The thing that shocks me most about Dutch people’s peculiar eating habits is Hagelslag. I giggled to myself when seeing a room of adult Dutch business men sipping their milk cartons, I was amazed at the pride Dutch people exhibited while sucking on drop, and I marveled at the nation’s copious dairy consumption — but hagelslag stopped me dead in my tracks: did I just see that correctly?!? Are grown-ups really eating chocolate sprinkles on their toast at lunch?!
For those of you who have yet to spend more that a few days in the lowlands, I will explain: hagelslag is Dutch people’s answer to sprinkles. But don’t be fooled — these are a different kind of sprinkle then you are used to. In North America sprinkles are primarily reserved for ice-cream and cakes and normally for the likes of children, but here in the Netherlands, it is apparently perfectly normal behaviour for an adult to merrily sprinkle some fruit or chocolate flavoured sprinkles on their bread at mealtime.
Now, hagelslag comes in many varieties; you can have chocolate hagelslag, fruit flavoured hagelslag or most perplexing of all – anise seed (licorice seed) hagelslag. The latter is reserved for celebrating the birth of a baby and is fondly referred to as Muisjes (yep, “mice”, don’t get it). Take a Dutch beschuit (a twice baked piece of round toast), slap on some butter and adorn with either pink (for a girl) or blue (for a boy) anise hagelslag and serve to guests visiting the new babe –an important, if not odd, Dutch birthing tradition.
My former Dutch boss once tried, mumbling and steeped in male-embarrassment, to explain how the tradition came about as anise seed can shrink a woman’s womb. I didn’t dare ask why feed it to the guests then… According to our good friend Mr. Wikipedia, “the anise in the muisjes is thought to be good for stimulating lactation and was purported to scare away evil spirits.” It’s good to hear the tradition is rooted in some sort of logic…and my boss was on the right “women stuff” track 😉
[toggler title=”Stuff Dutch People Like FACT (click to reveal)” ]Orange Muisjes were sold en-masse for one week in December 2003 to honour the birth of crown princess Amalia.[/toggler]
To put all this sprinkle-eating madness into perspective, I will share with you a little-known fact: Dutch people are said to consume over 14 million kilos of hagelslag each year. Yes — 14 million kilos — do you know what that means? That’s roughly the combined weight of 1,000 adult elephants! (Aren’t facts are always funner when measured by elephants??)
Personally, I can do without these colourful sprinkle-ly meals, but if these sugar-filled morning treats bring a smile to a Dutch person’s face, then I’m all for it. Heck, what else is going to make you smile on a rainy Dutch winter day?!
Being Dutch I grew up with the tradition of eating ‘beschuit met muisjes’ whenever a baby was born and never really thought about why there were called muisjes. But one day I had a better look at one of the individual muisjes and noticed the stem of the anise seed is sort of sticking out of the blue or pink coating, which makes it look like a muisje. Some searching on the internet confirmed this was indeed the reason for calling these sprinkles muisjes. In my family we also eat ‘beschuit met muisjes’ on Christmas day; I think it’s a lovely tradition, but haven’t met anyone else yet who does the same.
Yes, my family does the same, because at christmas day we celebrate the birth of Jesus. 🙂
We did the same on Christmas eve, during a mid night breakfast, celebrating the birth of a baby boy in Jerusalem a long long time ago !! 🙂
We do the same! Blue ones cause Jesus was a boy hahah
We don’t but ofcourse we do to celebrate a new born 🙂
I’m Dutch and love having this.
What about “gestampte muisjes”? Animal cruelty?
This sounds bad. I hope that doesn’t mean something like mash the mouse…..
They were created from the ordinary muisjes for the elder people so they still could eat them
Just a note: Hagelslag is the chocolate version. the fruity versions are called “fruithagel” where “fruit” can be replaced with the taste. And is indeed confirmed that chocolate has a healthy impact an the consumer.
