“After a Mexican breakfast of fried plantains, churros, fresh pineapple, scrambled eggs with bacon, salsa, guacamole and refried beans – I am going to the gym.”
It was this status update on my friend’s Facebook page that had me a bit worried.
“Hope you don’t expect that when you come here….bread with chocolate sprinkles on top is the speciality (not mine, the country’s),” I commented back.
You see, my friend is hoping to make a visit to the Netherlands soon and I felt it was only fair to give her a bit of warning that the fresh guacamole and fried plantains would be quickly replaced by slightly different breakfast choices, like hagelslag.
And just what is hagelslag, some of you may be wondering. Hagelslag is small confectionery sprinkles, often made of chocolate. According to Wikipedia, “Dutch hagelslag (chocolate sprinkles) was first invented in 1936 by Gerard de Vries for Venz, a Dutch company made popular by said treat.”
The story behind the chocolate sprinkles is actually pretty sweet. Basically, a five-year-old boy, H. Bakker, had great ambitions for a tastier topping for his bread and so wrote several letters to the company asking for a chocolate bread topping. This got Mr. de Vries thinking and the rest is…well…sprinkle history.
The chocolate sprinkles were named hagelslag because of their shape resemblance to hail (hagel = hail). There are in fact quite a few varieties. The most common difference between the varieties is the type of chocolate, everything from dark chocolate to white chocolate can be found. You can also find fruit flavoured hagelslag.
In actual fact you can eat hagelslag whenever you like but a real Dutch tradition is to eat it on toast or bread in the morning. To prevent the sprinkles from falling off the bread, you can add a thin layer of butter before sprinkling them on. You can also use them on top of ice cream, sandwiched between two pieces of bread, in some warm milk and no doubt in a zillion other ways.
Have you or do you eat hagelslag for breakfast? If so, what was/is your favourite type?
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