Our ultimate guide to eating vlaai in Limburg
We don’t know if it’s Limburg’s biggest export product, but it’s certainly the most famous. Limburg vlaai is a regional pastry that resembles a tart. But what’s so special about it? What should you look for in a vlaai and where do you go for the very best vlaai-eating experience? We reveal all below…
To outsiders, it’s simply a type of pastry. To the people of Limburg, however, vlaaiis both sacred and an everyday treat, because they’ll use any excuse to eat it. Almost every office cafeteria in Limburg has vlaai on the menu. Throwing a birthday party? Celebrating an anniversary? Both are unthinkable without vlaai, as are funerals (black plum in that case). But the best place of all to consume a delicious slice of vlaai is seated in a sunny outdoor café!
What is Limburg vlaai?
Vlaai resembles a tart and measures just under 30 centimetres in diagonal. The crust is made of bread dough that’s usually filled with fruit. Not every vlaai may bear the official designation Limburgse vlaai. That honour is reserved for vlaaimade according to the traditional method in which the filling is baked along with the crust. Traditional fillings are cherry, apricot, gooseberry, rice pudding and custard. Nowadays, whipped cream is often served on top.
5 tips for eating vlaai like a native
1. Don’t be stingy
Bought a nice vlaaiand getting ready to cut it into slices? Don’t be stingy. Make the slices generous ones. The ideal distribution key by Limburg standards is to cut a vlaaiinto eight slices.
2. Try every flavour
Go crazy and order a flavour you haven’t sampled before. Gooseberry meringue has many devoted fans. And people either love rice pudding vlaai or hate it, but once you’re a convert you’ll be counting the days until your next slice…
3. Top with whipped cream
Whipped cream has become part of the vlaai tradition in recent years, especially when you’re treating yourself at an outdoor café. It’s an especially popular accompaniment to rice pudding vlaai, which is usually served with a dollop straight away. So go ahead, have the whipped cream!
4. Don’t stop at one slice
This echoes our first tip: don’t be stingy, even with yourself. It’s perfectly normal to say yes when your Limburg friends offer you a second slice. No need to be embarrassed, just enjoy their hospitality and take the opportunity to try a different flavour.
5. Avoid the c-word
Outsiders may not see the difference, but vlaai is not cake. You can tell the difference by looking at the dimensions. Vlaai is usually quite a bit flatter than cake. Avoid the c-word when there’s vlaai around and you won’t get dirty looks from the locals.
Go here for the best Limburg vlaai:
With these tips in hand, you’re ready for the ultimate vlaai experience. We’ve told you all about the flavours and the necessary etiquette. Now all you have to do is programme your satnav. Who makes the best vlaai in Limburg? Here’s our list.
Maashof in Venlo
Maashof in Venlo has outdoor waterside tables ideal for enjoying a slice of vlaai. In winter, sample the regional delicacy in the charming sun lounge. Maashof’s supplier is Pijpers Bakery, whose fine pastry tradition that stretches back to the 17thcentury.
Maashoflaan 1, NL-5927 PV Venlo
Café ‘t Swaentje in Weert
This historic village pub is the perfect setting to enjoy a slice of Limburg vlaai. Located in the heart of Weert, the unofficial vlaai capital of Limburg, the pub has an extensive selection of beers, so order up a frothy brew to have with your slice.
Stationsstraat 1, NL-6001 CJ Weert
Peeters Bakery in Kessel
Peeters Bakery claim that their vlaaiis ‘gewuün de lekkerste’ – simply the best. That calls for a taste test! The bakery and lunchroom in Kessel is open seven days a week. Come and sample the products of three generations of vlaai-makers.
Baarskampstraat 44, NL-5995 AW Kessel
Bisschopsmolen in Maastricht
Have your vlaai in an old mill where tradition is held in high esteem. Every vlaai baked at Bisschopsmolen is prepared according to long-established methods with flour made of spelt and other locally grown heirloom grains.
Stenenbrug 3, NL-6211 HP Maastricht
Botterweck Lunchroom in Valkenburg
Kick off your visit to Valkenburg by stopping at the top of Grotestraat for a slice of delicious Limburg vlaai. Fer Botterweck Banketbakkerij & Lunchroom has a long tradition of baking and serving the traditional Limburg pastry. Sample their hospitality and their scrumptious creations.
Grotestraat Centrum 51, NL-6301 CW Valkenburg
Hoeve Scholtissenhof in Bocholtz
Hoeve Scholtissehof in Bocholtz is an unexpected jewel hidden away in a corner of south Limburg. This is the real thing, honest-to-goodness Limburg vlaai served in an historic farm building. Come on a weekend to sample one of their specialties. We can highly recommend a slice of the Remigius or Victoria vlaai…
Heiweg 1, NL-6351 HP Bocholtz