We also have a pure chocolate spread. This is NOT flavored with hazelnuts or other stuff. just pure chocolate spread called chocolade pasta
Did you know that the danish people also have this tradition of eating chocolate on their bread. They have very thin slices of chocolate instead of sprinkles
We eating them al the time in the weekends but also during the week. Our grandson love them too even the gestampte muisjes he called it poeder muisjes.
even in ex dutch colonial country like Indonesia, we still consume a lot of hagelslag (or in Indonesian: Meises, probably coming from “muisjes” or other dutch word 😀 thats why we wont get to see the sprinkles sold in minimarket across other southeast asia.. simply because they were not influenced by dutch in past time
Bedankt, Kristel. Goede artikel. Ik ben uit Amerika en ik leer Nederlands nu.
Hi Kristel. The fact we call it mice (the anise ones) is because sometimes a little “tail” will stick out of the coating around the seed and then they resemble little mice 🙂
I have a different explanation for calling it muisjes. In Flanders we have the same habit of eating hagelslag, and colloquially we call them “muizestrontjes,” mouse droppings. Hagelslag looks like mouse droppings, rather than mice themselves. Of course, these differences in naming might have no connection whatsoever. But to a Flemish person, once Southern Netherlands, hagelslag has always looked like mouse poo.
My Oma used to bring me beschuit met muisjes in bed whenever I visited her. Fond memories.
Croquettes and ricestaffel would be worth mentioning as well.
It’s rijsttafel. The word “staffel” may bring back memories of the German “Staffel” like in Sicherheits Staffel, meaning the SS, Hitler’s personal guard.
THE word is. Rijst-Tafel or rice table and has nothing to do with staffel. and certainly not with the SS
“Rice Table” = de Rysttafel in my Dutch Indonesian cookbook.
@Peter: “staffel” has nothing to do with the SS or anything. The german word just means “relay”, as in a group of people engaged in an activity. So sicherheitsstaffel is nothing more than a very general term, meaning something along the lines of “security squad”.
Sounds Lekker to me!
i do believe she was talking about rice waffle / rijstwafel ,
This is what I miss most! But just so you know, we eat the ‘muisjes’ the entire year. And our sprinkels are real chocolat, my co-workers love it!
That’s what I thought! My “Dutch” sister Becky just called the chocolate hagel “muisjes”. In fact she called all the hagel-types muisjes. Was that very wrong of her?
It would make more sense to call everything hagelslag (like in this article), but tbh I think both are strange. Muisjes are not hagelslag, and hagelslag are not muisjes. Hagelslag also isn’t made of real chocolate, it’s made of ‘cacaofantasie’, which is more like a chocolate paste.
Yes that is wrong…Only the coloured ones with anise seed are called “muisjes”.
Here in the Dutch West Indies we call all of those sprinkles “muisjes”.
About “cacaofantasie”: Dutch law dictates that a product has to contain at least 35% dry cocoaparts to be called “chocolate”. Otherwise it must be called “cacaofantasie”.
So hagelslag is indeed chocolate. An exception is made for white chocolate.
Ik vind dit gedichtje altijd zo leuk, maar kan het jammer genoeg niet met mijn Engelse kinderen (die geen Nederlands spreken) delen:
“Kleine muisjes hebben kleine wensjes, beschuit met gestampte mensjes!”
Nooit van gehoord, wat een leuk rijmpje 😀
Ook niet van gehoord. Leuk zeg.
Helga, waarom worden jouw kinderen niet tweetalig opgevoed? What’s wrong with a bilingual education? It makes me sad to read that Dutch language is lost on Helga’s children!
Het is: kleine muisjes hebben kleine wensjes, kleine beschuitjes met gestampte mensjes. Het versje is van John O’Mill.
Jaap, this is very cute. Who is John O’Mill?
Here’s my really bad translation of what you wrote: Little mice have little wishes, little biscuits with mashed people. This little poem is from John O’Mill.” How did I do?
Helga had het wel degelijk bij het rechte eind, het gedichtje luidt: Kleine muisjes hebben kleine wensjes, beschuitjes met gestampte mensjes. De schrijver heette oorspronkelijk Jan van der Molen, uit: Ik wou dat ik twee hondjes was.
Ik wou dat ik twee hondjes was is een gedicht van Michel van der Plas heet Spleen en werd jarenlang abusievelijk toegedicht aan Godfried Bomans. Kleine muisjes is van jan van der Meulen (niet molen)
Ik zit mij voor het vensterglas
onnoemlijk te vervelen.
