A rare summer heat lulled the Czaar Peterbuurt into a quiet Sunday rhythm - the streets seemingly devoid of human traces. ‘They must be at the beach’, I thought naively to myself as I pedalled my two-wheeler forward, fully unaware of what was about to hit me.
Then, as if out of nowhere, Czaar Peterstraat 169 came into view. With balloons adorning the store front, a slew of elegantly-dressed people wearing richly-threaded shirts and flounced cocktail dresses spilled onto the sidewalk. This was a party. The visitors were clinking elongated glasses and sampling delicious gooey wares. Wait, this was…a peanut butter party. I had arrived at the opening of the world’s first and Amsterdam’s own fully-fledged peanut butter store. The whole neighbourhood was already there.
I found it really lovely that so many people dressed up,” the smiling peanut butter aficionado, entrepreneur and owner of De Pindakaaswinkel, Michiel Vos, told me. “I said that the dress-code was gala, but I didn’t expect that everyone would stick to it.
Moments after I arrived, a ballerina named Charlotte grabbed my hand. “Did you just get here?” she blinked in disbelief as if she were Alice and I was evidently late to the tea party. Leading towards the highly-stacked shelves, she ushered me into the flavourful world of this tiny wonder shop. ‘Here, try this one.’ Scooping a caramel-date-cinnamon peanut butter concoction onto a cocktail spoon, she extended it to me. Yum! How could I refuse such delectable initiation?
There were ten flavours in total. From the neutral to the the classic pairings with a twist (think banana chili flavour), to the trendy must-haves (caramel sea salt, coconut sea salt), to the breakfast highlights (coffee sea salt) and the outright daring (fennel raisin), to those that had to be brought home (white chocolate). And guess what? If you’re too lazy to shimmy on to the East-side, they’re all available to order online too.
After about 8 cocktail spoons of goodness, I turned back to Vos with fan-girl delight. How did you envision such a concept, I asked? “I was a regular farmer’s boy. I ate peanut butter pretty much every day. I loved it but wanted to experiment.” He has been taken aback by his success of the store. “I didn’t realise so many people loved peanut butter as much as I do.” And as happy as he is with the compliments he accrued, there’s still someone he’d like to impress: “If the top guys from Calvé came down and said: ‘Michiel this is really good peanut butter’, man that would really be something, wouldn’t it?”
- Jelena -