Oliebollen

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Anyone who ever visited the Netherlands in November or December will undoubtedly have seen the large amount of street vendors selling oliebollen. These crispy balls of deep-fried dough are filled with raisins or chocolate and covered in powdered sugar.

The olieboll is a traditional Dutch New Year’s treat. Though the name’s literal translation, “oil ball,” might not sound particularly festive, the doughnut’s greasy base is exactly why diners originally reached for it in the Middle Ages. Many believed that during the Yule period between Christmas and early January, the vengeful goddess Perchta would roam the lands and slice into victims’ stomachs with a sword. The best way to protect yourself? Coating your belly in so much oily food that her sword would slide right off. (It’s likely that the legend was meant to encourage eating heartily to bulk up for the lean winter months.)

Although they’re consumed most widely between the end of Christmas and early January, bakeries start selling the beloved pastries in early November.

Germanic Tribes Once Ate These Doughnuts to Ward Off an Angry Goddess

Anyone who ever visited the Netherlands in November or December will undoubtedly have seen the large amount of street vendors selling oliebollen. These crispy balls of deep-fried dough are filled with raisins or chocolate and covered in powdered sugar. The olieboll is a traditional Dutch New Year’s treat.

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