Ik wou dat ik twee hondjes was,
dan kon ik samen spelen.
Chocolate was considered the food of gods by the Incas and Maya’s, so what’s wrong with continuing that tradition?
And don’t even start comparing Chockolade Hagelslag to “sprinkles” you use on icecream. They don’t even taste like chockolate.
That’s true. Chockolade hagelslag tastes and feels more like “Crisco” the American fat poor people fry food in.
Growing up as a first generation American, I was forever teased about my “chocolate sandwiches” in grade school. It didn’t help I was a tad on the chunky side either. However, they were delicious on white bread! Also on toast, which made the Hagelslag all melty. Yummm!!!
Thank-you!!! the sprinkles that go on icecream are nasty. no comparison!
I too am a first gen American and whenever my mom packs one in my lunch she’ll usually pack an extra so I can give some to those around who are like what… why are you eating a chocolate sandwich, i just simply hand them a piece and they understand.
As a expat living here – I wish we ate sprinkles on our toast/butter bread.
What’s holding you back?
I’m eating peanutbutter + sprinkles on my bread for some 45 years now and I still dig it.
Peanut butter and Hagelslag
Cheese and Jam
Still dig them all (:
omg since i moved to england i havent eaten hagelslag at all 🙁 i remember the good old days were in the morning we ate em everyday they are delicious
There are a few websites in NL (check google) where you can order Dutch food, they deliver in around a week to your house in the UK, Geniaal!
Hagelslag is something we always ask visitors from Holland to bring, as well as Calve Pindakaas. there is nothing like Calve.
Calvé pindakaas with hagelslag… nothing (as in NOTHING!) beats that!
yes there is something: calvé pndakaas, aardbeienjam en hagelslag (peanutbutter, strawbeeryjam and Hagelslag)…
Pindakaas met stroop…Hmmm…heerlijk! (A peanutbutter and (dutch)syrup sandwich…Hmmm…Delicious!)
witbrood, boter en bebogeen, of kaas op roggebrood
En rozenbottel jam! (Rosehip jam) Thank goodness for online shopping in between visits.
Hagelslag is awesome!! A slice of Dutch white bread with real Dutch butter and hagelslag, mmmmmmmm. I miss it dearly here in the US (as well as a lot of other Dutch stuff)
I totally agree on that… A slice of DUTCH white bread! This has been my favourite for so long! When I moved to Sweden I brought a pack with me, unfortunately, without the Dutch white bread it is absolutely not the same…
There is a store you can order it from. http://www.thedutchstore.com/webstore/home.aspx?topseq=1
As well as other dutch products like Chocolate letters. Christmas is coming.
You can’t improve on the Dutch ‘junk’ food. It’s simply the best, often imitated, like the Chocomel, but never surpassed.
Same here with American bread (and real butter). No comparison!
I hereby wish to declare the correct English translation for hagelslag:
(thanks to my gf for inventing the word 😉 )
To literal I think. Hagelslag actually means the sound of hail falling onto something (street, car caravan whatever) Also if your car gets dented from a hailstorm, those little dings are refered to by car mechanics and insurance companies alike as hagelslag.
Come to think of it, when looking at a boterham met hagelslag it kinda sorta resembles a hailstorm ( well, if you’ve drank enough beer that is ).
Also, I have fond memories of ‘rumballen’ which was a treat my mother used to buy every saturday. I don’t know what the filling of these chocolaty balls was exactly but they are all covered in hagelslag. ( http://www.smulweb.nl/recepten/864960/Rumballen ) and truly delicious.
Overhere in spain we have a supermarket that specialises in typical dutch products. Venz hagelslag ( is there any other, I mean… really… ), De Ruyter muisjes, Calve Pindakaas etc. etc. so Im not missing out on anything. Anything but Hertog Jan beer that is!
They are called muisjes because they look like mice droppings. tasty mice droppings..
They are called muisjes because usually a little ‘tail’ of the aniseed sticks out, making the sprinkles look like abstract mice.
Exactly! Because of the little tails!
That’s what we used to call them, or more specifically Muisjes poop?!?
