Hmmm, Cheese Cakes Amsterdam, who doesn’t love cheesecakes, the creamy ones with fruit compotes are my favourite. After a recommendation by a friend, we went to visit Amsterdams first Cheesy Cakes store, to try some of the heavenly fresh baked goodies. Yumm Yumm Yummy… they really do taste like they look; gorgeous..
It is one of those grey foggy days in Amsterdam again, moisturizing your skin and a still pleasant 20 degrees, but no blue sky and no visible sun. A perfect day for some good old fashion goodfeeling shopping in the city, escaping the tourist shops and brand stores, we go for an afternoon walk and window shopping in the Utrechtsestraat. The Utrechtsestraat is still an original shopping street without the big brand stores and many little side streets where you can discover amazing lovely little boutique shops focused on the locals and not the tourist. One of those sidestreets is the Utrechtsedwarsstraat also known as Amsterdams ‘sweet street’, closely near the Rembrandtplein when you walk towards “de Nederlandse Bank” after crossing over the Prinsengracht. Between “Patisserie Kuyt” and “Chocoladerie van Soest” we find the most attracticting little Cheesy Cakes shop from owner Spiros Mariatos, a really cool guy with the most lovely and friendly face I’ve ever seen..
A warm welcome from behind the counter from the owner Spiros does us walk directly to his display with amazing good looking sweets, we want them all. Sweet tooth as I am my first choice is directly the “fruit cheesy cake” topped with season fruit compote, Hilde, “Classy lady as she is”, going for the “Classic New York cheesy cake”. We have ordered coffee with our cakes and Spiros brings them to the table, amazing coffee. While serving our coffee, Spiros tells us it is his own blend specially branded for him by a local coffee burner and contains 7 different kinds of coffee beans. Next, to coffees, he is also serving teas with his sweets, organic tea flavours from a local tea shop. Only the highest quality products count to stand out in Amsterdam. During the warm summer months, Spiros is also serving the famous Greek iced coffee “Frappe” at his store.
The shop is small but warmly decorated with two big tables in the middle, on the other table are 4 girls enjoying their sweets and teas. Spiros has time to talk with us and we are in intrigued by the shop and have some questions ready to ask. Spiros tells us is he from Athens – Greece, this is a trigger for me as for the last 7 years I have my residence 10 months a year at Crete and I am in love with the Island. Spiros has had his education at institute “Le Monde” in Athens, “I immediately started to work to gain more experience and learned new cooking techniques. My passion for discovering new flavours, scents, and to soak up life took me all over Greece”. In 2008 I decided to expand my culinary experiences at an international level. I have a few friends who lived here in Amsterdam so I moved to Amsterdam and I became “chef de partie” at “the Alliance Gastronomique” restaurant of Hotel de l’Europe.
From experience, I know Greek moms and grandmas are princess’s in the kitchen did your ma’s learned you to make these amazing cheesecakes? “Oh no, they didn’t ever make a cheesecake, only traditional Greek sweets. I use sometimes a few of these recipes in a cheesecake way, without over mixing the flavours.”
Cheesecake is a Greek invention, do you use Greek products? “The funny fact about it is, an ancient form of cheesecake may have been a popular dish in ancient Greece even prior to Romans’ adoption of it with the conquest of Greece. Sometimes I use Greek products on my special themed weekends. eg.Greek honey, tahini paste, Mastiha liqueur.”
Piggy as I am, I can’t stop eating and I order some small scones and a piece of “Double Chocolate cheesecake” to share between the both of us and two teas. You opened a Dutch business was it a hassle to get all the paperwork done? “The same paperwork is in every country. From the moment you want something to be done, you don’t care about these things and just do them”. Because for me this is the work I’ve been doing for many years, I knew what it is about. The only challenge was to actually make it happen.
Why Amsterdam? I like that small village feeling. It is simple to get around and easy to explore the city. This village-like charm is combined with the cosmopolitan vibe and cultural life of a European capital.
What are your favourite hangouts/places to go in Amsterdam? I love walking or cycling at Vodel-park especial in the springtime. My favourite area for drinks and eating is “de pijp”.
Your shop is located at Utrechtsedwarsstraat 73, why this location in Amsterdam? “In my case, Utrechtsestraat is a good street to be. There’s a butcher, there’s Patisserie Kuyt, Van Soest, and then my shop is in the middle, selling cakes. So it’s a nice “sweet” street. I had a checklist of all the things I was looking and I was waiting for the right shop. I wanted it to be in the centre, I wanted it to be small and cute and of course to have the right kitchen space for all the things I make in-house.”
You organize also Afternoon-tea’s tell me something about it?
“I was always fascinated by the British culture and more specifically by the Scottish. The rough climate of the Highlands and the genuine authenticity of their spirits attracted me where I lived for a couple of years. There I ‘ve got the meaning of a proper afternoon tea with the homemade scones and pastries and that’s the one I am serving to my customers.”
Spiros is not only serving his amazing cheesy cakes to enjoy at the spot he also does takeaways and bakes special orders. We see a local lady walking out of the door with 3 fancy boxes for a baby shower. “All pinky cakes,” Spiros tells us, all fresh made this morning in my own little kitchen by me. People can order my cakes on my website cheesycakes.nl a few days upfront and I make sure they are baked the day they pick them up from the shop.
I am now two years in business and people start to know me and my quality products, now I slowly start getting more request from small groups for the afternoon-teas so people have to reserve upfront as I can host only 8-10 guest at the same time sitting at the two tables in my cosy shop.
The 6th of May you celibrate your store second birthday, any specials in mind?
I can’t reveal it because I want it to be a surprise. The only thing I can tell is that it will be crazy as the first year with the all you can eat cake party. To stay updated about our specials and parties follow cheesycakes on facebook and Instagram.
We have a giveaway for our readers, would you love to enjoy cheesycakes for free?
Go quickly to our win page and maybe you are 25th of April the lucky winner of a €15,00 cheesecake voucher from cheesycakes.nl
SAVOURY CHEESECAKE WITH BEETROOT & HAZELNUT
BY SPIROS MARIATOS
Cheesecake doesn’t have to be only sweet…But Cheesy
Preparation time 1 hour
List of ingredients:
For the base
180g cream crackers
120g salted butter,melted
For the filling
250g ricotta cheese
300g cream cheese
50g Greek yoghurt
15g self raising flour
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 lemon, the zest of it
1 medium onion, finely chopped and lightly sautéed
Salt and pepper
For the decoration
500g beetroots of your choice, boiled
2 tbsp hazelnuts ,toasted
1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. For the base, Mix in bowl the melted butter with the biscuits, and then press the mixture into a 20cm springform cake tin.
3. For the filling, Place the ricotta cheese, soft cheese, and the eggs into the mixing bowl. Mix for few minutes in a low speed and then add the flour, lemon zest and the cooked onions. Season well and pulse for few times. Spoon the cheese mixture onto the base and transfer to the oven to bake for 35-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.
4. To serve, Top the cake with the beetroots and the hazelnuts.