Sprinkles for Breakfast

travel eat restaurant hagelslag netherlands

I didn’t know about hagelslag before visiting Amsterdam, but my local friend quickly filled me in on this Dutch food.  When I first heard the word, I couldn’t escape the image of Scotland’s traditional dish, Haggis.  I was very, very wrong thinking that.  Hagelslag isn’t sheep innards simmered in a stomach at all.  It’s actually buttered toast topped with sprinkles.

Delicious, right?  Can’t go wrong with butter, bread, and sprinkles.  But even with only three ingredients, hagelslag is pretty tough to eat.  Frankly, it has some engineering failures.  I love me some sprinkles, but only when they are well secured by more sugar.  Hagelslag lacks either frosting or a glaze to hold down the sprinkles.  As wonderful as butter tastes, it fails as an adhesive.  These Hagelslag sprinkles are completely loose, precariously balanced on frictionless bread and prone to falling off if you don’t eat the bread completely horizontally.  With every lift of the bread, a few more sprinkles roll away and meet their unfortunate fate of hitting the ground, uneaten.  I tried to eat over my basket so I could eat the rebel sprinkles later.  This is when I discovered there is no dignified way to eat a handful of loose sprinkles.  Try it.  It’s impossible.

It seems like the Dutch have learned to overcome these hagelslag pitfalls and are going back for seconds.  They even sell hagelslag in their grocery stores.

store bought Dutch hagelslag

And this is a breakfast item, which isn’t really strange, I guess.  Having a little something sweet to start the day seems to be a Western World favorite.  Americans have donuts, and the Dutch have hagelslag.  But there must be some way to make these chocolate sprinkles more easily spreadable on bread.  Like, some kind of spreadable chocolate.  Wait a second, that’s Nutella!  Far be it for me to try and change a nation’s traditional food choices, but seriously, someone tell the Dutch about Nutella.  It would solve all of my eating problems when I visit their country.

Oct 2011
POSTED BY travelbugrobert


  1. Well, that explains a mystery that was bothering me. Our hotel in Delft had little boxes of sprinkles out on the breakfast buffet. I picked up a few to bring home for sprinkling on cupcakes, but I wasn’t sure what I was supposed to do with them at breakfast. I sort of thought they were for sprinkling in the oatmeal/muesli.

    Comment by Barbara Young on October 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm

  2. I can imagine how those sprinkles can get messy but that toast definitely still looks really delicious! haha. I guess it really isn’t that much different than going to iHop and ordering a pancake covered in syrup, sugar, butter, and chocolate chips.

    Comment by Jessica Festa on February 1, 2012 at 7:15 am

  3. Mariska

    This is hilarious to read as a Dutch person! As far as I know, hagelslag are only the sprinkles, like the Dutch translation of sprinkles. Dutch people never refer to the dish as ‘hagelslag’.
    Also, in reaction to the eating-difficulties, I (and other Dutch people I know), just fold the bread. I don’t toast it, which makes the folding obviously easier. And the sprinkles most stay in – that is if you do not use loads of sprinkles, haha. But indeed, there are always sprinkles left on the plate. In that case, just press the finger on them, and lick them of. This is not something you would do in company, but there are many times during which you eat alone of course.

    As for the Nutella, we know the stuff, and we eat that also, but just not in combination with sprinkles. I myself dislike the combination, it tastes different (yes I tried, because otherwise my opinion would not be funded). Something that IS delicious, is strawberry jam (/marmalade? lost in translation). (like this)

    Well, I loved your blog – thanks for sharing your thoughts on this (:

    Comment by Mariska on January 19, 2013 at 8:24 am

  4. Amanda

    Hagelslag is by far my favorite Dutch treat. my mother would make it for breakfast every day when i was growing up and i have loved it ever since. It can be hard to find in certain areas, but here’s a link to a website that i found that has a lot of different flavors:

    Comment by Amanda on March 2, 2013 at 5:13 pm

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