This is so good!!! and so true!
when you are given beschuit met muisjes, just hold your breath as you take a bite (unless the beschuit is buttered – normally with cheap margarine – you will either suck the muisjes into your throat and choke or spray the muisjes all over everyone else)
Haha, try that with ‘gestampte muisjes’ (mashed mice?). It’s just mashed anice into powder form…
i’m lucky a family owned store sells these.
I wish i could get more places to sell them. perhaps make it trendy? but quality will fall down.
correction: muisjes do NOT fall in the hagelslag category.
wanted to say that, and there is in fact aniseflavored hagelslag, wich looks the same as the fruitflavored hageslag but white, and tasting like anise.
And then there are gestampte muisjes. I’m Dutch (and now live in Texas) and when my American boyfriend (now my husband) first took a bite of an open-faced sandwich with gestampte muisjes, he almost choked. The powder is so light and we hadn’t warned him not to breathe in while holding the sandwich to his mouth…
I also wanted to say that although I don’t eat hagelsag here in Texas, I still mention it on a regular basis, to explain how Hersheys isn’t chocolate. Because it tastes exactly the same as the cheaper version of hagelslag, which is called ‘chololade fantasie’, and can’t legally be called ‘chocolade’ in Holland. So I always go on to my children about that callingl Hersheys ‘chocolate’ should be a crime.
Barbara, you are so right. Hershey’s tastes indeed like imitation chocolate, chocolade fantasie, and should not be called chocolade. I love your story about the ‘gestampte muisjes’, very recognizable (although I haven’t had gestampte muisjes for a long time). I had a good laugh about it!
de ruiter chocoladevlokken!
No kidding! I thought I was the only one who felt that way about Hershey’s (chocolate fantasy). American’s don’t seem to research their food properly, and are easily pleased with a lesser quality.
I am Dutch and live abroad since many years, your site is absolutely unique and hilarious! I really enjoy reading it and recommended it to all my friends!
What about the expression “Going Dutch”? Some of the Dutchies don’t even like to go Dutch: which means paying 50/50, they only want to pay what they actually had and not a part of your Dry Martini, as they only had a Cassis, which is less expensive!!! Hilarious! Never ever seen anything like that here in Spain!
And the “kofffietafel” after the funeral: everybody having a gezellige tijd after having burried their dear family member or friend whilst enjoying a broodje kaas and a kopje koffie!
The Dutch also love to take their own food with them on a holiday, how else can they survive being away from home, without their hagelsag, frietsaus, Van Nelle koffie etc.
By the way: who are you?
when I was in italy I sure as hell missed my dutch bread… brown bread btw, I don’t like white bread. don’t like the texture. in italy I only had the small breads wich were always burned on the bottom, and bread from the supermarket wich was even worse as dutch supermarketbread(as opposed to bread from a bakery), and had some weird flavoring added.
very first thing I ate back in the netherlands was a slice of dutch brown bread, no idea what I put on it, probably anise-hagelslag or honey, or maybe caramel-syrup
Ha, and when there’s a funeral here in America, I always find it strange that they don’t have refreshments. Because people come from far away and in Holland, when anyone comes from further away for anything, there are refreshments. And let’s face it, funerals can be great reunions and with refreshments people have the occasion to hang out and talk more about the deceased and say more meaningful things than just “condolences” while shuffling past the survivors.
Can’t say throughout America, in our area, many people host the family and close friends at home after a funeral not at the funeral parlor or church.
The Dutch tradition of having cake or gevulde koeken at funerals stems from an early christian tradition of sin eating, in which specially prepared koeken were passed over the body/coffin and eaten by the mourners, in order to take the deceased`s sins upon themselves and to ensure an easy transition into the afterlife, which itself goes back to the pre-christian tradition of grave-meals: meals served on the freshly covered grave.
Today these roots are mostly forgotten, but koffie met koek are still served as part of the funeral service, while sandwiches and soup, for relatives who come from afar, are served after the service – and usually not at the undertaker`s.
I believe the muisjes are called that because sometimes they have a little tail as a result of the way they are produced
you forgot about “vlokken”(flakes), my favourite.
as the name suggests, they are flakes of chocolate.
unfortunately i can’t eat them much because of allergies.
