One of the first things that comes to mind strolling around Dutch supermarkets is that Dutch people love dairy products. Even if you can’t detect what it is, it’s in the fridge, so it must be with a sensitive expiry date, conclusion: dairy product. The next thing that comes to mind when you put your head in the grocery store fridge is: “ What is VLA?” Your head is fighting all sorts of culinary solutions. But it is in a cart package so it can’t be a simple pudding. Is it a desert? Is your mind about to be blown? And the answer is YES.
History and Anatomy
According to every student favorite Wikipedia the name Vla has first appeared in the 13th century. The word has been used for any custard like frosting covering cakes or similar baked goods. Today Vla is sold in super practical carton boxes that make access extra easy. In the past, glass bottles of the famous dessert made it neccessary for every Dutch household to have a special bottle scraper (“flessenschraper or flessenlikker”) for getting every bit of it out of the bottle.
Most people describe VLA as a taste of their childhood. And they are right. The dessert is made out of sugar, milk and eggs that can be optional nowadays and are replaced with cornstarch. The procedure of homemade Vla is quite similar as making a pudding. A gooey milky gelatine-esque dessert that our mother made, when she had no chocolate in the pantry. If you want to try a homemade Vla-production, there are plenty of recipes online that can help you in your Vla addiction, for example on thedutchtable.com.
The texture of this ultimate comfort food is a dense fluid and the original is vanilla flavored. In your Vla quest you will probably want to try all sorts of Vla, like chocolate, hopjesvla (that one is made out of a candy named hopjes coffie/caramel/cream-flavored speciality of the Netherlands), raspberry, stracciatella or even dubbelvla, the combination of two flavors that come out of the carton like a perfect stream of colorful toothpaste.
How to treat it and eat it
Dutch people usually combine VLA with all sorts of fresh fruit or even fruit juice. The most creative way is if you make vla/joghurt/fruitjuice combination in a dessert glass. You can even make it crunchy with different kind of candy or nuts on top. That kind of imaginative dessert is called Vlaflip among little Dutchers. But if you want to pretend to be all grown up, you can find Vla with less amount of sugar or fat-free that can amount to a very healthy breakfast with nuts and berries. The possibilities are endless, but whatever you do just eat Vla, your life will be transformed.
Disclaimer: No scientists fell into a sugar coma during gathering information about the most horrendous VLA combinations.