Looking for real Dutch patisserie beyond Poffertjes and pancakes? Don’t miss to set Patisserie Holtkamp on Nr. 1 of your sightseeing list for Amsterdam. Packed in the smallest and most beautiful original Art Nouveau interior shop, you will get the most indulgent pralines, tarts, and cookies from Amsterdam and beyond within.
This pastry shop is the pure family tradition passed on already to the third generation by the patron and former owner “Grandpa Cees” – thoroughly recommended!
On my way to Patisserie Holtkamp
The light hitting the streets and reflecting in the windows is still pale blue this early morning when I walk beside the canals of charming Amsterdams city center. People appear just slightly busy though already working or on their way to offices, cycling or walking unhurriedly like this guy I ask direction to the Vijzelgracht. A word so hard for me to pronounce correctly although I am already used to the sound of the Dutch language – we had a family meeting the days before.
„Looking for Anne Frank House?“ he assumes. „No, Patisserie Holtkamp“ I answer. „Holtkamp?“ His eyes light up, and instantly he stops walking. How do you know? This ist the most famous patisserie in Amsterdam. And not only here! Their pastry is just divine, really special!“
In fact: Whoever I asked about traditional, handcrafted sweet food in Amsterdam strongly recommended to me this cute little pastry shop that since 1928 never changed its gorgeous style. Everyone – excellent chefs in the food industry from Germany to the Netherlands and every Dutch I asked, independent from age and lifestyle. Amazing!
Holtkamp is a patisserie like the ones described in old children’s books. A golden pretzel shining brightly in front of House No. 15 which seems to be just a beautiful window full of butter baked goodies framed by wood, magnetizing you to push the heavy door open that leads you to sweet heaven. Leaving no chance fo the smell of marihuana that still or again is drifting through early morning air to come inside. Instead: a melange of sugar, butter, and almonds. So surprising, so good!
Modern pastry in nostalgic interior
I take one, two, three deep breaths before recognizing the beauty of the original Amsterdam school interior style that still, after modernizing the shop, makes you feel like living in the 20s of an already passed century – instantly. Mainly influenced by expressionism and with borrowed elements of Art Nouveau and Art Deco like the wooden cupboards with loads of tiny drawers and showcase cabinets, the lovely old clock and adorable yellow and gray tiles on the floor.
A style so attractive, unique and traditional – the complete opposite of what I knew about Dutch food in general and especially pastry. To be honest: Thinking about Dutch delights my imagination always stopped at Poffertjes and Stroopwaffles. Nothing more worth mentioning crossed my way all the years before. Both you won’t find here.
Magic Formula: How to make finest marzipan and pastry
I have an appointment with Angela Holtkamp. She takes her time, even though she’s planning to close the patisserie shop to go on holidays in a few days and still has loads of work to manage. For over ten years now, Angela carries forward in best tradition what her father Cees Holtkamp has built up over more than 30 years. “Grandpa Cees” lives directly above the shop and “of course,” Angela says laughing, “has an eye on everything that happens in the bakery and the store.
But he also has plenty of time to share his incredible talent with his granddaughter and the rest oft he world from his kitchen one floor up. You definitely should watch his videos on foodtube.nl – even if you don’t understand the Dutch language, you can learn from the master personally.
„I’d like to be a customer myself when I was a little girl,“ says Angela. “I always loved sweets and pastry. But from the age of 3, I had to help in the bakery, cleaning the floor and give a hand with the making of chocolate and our bonbons”. Most of these pralines have been developed with love for one particular family member or friend in mind. “The first candy my father developed was the one with my name, Angela.
Much more came afterward, they carry the names of my two daughters, my mother, my brothers, family members, and friends. “He never developed his bonbon, that’s why we had fun to name one after him: Ceesje is a snowman and not always there.” Therefore something very special.
We go down the spiral staircase into the bakery. Nothing nostalgic here, everything is up to modern standards. I’m amazed at the size of the premises. They are just preparing chocolate, and an employee pours it over a Croquembouche – custom-built for a 60th birthday. Everything runs smoothly while this dream of cream filled profiteroles and chocolate is getting more and more beautiful.
They even produce their own “Hagelslag.” Do you know these chocolate sprinkles? The Dutch love to eat them on toast. I think the supermarket bought ones are excellent. But Holtkamps’s version is pure chocolate and of course miles away.
Two years of recipe testing
Jordy Cambach joins us. He is the patisserie chef and every day ensures the best quality. He refines old recipes, enriches the range with new ones.
He’s been here for a long time on this Monday morning. “Our days are starting early,” he says. “From 5:30 we start preparing our cookies and dry cakes. About 8:30 it’s time to make our fresh cream and fruit cakes.” I’m allowed to try a just finished selection and immediately understand why everybody is so enthusiastic about Holtkamp.
“Never cease to make things better than they are”
Every single one of these fancy cakes is light and airy, not too sweet, a little work of art with strong character. It takes about two years until a recipe is tested until perfection and ready for sale. “This is what makes my father unique and what he always tell us,” says Angela. “Always be critical and never cease to make things better than they are.”
That’s why a simple Boterkoek and Gevulde Koeken are as heavenly as Tompouce and the popular Citroen Meringues. “Our customers love them. I think we definitely found the perfect balance between the sweet meringue and the acid of the lemons…”
You will find more information about Patisserie Holtkamp on their website. If you are suffering an allergy, you can filter all products and know what to ask for specifically.
opening hours: Monday – Friday 8:30 – 18:00, Saturdays 8:30 – 17:00
Anybody of you already knows Patisserie Holtkamp? Would you like to visit them? Or do you have a different favorite patisserie in Amsterdam? Write your opinion in the comment box. I am looking forward reading them:-=