Americans find hagelslag very strange. “Chocolate on bread? Are you nuts?” If you have a sweet tooth, however, it’s easy to get used to, and to grow to like. Like stroopwafels, which many Americans love passionately after one one bite.
On the other hand the Dutch find, for the most part, some very typical and popular American combinations absolutely revolting. Try suggesting a peanut butter and jelly sandwich to a Dutch person, and see what happens. The cries of protest come immediately.
Brought back a bag of Reeses Peanut Butter cups (originally milk chocolate around a peanut butter center). Some Dutch like it and some have a similar reaction to the suggestion of peanut butter and jelly eaten together.
I’m dutch and had long a go try the comination.
And fell in love with it.
sometimes i exchange the jelly with banana slices.
well regarding peanutbutter or pindakaas=peanutcheese as we call it… you can accually eat it with anything you like… chocolat (hagelslag), banana’s, apple’s, cuccumber, applesyrup, sambal… so why not jelly? i never tried it but you never know, if you say it is delicious it might be…
Take a look at the muisjes closely — there is often a little hair from the anise seed sticking out of the candy coating, looking like a tail, and hence the entire thing like a little mouse.
I’m an American ex-pat who’s been in the Netherlands 6+ years now, and I still find the combination of beschuit-met-muisjes pretty gross (and got to have plenty of it two months ago when my daughter was born!).
The Dutch can be mortally offended when you refuse the beschuit met muisjes. Refusing the treat is like an ill-wish on the new-born.
coming from a flemish dutch perspective i would say it’s an abbreviation of the full name “muizenstrontjes” (mouse droppings) as we flemish tend to call them. the original chocolate sprinkles do resemble mouse droppings dont they?
I have eaten hagelslag on white bread ever since was a kid, and still do. So it’s absolutely normal to me. But then why did I almost fall in shock when as a kid I read in a book about someone eating a Kwatta-reep on bread?
Kwatta reep? Die naam zegt me wat, waren dat niet die Koetjes repen, of was dat weer wat anders??
What about wittebrood met speculaas?
ha ha, a cookie sandwich? yes!! mmmmm
Yes, witbrood with speculaas with lots of butter! Previous comments are right about hagelslag not being the same as sprinkles. Sprinkles have mainly sugar and very little chocolate where as hagelslag is mainly chocolate. As for people finding it strange to have hagelslag on bread, what about nutella?
Hhhmm, might make a sammy with hagelslag……
OH, they are so good! When our dutch relatives come over here, they always bring some…we put them on top of peanut butter. YUMYUM!!!!!!!
Hagelslag en pindakaas 😀 Our Dutch guests always bring it….. Here in Danmark hagelslag is used on cakes. I had totally forgotten “muisjes”, but do remember them again, with the little hairy thing sticking out…, leuk!
I remember some of my old Dutch co-workers who always enjoy their hagelslag on bread lunch so much that they never want to spoil any leftover hagelslag on their plates. Yep, you got me right, they would pick those tiny little sweet stuff one by one with their finger and put them on their tounge to eat it, til the very last piece. I find it very disturbing yet amusing. 🙂
I DO THAT, TOO!
BTW, when I need a boost from a lousy day, I make my triple-killer choc sandwich: butter 2 slices of bread, then spread chocolate spread thick on it (CHOCOLATE, not hazelnutspread!) and atop of that a generous helping of chocolate sprinkles. That is milkfat, cocoafat, sugar, more fat from cacao and still more much sugar. My dentist would kill me if she knew.
No, not one by one! I just lick the whole plate for leftover hagelslag…
So do I!
(when no-one is looking, i.e.!)
ofcourse, you’re not going to throw them away are you?
if there’s a hole in my bread and syrup drips on my bread-plate(more board than plate), I lick that off too.
In Belgium we have chocolate hageslag as well
After reading the article about milk, I saw the Hagelslag article. Before reading it, I went to the kitchen got myself ‘beschuit met boter en hageslag’, and a big glass of milk. I agree with you and I love it!
Years ago I lived in California for a while and I felt like eating hagelslag. I went to the supermarket and picked up a small bottle with sprinkels and went home. Super exited to eat white bread with hagelslag. What a disapointment when it turned out te be a very bad quality of hagelslag.
What a cancer retard.
