Breakfast at Librije’s Zusje, Zwolle
March 11, 2014
In 2006, after Jonnie and Thérèse Boer had already achieved their third Michelin star at de Librije, the city of Zwolle asked them to provide a catering service for a new theatre. They could also acquire a nearby 18th century building that used to be the city’s women’s prison. They went ahead, renovated and restored the building and opened Librije’s Hotel on May 25, 2008. Inside the hotel the Boers opened their second restaurant, Librije’s Zusje, or little sister. It gained a Michelin star the following year and a second star in 2012.
Linda and I stayed the night of January 16, 2014, at Librije’s Hotel, dining at de Librije, and had breakfast in Librije’s Zusje the following morning.
This is the front door to the hotel. The prison’s barred windows have been left in place. There are still cell doors along the hallway that leads to Librije’s Zusje. Our room upstairs was more spacious and better equipped than a cell. All the guestrooms look out onto the tent covering of the central courtyard. The upstairs corridor runs along the outside, barred windows on all four sides.
Librije’s Zusje‘s dining room is a flamboyantly redecorated former meeting room of the prison.
When we sat down at our table for breakfast, there were three little jars on the table with
Librije’s chocolate paste ‘Duo Penotti’
a butter ball
home made peanut butter (which was really good.)
Also on the table were yoghurt with cereals
and bread rolls filled with old cheese, with apple syrup on top.
There were flat slices of ham and cheese in these packages.
Then more goodies started to arrive fresh from the kitchen.
Freshly baked croissants and bread with two confitures.
These little “pizzas” were superb. The toast rounds had been soaked in olive oil. They were topped with good ham, cheese, onion rings and basil leaves.
We were given a choice of three egg preparations.
Linda had Scrambled eggs with tomato and tarragon;
I had Poached egg with cèpes and chick weed.
Slices of black sausage (boudin noir) had been fried to a crisp.
They were served with small potatoes, bacon and sorrel. Very good.
We were given a choice of salads. Linda had a “fruit salad,” which turned out to be based on pineapple.
I had a “Caesar salad,” which was surprisingly good.
To finish our breakfast, an “egg” was served. When cracked open, it turned out that the yolk was mango and the white was coconut.
After this very hearty and delicious breakfast, we walked in the old center of Zwolle. It is surrounded by a star-shaped canal/moat. I took the first photo from the pedestrian bridge we crossed to walk between Librije’s Hotel and de Librije. The back of the restaurant is the recessed dark brown building in the center left of the photo.
Linda is standing on the steps which lead up to the front door of de Librije. When we arrived in the dark the evening before, a fire was lit in the metal bowl in the right foreground, providing a festive welcome.
We were delighted to discover that it was market day in Zwolle. The broad market street full of stalls extended from the huge, old St. Michael’s church to the west end of the old town. My photos do not capture how surprisingly big the market and the crowds of shoppers were, many of them on bicycles.
A wide variety of mushrooms.
Many cheeses, of course, some of them Dutch “farm” cheese.
Linda admires one of the sausage stands.
Flowers are as Dutch as cheese and sausages.
Plenty of fish, some fresh, some frozen.
We would have liked to stay longer in Zwolle, but we walked back to the hotel, packed, said goodbye to the friendly and efficient staff and drove off through the Dutch countryside to Schipol Airport for the long flight back to New York.
To see our meal at de Librije the evening before click here.