I am walking at a narrow plastered alley, on a cold Monday morning. The air is crisp and the skies are pale blue. I have half an hour until my meeting, so I choose to wander around aimlessly, looking at doorsteps, windows and rooftops. A small bakery looks really busy, people going in and out, holding big bags. I stop at their window. Piles of cookies, bread of all sorts, cakes and croissants and mini pizzas. But most of all, pies! Fruit and cream and custard pies of all sizes and decorations. Small explanatory signs in Dutch: Vlaai.
Rijstevlaai, Kruimelvlaai, Kersenvlaai. Vlaai, vlaai, vlaai. What is this???
I go in the bakery. I come out holding a box with 3 different Vlaai pieces. I sit on a bench at the church park nearby. It’s the beginning of a new chapter in my life: The Dutch Vlaai!