Do you also know about the “VLOKKEN” made of chocolate.
Its the rival of HAGELSLAG.
I eat it every morging by breakfeats.
Wakes me up.
Seeing i dont like the taste of coffee.
And making thee takes to long.
Hagelslag also applies in Indonesia, … we eat bread with these choco sprinkler on it, .. but we dont call it Hagelslag instead of meises…. derived from meisje word in Dutch, there’s a history of it when The Dutch were there in colonial era, … they drop this culture in Indonesia, … but we called it meises ,cuz dutch little girl loves this hagelslag
I DO THAT, TOO! BTW, when I need a boost from a lousy day, I make my triple-killer choc sacnwidh: butter 2 slices of bread, then spread chocolate spread thick on it (CHOCOLATE, not hazelnutspread!) and atop of that a generous helping of chocolate sprinkles. That is milkfat, cocoafat, sugar, more fat from cacao and still more much sugar. My dentist would kill me if she knew.
Chocolate vlokken are my absolute favorite and make hagelslag lose the battle. Of course, just the dark chocolate variety. Can we buy that at all on the US East Coast? I wish we could!
Ha, and when there’s a funeral here in America, I aalwys find it strange that they don’t have refreshments. Because people come from far away and in Holland, when anyone comes from further away for anything, there are refreshments. And let’s face it, funerals can be great reunions and with refreshments people have the occasion to hang out and talk more about the deceased and say more meaningful things than just condolences while shuffling past the survivors.
I think in Holland we always have refreshments at funerals, even when no one is coming from further away. There’s always ‘koffie en broodjes’ (coffee and breadrolls), and you’re right, they are ‘great’ reunions. You meet up with family you might not have seen in years… Sad really that you need a funeral to meet up with family, but there you go.
Just started reading this blog, so this reply is a little late. Nicky: I don’t know of any store on the East Coast (I live in PA, close to the MD border), but I get all my Dutch food and other stuff from http://www.Thedutchstore.com, located in Michigan. They have reasonable prices and fast service!
I am first generation Canadian and grew up eating hagelslag on toast for breakfast. We would sometimes Canadian-ize it by first spreading peanut butter on the toast and then cover with hagelslag …. mmmmm
we do that too in the Netherlands! But you have to try the real PEANUTbutter, wich actually tastes like peanuts. Not the buttery kind you get in america.
For the times in-between-parcels-from-home, or they-sent-me-the-wrong-brand/item, you can order a lot of dutch stuff (foods especially) at http://www.heimweewinkel.nl – it seems they’ll take and send orders all over the world. Hagelslag, vlokken, Calve pindakaas…. you don’t have to live without……
yes, we eat sprinkles on our bread, but we are far from the only country where this is done: how about the french and their lovely habit of slipping a few blocks of choloclate into a torn of piece of fresh baguette? or the belgians and their ‘pralinekes’ on a pistolet (roll?)
and not to mention the, in my blunt dutch opinion really awful, breakfast habits of americans and their choclate-glazed donuts and chocolate covered cereal… and at least dutchies also eat cheese and meat and tomato on their excellent whole wheat bread and do not indulge in eating dessert for breakfast, like waffles, pancakes or muffins.
Wait, what? Waffles, pancakes and muffins are dessert food?
Well, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle!
And no, I’m not american but I evr since a kid I’ve been thinking that americans had the tastiest breakfast lore in those. Except that they were missing the hagelslag (which, btw, here in Dutch Caribbean we call muisjes, which helps confounds the native Dutch people and amuses them when they get the mix-up).
I don’t recall, has anyone mentioned vruchtenhagel yet?
And De Ruyters bosvruchtenhagel variation? Just when you thought things couldn’t get better (read: sweeter!)
every kind of sweet hail was mentioned already. 😉
if you love sweet stuff, american breakfasts are wonderful. i prefer the french variety: a fresh croissant and a nice double espresso. unsweetened.
I know pancakes as dinnerfood. and waffles, muffins and the like as cookie(for with the coffee)
I do believe the normal English term for buttered-bread-with-sprinkles is “fairy bread” – it’s a pretty normal component of any children’s birthday party around these parts (Southern Ontario).
