Holland is true dairy country. We spread our bread with butter, then top it with cheese. We drink gallons of milk, and traditionally we finish our meals with a dairy product: vla, yogurt, kwark and lots and lots of puddings. Vla, a pourable thick custard, alone has more than twenty flavors and combinations and is often found in at least two varieties in a Dutch household fridge.
Besides desserts, milk also finds itself back in our beverages. Koffie verkeerd, (wrong coffee, so called because of the large amount of milk it contains), chocolate milk, buttermilk, drink yoghurt and endless milk drinks with fruit flavors are available to young and old. And then ofcourse there are the more traditional beverages such as slemp and anijsmelk, both warm drinks with spices and sugar.
Anijsmelk is an old-fashioned Dutch “night-cap”. The warmth of the milk and the soothing qualities of aniseed on both the stomach and the spirit will make you want to curl up and snooze. Perfect for those early, cold winter nights when you can’t sleep!
1 cup of milk
1 full teaspoon of aniseed
2 teaspoons of sugar or honey
Warm the milk with the seeds, either loose or in a tea egg. Bring to a slow boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for a good five minutes. Pour the milk through a strainer to remove the seeds, add sugar or honey to taste. Drink warm. Welterusten!