One of the things we do best at Design Bridge (outside of brand design, that is) is combining creativity with food, which is why our Amsterdam Studio took The Netherlands’ recent annual King’s Day (or ‘Koningsdag’ to the locals) as inspiration for the team’s annual bake off.
The theme? Dutch National Treasures.
The brief was simple: bake a creation that represents a Dutch Icon. Be creative, smart, innovative and make it taste fantastic. Piece of cake!
I have to say, I’ve been at Design Bridge for quite some years now and, similar to the work we do for our clients, the ‘outside office hours’ project results amaze me every time. The level of smart creativeness, the different way of thinking when interpreting a briefing, and the brilliant execution of ideas, always exceeds my expectations.
Time to let you in on some of this year’s brilliantness, but first of all, a short introduction of our impressive jury line up;
We invited Vicky Hampton, aka the Amsterdam Foodie, a local food blogger and freelance writer with a true passion for food and cooking to be our first guest judge. Originally British, Vicky has lived in Amsterdam for over 12 years and she knows her stuff – she’s even written a must-have cookbook filled with easy but creative recipes for your take-to-work lunches.
Judging the creations alongside Vicky was our previous Bake Off winner, Mike Flynn (our Strategy Director with a frightening reputation of being an invincible baker) plus our regular Studio competition judges; Claire Parker, our lovely Executive Creative Director and serious baker in her spare time, plus our Managing Director and keen bake off judge, Frank Nas.
Now, to the baking! We were treated to 7 incredibly cool, smart and hilarious creations, the first of which was the only savoury bake of the competition. This was a classic Dutch dish with a British twist – mashed potato combined with spinach which is called a stampot, representing the Amsterdam canals, with an amazing ‘rondvaartboot’ mince pie floating on top, inspired by the famous Dutch bitterballen. The canals, of course, were also flavoured with some good old fashioned gravy.
Next up we had Van Gogh, whose infamous ear was the subject of more than one entry…
Then the Bitterballen came – the first was made of hazelnut and chocolate, served to look like a typical Dutch hotchpotch complete with sausage. Absolutely fantastically executed!
Entry number 5 represented a typical plate of Dutch snacks – bitterballen with mustard. But these weren’t the meatballs we know and love, they were actually small sweet pastries served with a lovely custard – such a treat!
And on we go to the final 2 entries.
Taking second place in our Bake Off this year was…
The FEBO is a Dutch invention and a typical object you’ll see in any city in The Netherlands. The “wall” contains small lockers that hold a snack such as a frikandel, burger, spring roll or kroket. Put your coin in, open the glass door and take your snack. For any Dutch person this is a completely normal thing to see, but it often amazes visitors!
The team responsible for this creation made a real effort building the entire wall, complete with the correct branding, and the snack look-a-like’s inside the lockers were very impressive; the burger looked like an actual burger despite being made of cookies and came with marzipan “french fries”, whilst the bitterballen were stunning – ice cream balls that had been coated in batter, deep-fried and then frozen again. A true culinary treasure!
But the winner of the 2018 Design Bridge Amsterdam Bake Off was…
Nijntje, also known as Miffy, is one of the the most iconic Dutch characters. Combining Nijntje with another very Dutch treasure – the red light district – was seen as a smart and inventive move by the judges. The tasting went well, too. The pavement was made out of Dutch chocolate cake with biscuits, whilst Nijntje herself was a lovely lemon cake layered with buttercream and raspberry filling. It was the perfect last tasting of a fantastic line up of entries. Congratulations to the Support Team who made this brilliant winning bake!
After the judging it was time to celebrate the hard work, finish of all of the delicious cake, and get ready for our actual King’s Day celebrations!
Want to keep up to date on all things culinary in our city? Check out guest judge Vicky’s blog, Amsterdam Foodie, for all the insider knowledge.