Let me first tell that I found out about this page just today and I’ve been spending the entire night allready, reading about your vision on Dutch habbits! I love it! You’re doing a great job! I’m missing the famous ‘bitterballen’ (bitterballs) though, or maybe I haven’t found that blog yet 😉
Now, as for the Hagelslag. You are so right! I’m so used to eat Hagelslag on my toast and bread for as long as I can remember, LOL! And I still eat. And so does my mom 😛 It is so common here. I never even thought about the fact that everything in these blogs are not so common in other countries. One story after another, I was like; huh? They don’t know that? They don’t do that? They don’t have that? LOL!
I LÓVE HAGELSLAG!
And I lóve your stories!!!
Even though I didn’t eat them as much when I still lived in the Netherlands, I somehow have a big desire for a slice of white bread with hagelslag on it after reading this.
Hagelslag is great so don’t mess with hagelslag if you hate it. I put it on my bread all the time.
What about the ‘Vlokken’ (Flakes) then? Sprinkles come in quite some varieties around the world, but I don’t seem to remember any other country where they have something similar to Vlokken…
I have been living in Australia for over 30 years now but one Dutch tradition I still follow is hagelslag op brood with lashings of butter underneath, yum. I also love sprinkling it on top of pindakaas (peanut butter). And I still occasionally have the chocolade vlokken as well.
One thing which is also very nice and has nothing to do with hagelslag but I’ll mention it anyway, is a slice of bread, spread with copious amounts of appelstroop topped with cheese, heaven.
im flemish and i eat this everyday 😀
Germans have their own version: super thin chocolate bars or slices that are as big as half a slice of bread, you take two for a slice or one on a folded slice. Is great, more chocolate and less spilling over.
I have never heard anyone here in Holland calling muisjes or vruchtenhagel ‘hagelslag’. That word is always referring to the chocolate sprinkles…
And I found out a while ago why we have the tradition of eating ‘muisjes’ (sugar covered anise seeds) when a child is born: the anise stimulates the milkglands in a woman’s body, so she gives more milk to her baby! Which was the reason why my American friends refused to eat it, hahaha!!!
I am pretty sure “muisjes” are the food of choice to celebrate births because they symbolize fertility.
I mis my ‘hagelslag’ here in Houston. Anyone has a tip where I can get a bulk size box of chocolate sprinkles. I’ve checked in every grocery store and supermarket here. The only thing they sell here is a petit little mini jar, that’s barely enough for one sandwich.
Did you mention the bread itself yet? Not just the hagelslag, but bread (and lots of it) comes out at almost every meal… Three weeks visiting different sets of relatives around the Netherlands, and I was almost done with bread by the end.
I have a tip for everyone going to the Netherlands: get some brown, wholewheat bread, smear a freaking thick layer of butter on it, preferably cold, and apply the darkest, most cacao-laden sprinkles on it, but not too much in proportion to the bread and butter (the 70%, smaller variety of De Ruijter is heavy stuff). THAT’S how you do chocolate sprinkles.
“Muisjes” are called so because the anise-seeds have little stems (tails) that protrude from the sugar coated part, forming the tail. The sugar coated seed itself is also oblong, making up the body part of the muisje.
My family used to have Hagelslag on a piece of toast every morning for breakfast when i was growing up. I live in Colorado now and it’s difficult to find any stores that carry any Dutch sprinkles, but i found a really cool website that has all kinds of flavors. Here’s a link: http://www.indofoodstore.com/De-Ruijter.aspx
Whats better than a dry piece of round toast with butter, sugar and anice to celebrate a birth? Just about anything. The muisjes are probably a matter of taste, but, honestly, I can’t fathom why people keep buying beschuit when there is so much better dry bread related stuff available. Beschuit is actually used by people to do contests of who can whistle first after eating one, because the human saliva production is utterly inadaquate to cope with this slice of desert. I this some ploy concucted by new moms to have others share in their recently endured agony? What about we celebrate with a beer or wine from now on?
I grew up in Florida with a Dutch babysitter and whenever they would get care packages from home, a couple of boxes of De Ruijter would be included. It was usually an afternoon snack for us. After a day of swimming it was a nice treat that would coax us away from the pool.
