Dutch Language Blog

Food With Alessia: Dutch Breakfast (with video) Posted by on Apr 21, 2014 in Culture

The purpose of these “Food with Alessia” posts is to demonstrate and try some Dutch foods! Together with my Italian friend Alessia, who does not know so much about Dutch food yet, I will post a video every two weeks with an accompanying post. So get ready to enjoy some very delicious minutes of Dutch food…

We will start off with Breakfast! We chose 5 products that are typical for the Dutch morning cuisine: hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles), tijgerbrood (“tiger bread”), ontbijtkoek (“breakfast cake”), pindakaas (peanut butter), and, of course, oude kaas (old cheese). So what does Alessia think about these things?


This was the basis for our other “test objects”. Tijgerbrood is a typical Dutch kind of bread. There is nothing really special about the dough or taste, but the structure on top of the bread – it looks like tiger fur. It is, as Dutch bread usually is, quite soft, very comparable to American bread. However, opposed to American bread, Dutch bread does usually not contain any sweeteners and other stuff… It is pretty good!

Tijgerbrood – see the structure? (C) Bakkerij Coudeville


Hagelslag has a nice story to it. Apparently, there was a 7-year old boy that sent a letter to the chocolate company Venz, and asked if they could make chocolate that he could put on his bread – and they came up with hagelslag. Alessia really liked it, but wondered why the sprinkle shape was chosen…


Pindakaas itself is American, invented by Dr. Kellogg in a time of a peanut surplus in 1893. Calvé only started making pindakaas in 1948 when there was much need for nutritious food after the Second World War. But in most other countries where pindakaas is popular, it is called peanut butter, which would have been pindaboter in the Netherlands. So why peanut cheese?

The word probably originates in Suriname, a former colony of The Netherlands. They had a product made of peanuts, but with the structure of cheese. This word, “peanut cheese”, then was used by the Dutch merchants for peanut butter for the first time in 1872. When in 1948 peanut butter entered the Dutch market, it was not allowed to be called pindaboter. The word boter was only allowed to refer to real butter – and thus it could not be used. When it was compared to leverkaas, also a cheese-free bread spread, the word pindakaas was chosen.


Peijnenburg, the original Dutch company that makes this delicious “breakfast cake” introduced the well-known koekhappen (“Cake snapping”), where a slice of this ontbijtkoek is hung up on a cord and you are to bite it off. The company started in 1883. They have some really great commercials with this, like this one. Happen naar Peijnenburg!

Another, quite similar kind of koek is kruidkoek. But we will get to that one another time.

Also important to note is this: when you say koekje (“Small cake”) it actually means shortbread or biscuit. Koek practically always refers to the cake like the ontbijtkoek. So heed that difference!

Oude Kaas

We chose to go for Old Amsterdam, a cheese that even has its own store in Amsterdam. Old Amsterdam means Oud Amsterdam. Oude kaas is old cheese, meaning it ripened longer. Then the cheese can develop a genuine and unique character, which can spice up the taste quite a bit. The Westland family has made and developed this cheese  throughout the last century. It is really tasty! And it must be – otherwise it would not have its own store, right?

Oude Kaas – Old Amsterdam here. (Image by Alistair at Wikimedia Commons)


Have you had any of these foods before? Do you have suggestions for other Dutch foods we should test? Please let me know!


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About the Author: Sten

Hi! I am Sten, both Dutch and German. For many years, I've written for the German and the Dutch blogs with a passion for everything related to language and culture. It's fascinating to reflect on my own culture, and in the process allow our readers to learn more about it! Besides blogging, I am a German-Dutch-English translator, animator and filmmaker.


  1. Ilja DeYoung:

    You started of with some nice things. I hope you liked it.

    By the way: dispite the name “Ontbijtkoek” is not traditionally eaten at breakfast. (some people do).
    It is the sort of thing you would eat as an in-between-meals-snack, prefably buttered and maybe even two slices with butter in between.

    As a suggestion for next time (still within the theme of bread): kokosbrood and komijnekaas (you might have to look up what that is 😉 )
    And of course you will have to taste Karnemelk (You might not like to drink it, but it is also good to cook with. I have a delicious recipe to make scones with it, because it goes slightly sweet when you cook/bake it.)

    • Sten:

      @Ilja DeYoung Thanks for the suggestion! We will definitely check it out. What would you make with karnemelk other than scones? Gortepap? And scones! Yummy! 🙂 But British :p

      Traditionally, ontbijtkoek is eaten for breakfast. I’ve known it as such all my life. Snacking only came up as a thing in the last like 70 years. But you are right to say that it becomes a snack more and more.

  2. Ilja DeYoung:

    A very Dutch thing to make with karnemelk is a white sauce (but use karnemelk in stead of milk) and put ‘spekjes'(the bacon-type, NOT the marshmellow-type) in them. I like to fry the spekjes with a little bit of ‘kerrie’-powder.
    You eat it with boiled potatoes and salad.
    Very summery dish.

    And yes traditionally ‘Gortepap’ is made with karnemelk as well.
    (and eaten with ‘stroop’)

  3. Reina:

    Thanks for the explanation the name pindakaas, I’ve often wondered about that.

  4. marianne beekes v.d. star:

    Gestampte muisjes,
    geboorte muisjes (roze/wit en blauw/wit) op Beschuit.
    Appelstroop, stroop.

    • Sten:

      @marianne beekes v.d. star Thanks for the suggestions (and Ilja, thanks for the recipe)!

      Roggebrood is more German I think. Wentelteefjes is a good one! Coming up 😉

  5. joyce bailing:

    what about poffertjes?? maybe not spelled right! I had them in Amsterdam several years ago while visiting the country of my grandparents birth. Beautiful coutry and I would have moved there but could not afford the high cost of living in the Nederlands.