Antillean caterers in the Netherlands work overtime during Christmas

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A post by Peter Jordens.

John Samson of NTR Caribisch Netwerk reports that Christmas is a busy time for Antillean catering companies in the Netherlands.

Almost all Antillean caterers had to stop accepting orders at the beginning of Christmas week. Even just before Christmas Eve, they still receive last-minute phone calls from customers who want to have ‘ayaka’ (the Venezuelan-based ‘hallaca’) and a Christmas ham. “Even though we have posted a message on our site that we no longer take orders, we still receive calls. Unfortunately, we too want to celebrate Christmas, so no really means no”, Julio Ignacio of Antillean Food says. Crystal Henriquez made the one-and-a-half-hour trip from her hometown Apeldoorn to Amsterdam to pick up her special Christmas order. “I miss my island and ayaka is about the only taste of Curaçao that I can get in this cold weather,” said the overjoyed Henriquez as she fills her bag with ayakas and a big Christmas ham.

At Bandabou Catering in Amsterdam, Christmas and New Year’s orders start coming in as early as October. Unlike other caterers, they have a hard time saying ‘no’ to customers. That’s why they work from nine o’clock in the morning till three o’clock in the night during the pre-Christmas rush. Lovers of Antillean cuisine together order about 330 pounds of Christmas ham and 600 ayakas from this caterer. ‘Sùlt’ (vinegar pig ears), ‘pekelé’ (cured salmon) and ‘empaná’ (patties) are also among the favorite orders.

Vicento Cakes in Zoetermeer has received orders for dozens of Antillean cakes and more than 500 ayakas. “We’re really busy here! People sometimes have to stand for two hours waiting for their order; it’s that busy this year,” says owner Taizy Vicento. Nowadays cakes are often included in the Christmas package orders. For the die-hard lovers of Antillean baking, the ‘bolo di kashupete’ (cashew cake) is a must-have. Those who are willing to pay at least 85 euros for a 500-gram cake go for the ‘bol’i preimu’ (plum cake). This king of the Antillean cakes requires a preparation time of a few months and is therefore made only for special occasions.

The Antillean Sha’s Exotic Snacks in Ghent, Belgium, also receives orders for their special year-end package. “It’s not the Antilleans who order the most, but the Belgians,” says Sharelly Regina. “Antillean cuisine is becoming better known in Belgium. Our Belgian customers either have Antillean colleagues or have been to the islands.”

For the original article (in Dutch) go to http://caribischnetwerk.ntr.nl/2014/12/24/antilliaanse-cateringbedrijven-in-nederland-draaien-overuren.

Websites of the catering companies mentioned (all in Dutch):

http://antilliaans-eten.nl

http://www.bandabou.nl

http://www.vicentotaarten.nl

http://www.shasnacks.com

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