“Stroopwafels that look like a work of art often aren’t that tasty. But ours are!”
Didi’s stroopwafels puts Rotterdam on the map!
They opened the shop on Wednesday 8 July. Since then, Diederik van der Ven and his girlfriend Rebecca de Ruiter have been working hard at the Oude Binnenweg in Rotterdam. Rebecca proudly says: “Last week there was a huge queue outside. Diederik was continuously baking stroopwafels and I helped the customers.”
One of the secrets: they really listen to their customers. Rebecca: “We always bake our waffles freshly and we don’t use a timer. If someone likes a more crunchy stroopwafel, we bake it a little longer.
Recently two elderly ladies popped in and asked if we could also bake a “010-waffle”, referring to the postal code of Rotterdam. They were often visited by Amsterdam citizens and wanted to show that Rotterdam is hip and innovative. Immediately, I grabbed all the green smarties and white chocolate and made that stroopwafel! It was quite some work, but it is important that you really listen to what the customer wants.”
More fun than selling cars
Entrepreneurship is in Diederik’s (nickname Didi) blood. He was a car salesman, but stroopwafels seemed more fun to him. And it showed! “Selling a car is often quite a job, and people return even after a year asking questions. With a stroopwafel you see on the spot that people enjoy it and you receive appreciation for your work immediately.’ “Making someone very happy with something small”, is what Rebecca calls it. Before they started, the couple baked a lot of stroopwafels at home, to practice. “Our house still smells like stroopwafel right now!” Rebecca continues enthusiastically: “Our aim is to have several shops in five years. Rotterdam is becoming more and more touristy and every tourist wants to taste a stroopwafels and see how it is made. And so far, stroopwafels were only available on markets in Rotterdam, while they can have such a luxurious look to them à la Parisian macarons! We soon found out that our stroopwafel should taste good and look like a present. That is why every package gets a nice golden sticker and a shiny ribbon.”
And what does inspire Rebecca? “We get our inspiration from many things. Ladurée, for example, is a wonderful French brand, pure luxury. That was our inspiration for the blue-green color in our shop and the paneling. But we also draw parallels with all sorts of things we encounter. For example, when I recently saw a big Tiktok hit with strawberries, it makes me wonder: We should do something with strawberries.”
And which stroopwafel is currently doing well? “The luxury toppings; the natural with white chocolate and speculaasgoes very well. We tried a lot and looked at which white chocolate tastes best and still hardens on the stroopwafel. There are also many requests for vegan and gluten-free waffles. We are working on that. And we started with the “stroopwafel of the month”! That is always a unique taste. For September we chose a stroopwafels with white chocolate and dried goji berries, to say goodbye the summer.
Our stroopwafels are very tasty and look attractive. Often when a stroopwafel looks like a work of art, it tastes a bit off or it’s just a bit stale. Our are really fresh. Only the minis are pre-packed. In addition, you can choose if you want to sit on the terrace or inside, enjoying a Rotterdam coffee or a soft drink for the children! ”
Trendy shop with history
Diederik and Rebecca were born in Rotterdam and chose a special location for their store. “Our shop is situated in one of the few streets that survived World War II. The stained glass was restored by the owner of the building. So we are at an authentic location with a traditional Dutch biscuit.
We added some very old elements to our shop that have real history, such as a an antique waffle iron. When we tell young children that it’s the origin of the saying “Hold your waffle”, they are very interested and ask questions about how waffles used to be made with that iron. And we explain where that expression comes from. When it is quiet in the shop, children can put their own toppings on the stroopwafels. We also plan to organize birthday parties. And the hotel around the corner intends to hand out mini stroopwafels with topping as a welcome gift. For that matter, we put the packages in the cooler for a while.”
Lunchtime: rush hour in the shop!
We would, of course, like to come around and do a waffle tasting. What’s the best time? Rebecca: “Saturday is a very busy day; during the week it is rush hour between 12:00 and 1:00 pm! We are surrounded by offices, and people come to get an extra large stroopwafel for lunch. Also, they take away stroopwafels to hand out at the work floor.
Quite some senior citizens visit us, too. They mainly buy some take-away packages to eat at home. My granddad does so, too. Every week. There are more customers who come back weekly. And of course, we receive many tourists. We hope that if Corona is under control, we will be able receive the Chinese tourists again as well …! ”