I was planning my itinerary for Gouda when I came across the city’s famous delicacy, “siroopwafel / syrup waffle”. No, I am not talking about the famous “stroopwafel / treacle waffle”. They are NOT the same thing!
This is what I found out … A siroopwafel consists of two crispy baked waffles with a sticky caramel syrup filling in the middle while a stroopwafel is a waffle that is slightly undercooked, thinly sliced in two and filled with treacle (a thick, sticky dark syrup made from partly refined sugar) in the middle. Gasp!!
Apparently, confectionary Kamphuisen in Gouda produces these handmade siroopwafel dating back to 1810. Rumor has it, the recipe is still kept in a safe at the bakery. For a fee, the Kamphuisen Siroopwafel factory is open for visitors. That peaked my interest.
The Kamphuisen Siroopwafel factory visit is Gouda’s newest attraction since March 2018. An entrance ticket per person (age 4 years and above) costs €9.95 for Regular or €24.95 for Deluxe. Each ticket includes a coffee, tea or lemonade, a guided tour inside the factory and a complementary siroopwafel at the end of the tour. Additionally, for Deluxe ticket holders, you will get a pastry, a second beverage, a photo moment and a goodie bag.
I was interested to experience everything they have to offer. But not at that price! So, I scoured the internet and managed to get affordable tickets at an auction site after a few days of bidding. Otherwise, it would be a costly affair for a family of four like mine.
The factory is located right behind Kamphuisen Siroopwafel store, right in the center of Gouda facing the beautiful old Town Hall. It was easy to find.
We presented our Deluxe tickets at the cashier and was ushered to a spacious room behind a curtain along with other ticket holders. Once we were all seated at the big table, the friendly staffs served each of us a delightful apple pastry and a drink.
Without further delay, the media presentation began. Immediately, the darkened room lit up displaying interactive video presentation on several tv screens and projectors. We were welcomed by Pieter Willem Kamphuizen, the founder of Kamphuisen Siroopwafel. The digital moving sketches on the walls told us the story; how it all started, about Kamphuisen and his family, royal family recognition, changing hands of 208-year-old recipe and what it has become today. The colorful presentation took around 10 minutes and was certainly enjoyable for all ages.
Next, we had to enter through a secret door. As the door swung open, the sweet delicious smell gushed pass us. The factory was in sight! Quickly, we shuffled in together. We were told to hang our jackets or bags and to put on a blue mesh hair net. It made us all giggle, checking our reflections and for some, selfie time!
The guide commenced the factory tour by convincing my son to go running on a giant wheel to drive the dough kneading machine. “This is how it’s done every day!” ;)She led us further to the tasting station where we could try five different syrup flavors to our hearts’ content. There were discussions amongst us. A hint of Dutch liquorice or maybe fruit? I could not taste any difference!
Finally, we were at the siroopwafel automated oven machine. The guide explained to us enthusiastically about the entire process from baking till packaging. She was full of information. We stood there for a while, mesmerized by the freshly baked waffles coming out of the press.
We were instructed to proceed upstairs on our own. “Crack the safe! Find the recipe!!”
All the kids ran ahead and disappeared above. The adult eagerly followed, tried and failed. But Cruz (my son) did it! We have photos to prove it. I shall not divulge the secret.
However, he was utterly disappointed not finding the envelop containing the secret recipe. Instead, it was a foil packaging containing 10 waffles with 4 days shelf life in a paper bag. “Is that it??” 😦 I guess it has been a while since someone cracked the safe open.
From there, we were directed to continue the final leg of our tour downstairs . We could go down via a stainless steel playground slide at our own risks or trace our way back down the stairs. Of course, we swooshed down! We landed at an inner terrace overlooking the entire factory where we received our very own fresh siroopwafel with a topping. Our second beverage was served at the little café-shop next to it, along with our goodie bags. A while later, a staff came over and took a Polaroid family photo of us to conclude the tour.
All these years living in the Netherlands and I have never heard of ‘siroopwafel’. This has been one of those new-old revivals to attract local tourists. The entire behind-the-scene tour was conducted in Dutch and lasted about 30-45minutes. I was told it is possible to experience it in English if necessary. With the exception of the animated film at this moment. Photography was allowed through out our visit. Kamphuisen’s syrup is made with lots of love, natural raw materials with no E numbers and mainly butter. One Kamphuisen siroopwafel contains 116 calories. Savor it carefully!
Our visit was surprisingly fun. The kids absolutely loved it! They learned something, did the activities and got all sugar high. It was worth the while, but not at the advertised retail ticket price. I suggest you search the internet for discounted or promotion tickets if you are interested.
It is a Gouda thing to do when in Gouda.
Website: https://siroopwafelfabriek.nlor https://syrupwafflefactory.com
Address: Markt 69. 2801 JM GOUDA.
Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday from 10am – 8pm
Entrance Fees: €9.95 for Regular or €24.95 for Deluxe tickets
Getting There: 10 minutes walk from Gouda train station