HAGELSLAG !! I love it always have at least 2 cartons of it in the kitchen. Way better than HARING?? Yes it is raw !
In Twente (the east of the Netherlands) there is another tradition for newborn babies. When visitors come to see the baby (they call it ‘kraamschudden’ (literary: maternity shaking – don’t ask me why, but it sounds nice) the parents get a ‘krentenwegge’ (currants bread) of one meter length (yes, really!).
Hagelslag isn’t weird, it’s just choclate spread, but hard 🙂 And the “little mice” (muisjes) are called that because if you look very closely the little sugar-coated seeds will have a tiny “tail” sticking out. Btw, try strawberries on “beschuit”, it’s delicious!
I wish I would have seen this comment earlier, because I just posted the same thing (In Belgium we called them and mouse droppings). I am glad I am not the only one who knows them by this name, nor the only Flemish person who has posted here. 🙂
in flanders they are often referred to as muizenstrontjes, “little mouse droppings”. could that be the origin of the word muisjes? the chocolate version tends to look like mouse droppings right?
I LOVE chocolate hail. That’s what we call it in my household (my dad is dutch) I could eat it by the box full. No toast necessary. And the pink yellow and orange sprinkes are bomb on toast!
I am a true dutch girl and I think hagelslag is disgusting. I really dont like the taste of chocolate on bread/toast. So not all dutchies eat hagelslag 😉
Mirjam is not the only one who never eats hagelslag. I gave up on hagelslag, because I am so clumsy, that most of the hagelsag will end up on my plate. Using chocolate/hazelnut-spreads instead has proved to be a far more effective to get about the same taste, but without making a mess of my breakfast table.
and of course the beschuit in tea. Just let a cup of tea over your bischuit and it will taste delicious. Or an piece of bread with peanut butter with chocolate hagelslag.
Definitely we, Dutch people, have the best food and food combinations of the world 😀
every country is different. i love hagelslag, but i really don’t understand peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Why combine nuts and fruits?
Pink muisjes for a girl, blue for a boy, orange for a royal baby, and squashed(?), for every other day of the year!
I hope you mention this treat’s nickname. At least in Belgium we call them ‘mouse droppings’. Teehee.
Is it okay that I love this website? Yes, I am Flemish, living in Canada, but the Flemish and the Dutch are quite similar in many things, so it does make me feel like I am closer to home. Let’s leave the Belgian versus Dutch teasing in the past, though, not that I believe that most educated modern younger people think like this anymore, nor do I assume there will be any of that here, either. I just hate it!
“Muisjes (yep, “mice”, don’t get it” — As my mother explained it, this refers to the resemblance anise seeds bear to mouse droppings.
There has been an article in the news that remind me this entry and made me laugh.
“among the projects which have won funding since the Dutch launch is one to make bacon-flavoured sprinkles for on bread (bacon hagelslag)…”
Two slices of white bread with real butter and hagelslag (always the Venz brand) and two cups of tea every morning got your day going back in the 60s. After breakfast, however, no hagelslag whatsoever.
Nowadays, living in Mexico, They sometimes offer chocolate sprinkles at Costco or Sam’s Club, but they always turn out to be some kind of cereal grains covered with chocolate, so I don’t even buy them here, but get them in The Netherlands.
Being Dutch I love hagelslag off course. I live in Ireland and they always make fun me when I bring back loads of hagelslag . My kids love it. Irish attitude: who puts chocolate on bread. uhh hello what about Nutella which you can buy in every supermarket in Ireland? What do they put on bread in Ireland? French fries and more often potato chips. Who are the funny ones now?
They are called Muisjes “mice” because the chocolate version look like mouse droppings. I am dutch and I assure you this is the real reason, you’d have to be truly dutch to get it!
What’s wrong with chocolate on bread, toast, ryvitas or Dutch Crisp Bakes (as they call them in the UK – ‘beschuit’ is available here in every supermarket)? It’s just a solid form of chocolate spread, which is very common!
I love hagelslag, and so do my British wife and our daughter. In fact, everyone I know who ever tried it loves it. It’s always the dark chocolate variety for me and my daughter (‘puur’) and milk chocolate for my wife (‘melk’). We can’t wait for the next shipment grandma will bring us!
I think I like ