Monday, 5 August 2013

The Dutch Breakfast: Sprinkles and Speculoos to Brighten our Mornings

It is summer and I am on a weeklong vacation in the Netherlands, staying at a BFF's apartment in a pretty, leafy neighborhood in Rotterdam. Today I woke up at 9 AM to a quiet apartment, the BFF having gone to work a few hours earlier. Haay, this is the life of a lazy bakasyonista! No alarm clocks and no deadlines. Today will be my lazy, do-what-you-want-whenever-you-want kind of day.

And what better way to start my beautiful day than a typical dutch breakfast of Speculoos and Hagelslag on toast!

Speculoos Creamy on toast
Speculoos, or Cookie Butter, is of course the it spread of the moment in the Philippines. How does one describe Speculoos? Well, it tastes like slightly burnt spiced cookies in spreadable form. The good thing is that it's not too sweet and a Speculoos toast is a perfect complement to coffee and tea. But to be honest, I am not much of a Speculoos fan. I like the chocolatey crunchy spread, Ovomaltine, more.

The last time I visited NL, I only had practically 48 hours and I found myself lugging just cookie butters out of Holland. I had no time to explore other weird (but in a good way!) Dutch food finds. Well, I shall try to make amends this time :-)

And now, I present to you my first weird but uber-yummy food find from NL:
Sprinkles on Toast, otherwise known as Hagelslag, is a favorite Dutch way of eating toast.
And I say, why not! It is a fantastic idea!
Little bursts of crunchy, slightly sweet flavors over toasted and buttered bread may not solve our day's worries but it surely made today's breakfast of so fun and happy in a Mary Poppin- kind of way :-)

There are a lot of Hagelslag flavors on offer - Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, Fruit, Raspberry, Banana-Apple-Strawberries, White Chocolate and maybe more flavors than I noticed in the grocery. I bought the sampler Hagelslag box from de Ruitjer to try.

The sample box contains 2 Dark Chocolate Hagelslag, 2 Milk Chocolate Hagelslag, 2 Fruit Hagelslag, 1 Milk Chocolate Vlokken, 1 Dark Chocolate Vlokken.

What's a Vlokken? If Chocolate Hagelslag are Chocolate sprinkles, then Chocolate Vlokkens are Chocolate flakes! If you want bigger bits of deliciousness on your toast, then Vlokkens are for you!

Perhaps it's a misnomer to call Hagelslag as "sprinkles" because they are really different from what we normally refer to as candy sprinkles. The normal sprinkles found on cakes, pastries and other baked goods are shiny, hard and a bit too sugary and flavorless. Hagelslag pellets, known as "mice" because they are supposed to resemble tiny mice, are porous, not too shiny and more importantly, are not too sweet. Because these are not smooth, they have an airy mouthfeel. The first time I saw the pellets, I thought, hmmm, this looks like bird poo. I suppose that if a magical bird from Willy Wonka's candy land poo'd delicious sweet treats, then this would be it ^^

The one I ate for breakfast, the fruit hagelslag, has an orangey flavor with a very subtle sweetness, definitely not the cloyingly sweet treat I expected.

So did I like Hagelslag? Hell, yes! I love it! To those in Pinas, don't worry, we'll be offering Hagelslag soon at TLCShop! Just let me enjoy my vacation for a bit, and let's do a bit more of foodie find research, yes? Cheers!

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