I had been given instructions to produce tiramisu for tomorrow's dinner at Marion's. Tiramisu, for those who don't know it, is an Italian concoction made of savoiardi dipped in coffee and mascarpone cream. I had bought it in the past at the AH supermarket downstairs from me. A big box full of it at a reasonable price and good tasting. Down the stairs I went to buy a box.
I hadn't counted on the 'Kees buys at AH' effect which states that whatever I buy at AH more than once will be removed from their shelves. I had bought tiramisu more than once at AH and therefor there wasn't any for sale. I asked the shop manager what had happened to the tiramisu and he said that due to the demographics of the area (lots of Muslims) deserts with booze don't sell here.
I thought: if AH doesn't sell any, maybe the traiteurs in the neighbourhood will have some. On Beukenplein the South-African traiteur had gone, but a new owner had taken over. "Sorry, no tiramisu, but we have cheesecake". Not good enough, tiramisu is what I need. There's cheese in tiramisu (the mascarpone), so maybe Eric's Delicatessen & Cheese shop next door will have some. The shop was filled to the rafters with late food shoppers. When it was my turn they had to disappoint me. Tiramisu? Nah.
Amsterdam-East demographics is 60-80% Muslim so the chance of finding tiramisu here is between slim and none. I started walking. First to the Saladetuin, the Salad Garden. This is one of the better caterers in Amsterdam and we use them at work sometimes. "Sorry, can't help you". Next was AH on Wibautstraat. No big boxes of tiramisu; just tiny little cups with barely a mouthful, and only three of those. Dinner is for four.
I was thinking that it would have easier to make my own, but a) I had never made any before and b) I didn't know the exact recipe [update: I have now found a recipe at cookingforengineers.com, which I'll try at a later date]. So I made it to the next AH, the one in Sarphatistraat. This is a big one, in the city centre, open on Sundays, lots of tourists, etc. If there was any tiramisu in Western Europe it would be here. They had two of the little cups. No bigga boxes offa tha stuffa. I cornered the manager: "we get stocked again after Christmas, so on Saturday we'll have lots of it".
I walked down the Sarphatistraat to the AH on van Swindenstraat. Full demographic effect: no tiramisu whatsoever. By this time I was switching to panic mode and hit every place that looked like it might have tiramisu. Bakeries, supermarkets, cake shops, coffee shops, Italian car dealers; you name it, I was there. The demographics worked against me.
I walked past the AH on Linnaeusstraat and straight into Kwekkeboom, Amsterdam's best known cake and sweets bakery. They didn't have any. Across the road in Pretoriusstraat is a C1000 supermarket. No luck either.
I thought: "what the hell, I'll give the AH on Linnaeusstraat a try. It probably won't work but if you don't try you'll never know for sure." They had one box of tiramisu. Not the old style 'big' box, but a new style AH 'Excellent' (i.e. more expensive) 300 gram box of tiramisu. Glorious tiramisu.
The label on the back says that one portion of tiramisu (75 grams) is 205 kcalories. I've walked four kilometres to buy this box. That burned 400 kcalories. Eating tiramisu is good for weight control if you live in the east of Amsterdam.
Have a good Yuletide!