term “vlaai” which is the umbrella term for a type of pie with a pastry base and an ooey gooey topping or filling.
Nowadays, vla refers to this custard-like product that is often eaten as a dessert - toetje - or a snack - tussendoortje - that is fondly recognised as a comforting dish enjoyed by most Nederlanders in their childhood.
It’s all very technical too. According to the Warenwetbesluit Zuivel (Product Law Decision Dairy), a dairy product my only be called vla if it contains the following:
zetmeel (cornstarch, though traditionally eggs were used)
at least 50% cow’s milk (milk fat to be at least 2.6%)
sugar or some kind of flavour (the most popular is vanilla, but this also includes chocolate, caramel, banana, orange, rum, blackcurrant, raspberry, strawberry, cinnamon, peach and apple)
As you can imagine, this makes the vla have an incredibly thick consistency. Many would place it between a thick custard and a pudding. Having tried it myself, I would agree with this comparison. It’s very smooth, and very sweet.
You can buy vla at pretty much every Dutch supermarket, as I mentioned at the beginning of this post. I hear that it’s pretty exclusive to the Netherlands, however I know that some places in Belgium and Germany have also started marketing the stuff.
So, if you’re feeling peckish and need that little hole in your tummy to be filled… get yourself some vla!
Heeft je geprobeerd vla? Je eet het op zijn eigen of je eet het met iets anders (zoals hagelslag)? Laat me weten wat je denkt!
I opened up an old viola concerto in the baroque style I was writing years ago….I’ve been scared to look at it since it’s one of the most fleshed out pieces I’ve written. Gonna be editing this shit like crazy over the next month to try to get it completed.