Dutch Language Blog

Hagelslag Posted by on Mar 22, 2012 in Culture

“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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  1. Johanna:

    I love hagelslag! My parents immigrated to the US just before I was born, so when care packages would arrive from the Dutch relatives, they always contained hagelslag. We would enjoy it on Pepperidge Farm white bread spread with butter. I introduced it to my children of course, who are both smitten with the confection. My daughter prefers the fruit hagelslag. It is hard to convey it’s yumminess to an American because they assume it is corn syrup/artificial flavor-filled sprinkles.

  2. Hanna:

    Though Dutch I very seldom use hagelslag due to a chocolate intolerance. Yet even I have choc cravings every now and then… a good way to have them is on bread with peanutbutter – way better than a PBJ sandwich /grin.

  3. Jeanne K.:

    I love it, too, but I like vlokken more. I don’t eat bread, but you can get some almond butter (or peanut butter) on a spoon and dip it in it! Yum!

  4. Kevin Lee Dymond:

    I love that you have a blog entry dedicated to hagel. That’s what my fraternity brother called it.
    Marcel van der Sluyce introduced me to two versions of hagelslag. The chocolate hagel was OK, but the liquorice version was great. But I beg to differ on the discription of the amount of butter that I was told to use. Marcel loaded the non toasted bread with a thick layer of butter before caking the hagel on top. I’m still amazed he doesn’t have any cholesterol problems.
    The liquorice version looked just like tiny versions of our American candy called Good&Plenty, and tasted like them, too.

  5. Amanda:

    Hagelslag is the best! i was born in the US but my mother used to live in the Netherlands so she introduced me to hagelslag as a child. Now that i’m older it’s harder to find places that sell hagelslag, but i found a website that has De Ruijter hagelslag and i use it all the time. here’s a link if anyone wants to check it out: http://www.indofoodstore.com/hagelslag.aspx