One of the most successful potatoes of all time is a Dutch breed named Bintje. It may typify Dutch cuisine that Bintje’s popularity, in particular its suitability for potato chips and French fries, stems partly from its lack of prominent flavor.
For more in-depth coverage of the Bintje, read the ‘Dutch Dished Up’ column in Issue 60 of Dutch the magazine.
The Bintje was developed in 1905, not by a professional breeder, but by one Kornelis Lieuwe de Vries, a Friesian schoolteacher. Having been born on a farm, he kept breeding potatoes as a hobby.
In 2012 the Bintje was still voted International Potato of the Year, but because of environmental regulations, the breed, which requires lots of pesticides to thrive, is now no longer available to consumers in the Netherlands.
The most charming part of this potato’s story is how it got its name. Louwes was in the habit of naming the breeds he developed after pupils. One of them was one Bintje Jansma. Shortly before she died in 1976 aged eighty-eight, a reporter asked her how she felt about her claim to fame. Bintje made short work of her namesake: “Do not dare feed me those! They’re the most tasteless potatoes”.
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