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Limburg Syrup - Slow Food Presidia
 

Limburg Syrup

Netherlands

In the southern part of the Limburg region in the Netherlands as well as in the bordering areas to Belgium and Germany the “Limburgse stroop” (fruit syrup) has a very long history.
Originally it was produced in order to preserve the fruit from the local orchards for the winter. The syrup was a high caloric source for the cold season and was besides that very shelf stable and could be kept for many years.
An average family in the region had about 100kgs. of ‘stroop’ in storage and each village had its local stroop producer.
Unfortunately as a result of industrialization in the 20th century and the urbanization, fruit orchards in Limburg were starting to disappear and with it the stroop production.
The preparation of Limburgse stroop requires besides an experienced producer first of all a balanced mix of different apples and pears, each with their unique taste and different percentages of sugar, pectine and acids.
The artisan producing stroop, called “stroopstoker”. must keep these criteria in mind while processing the apples and pears that are available to him at the moment of production, anytime between September and October. Given this artisanal approach and the use of different fruit sorts traditional “Limburgse stroop” never tastes the same!
“Traditionele en ambachtelijke Limburgse stroop” is made of ca. 60% pears and 40% apples which come from traditional apple varieties such as Schaapsneus, Gronsvelder Klumpke, Eysdener Klumpke, Goudreinet, Keuleman, Rode Sterappel) and old pear sorts such as Herfstpeer van Geulle, Legipont, Brederode, Bongertspeer, Gerstepeer, Suikerpeer.
Not only the right ratio and selection of the fruit requires a skilled artisan but also the cooking process, as the sirup is cooked on an open flame and its intensity varies according the different stages of the cooking process.
Before the cauldron is put on the fire, a little bit of water is put on the bottom of the copper kettle which is then filled with pears and apples and covered with a cloth.
While on the fire for 4 to 6 hours (depending on the volume) the heat under the kettle creates steam and causes the fruit skin to break until a fruit pulp is obtained which is then transferred to a wooden press for crushing it even more.
The pulp is then placed in layers, with cloth in between. The generated juice is then only roughly filtered as this gives more body and a stronger taste and transferred back to the copper kettle where it cooks again, depending on the volume and different family recipes for minimum of 4 and up to 15 hours until it is reduced to ca. 15% of the original weight of the fruit.
The experienced “stroopstoker” can check the doneness of the strop by lifting out the cooking spoon which creates a “V-shaped” drop. Once it has reached the correct density the stroop is immediately bottled.

Thanks to the efforts of a group of enthusiastic local people, who collected old recipes and learned the old skills, has made it possible to save the art of producing stroop, with new artisan production facilities having been set up in the area. Old equipment has been restored and is now used by some of the producers.
The presidium was set up to protect and to keep alive the traditional and artisan production techniques and to maintain the taste and quality of the traditional product as well as to support the currently 4 producers who are working on programs to strengthen and expand their activities in the production area.
Through their activities small scale agriculture and the (re)planting of traditional local orchards and fruit sorts as well as the strengthening of the economic and landscape welfare of South Limburg should be accomplished.

Production Area
region of South Limburg with bordering region to Beglium and Germany, province of Limburg, Netherlands
Coen Eggen/Ambachshoes
Kelmonderstraat 51
6191 RD Beek
Tel. +31 464376472
gcceggen@xs4all.nl

Roy Eussen
Rue de Remersdael 94
B 4852 Hombourg, België,
Tel. +31 651608979
info@hombourgeois.eu

Hans Franssen-Kerckhoffs
Koulen 12
6343 CJ Klimmen
Tel. +31 434592296
j.a.m.j.franssen@hetnet.nl

Mart Vandewall
Dorpsstraat 140
6251 ND Eckelrade
Tel. +31 434081841
m.vandewall@planet.nl
Presidium Coordinator
Henk Hoogakker
henk@hoogakkerpr.nl
Tel. +31 495550076

 


 
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