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‘Borrel’ in Toronto

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I recently got commissioned to make some drawings of typical Dutch dishes for a pop-up restaurant in Toronto, Canada. Every Sunday afternoon from 1 till 6 pm Dutchman Justin and his Canadian fiancé Alison host a ‘borrel‘ in bar The Ossington on Ossinton Avenue.

Borrel‘ is the Dutch word for having drinks. A ‘borrel’ is always ‘gezellig‘ (a word that is hard to translate, but it means something like a cosy, intimate, amiable atmosphere) and there should be snacks (‘borrelhapjes‘) involved. The most famous ‘borrelhapje’ is the ‘bitterbal‘, a beef ragout battered in breadcrumbs and egg and then deep-fried. Dipped into mustard they’re absolutely delicious! Justin makes them from scratch for the ‘borrel‘, even better than the processed ones you get in The Netherlands! ⤵

bitterballenbier_700wThe main dish at the Ossington Borrel is a mash of curly kale (‘boerenkool‘), potatoes and bacon, served with smoked sausage and gravy. Now none of the Dutch dishes are very pretty to look at but the mash especially doesn’t look very appetizing, so this was a real challenge to draw! It definitely tastes better than it looks!! ⤵

boerenkool_700wFinally there are ‘poffertjes‘, small puffy pancakes. Now whoever invented these was a genius! Served with a slab of butter and powdered sugar they are truly irresistible. ⤵

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