On October 19, 2010 I moved from the US to The Netherlands. This is a love story many years in the making.

De Librije, Part 3 – Last one

And so ends our foray into the Dutch take on fine dining and luxury accommodations, and I was most impressed. I can’t wait for an excuse to do it again. May one come along sometime!

Not having forgotten my promise to Samuele the Italian bartender, we sort of staggered downstairs to the bar, where he seated us in a quiet candle-lit corner and asked us if we would like “un grappino” with our coffee? He looked so very pleased to be able to offer such a quintessentially Italian liqueur to a fellow Italian that I didn’t have the heart to say no (I dont like grappa!) but I was also curious what kind of grappa such a place would serve. I’ve had all sorts of the stuff, ranging from near-moonshine to…well, nearly drinkable.

Coffee and a grappa, ok. I was absolutely not expecting a second dessert course!

Cookies! and chocolate! and…something? Oh, lord have mercy. Of course, we had to eat it. And by the looks of this photo, we had each already had a chocolate by the time I remembered the camera. The white cubes were a sort of home-made marshmallow, sort of key-lime tasting, very light and melted in the mouth. The center ones were Madeleines:  soft, buttery, delicate. The stars of this show were the round ones, tied together with a cheerful bit of raffia: ginger-caramel! Crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside with a little bite and a rich sweet caramel overtone that I fell madly in love with…and Carel either didn’t like his, or did a fine job of pretending not to so that I could have his without feeling guilty.

Mmmm, cookie!

Samuele came to see how we were doing, and Carel took our picture.

Of course, he asked if I would like another coffee, and looked mildly disappointed that I asked for decaf. Carel redeemed us by asking for “real” coffee, please.

Carel takes his chocolate very seriously. I find it both amusing and endearing to watch, so I took a series of photos of him doing his Chocolate Ritual.

First, he Inspects The Chocolate. This is a careful and thorough process.

Then, eyes closed, he takes a small bite.

A pause, while he lets it dissolve in his mouth and he gets the full impact of it. And then…


We sat and chatted with Samuele for a while – the guy knows 6 languages! Dutch, Italian, English, German, Spanish, and French! He’s been touring the world doing what he loves and appears to be one of the most content people I have met in a long time. I’d love to go back and let him give me more coffee, some time.  Finally, though, the cookies and chocolate were a gorgeous memory, the grappa a lingering warmth in our bellies, and the coffee was a lovely aftertaste on our tongues, so we took our leave and gamely tottered upstairs to the suite where the jetbath awaited us.

And that’s all you are going to hear about the rest of that evening, my friends.


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