I was fishing around my camera bag today in preparation for my trip to photograph Baltimore this weekend and came across a sweet treat from The Hague: a Hopje.
Last month, I wrote a post about my wonderful stay at the Hotel Petit in The Hague. Each afternoon, I’d find a personalized note from the housekeeper thanking me for my stay along with a Hopje.
According to history, the Hopje originated in The Hague. This coffee-tasting candy is named after Hendrik Hop. Legend has it that Mr. Hop was advised not to drink coffee. Bucking doctor’s orders, one day, he made a concoction of coffee and sugar and overcooked it.
This stove top mess resulted a thick, caramel-tasting treat. He enlisted a neighbor’s help to create candy lumps that could be savored, I imagine, without the negative effects associated with coffee.
Over the years, U.S. coffee chains such as Starbucks, Caribou, and Dunkin’ Donuts have capitalized on Americans’ palates for the highly caloric and have concocted drinks containing hefty amounts of sugar and fat, yet only a whiff of coffee.
For example, take the Caramel Macciato, Starbucks’ third favorite drink ranked by customers. The calorie count clocks in at 140 for the “healthier” 12 oz. tall with nonfat milk to a staggering 340 for a venti with whole milk. Furthermore, on top of the hundreds of calories, the venti contains 40 grams of sugar and 13 grams of fat, eight of which are saturated.
I’m neither a nutritionist nor entirely slim, but I can imagine what Mr. Hop’s doctor would say about a daily diet of venti Caramel Macciatos.
I’m also not asserting that the Hopje provides any nutritional value.
However, each piece contains 15 calories and can be an occasional caramel-coffee alternative to the gut-busting and wallet-draining “coffee” drink from a chain.
Free yourself from the excess calories of a coffee drink and enjoy a Hopje or two instead. On occasion.
Want coffee that doesn’t come in a wrapper? Check out my top five coffee destinations.
Special thanks to Absolutely The Hague for providing an overview of Hendrik Hop’s culinary misfortune that evolved into a fortune.