Monday, January 7, 2008

Anijsblokjes / Dutch Anise Blocks



For as long as I can remember, my mom has kept at least a few long, thin tubes of Dutch anijsblokjes, or anise blocks- anise-flavoured sugar cubes used to make anijsmelk (anise milk)- in the spice cupboard. So of course, it follows that when I was a child, my mom and I often enjoyed anijsmelk in place of hot cocoa. Now that I live across the country, she sends a few tubes, which I hoard unabashedly, each year with my Christmas presents (thank you, mom!). I know that hot milk is something most people consider a children's drink, but I still love it, especially when transformed by a little something extra.

Not surprisingly, I love black licorice, pastis and ouzo, anise oil, and fennel in all forms; however, I will be the first to tell you that these sweet cubes are, strangely enough, very different. Drop one or two anijsblokjes into a mug of steaming hot milk and stir to help the wide, grainy cubes dissolve quickly. When you raise the cup to your lips, a sweet, subtle, almost floral scent swirls under your nose. Very delicately flavoured and not overbearingly sweet, anijsblokjes transform hot milk into a fragrant, soothing, perfect-for-cold-weather nightcap. Even L likes them, and he hates black licorice- and if that's not a selling point, then I don't know what is!

I've seen anijsblokjes in a few European grocery stores around the country, and a quick search turned them up in stores online as well. If you are lucky enough to spot them on a shelf near you*, be sure to give them a try. If you're feeling extremely generous, you are always welcome to send some my way, too!

* Unless you live in Holland, of course, in which case you can probably find them anywhere. I am supremely jealous.

9 comments:

Lesha said...

I wonder if they're available in Italy too. I'll let you know...

cheers
lesha

la petite gourmande said...

I'd be interested to know!

Anonymous said...

I didn't find them...I'll try in a very fashionable (is it possible to say so about a food shop??)grocerie/deli shop I know.

la petite gourmande said...

Isn't it funny how the loveliest things are always the hardest to find? Of course!

Anonymous said...

There is a Dutch Store in Grand Rapids, Michigan where these are sold...I like them in my coffee with cream. I never tried them in milk.

annemarie said...

I really enjoyed reading your description! My husband and I (both South Africans) have been living in Holland for a few years now, and we've learned to really enjoy the Dutch anise milk. I would love to send you some anijsblokjes (they're in every supermarket here), and it's no trouble to pop some in the post! You can contact me via my blog.

Jessi said...

We found these at a grocery store up the road. My Dad and I love them - with cold milk. Dissolve the cubes in a little hot water then add to the cold milk. Delish!

Who thought aniseed and milk would taste so good?

Anonymous said...

I'm also a foreigner here in Holland and LOVE the anijsblokjes! Very nice blog too from one food lover to another! :)

Anonymous said...

I live in Sydney Australia and my mum always had them in the cupboard too. For years since being out of home i totally forgot about them until... i was visiting my mum and there they were in her cupboard. She gave them to me to take home. I am go happy to be re-united them. They are so lovely when you dont feel like a tea or coffee. love,love,love!!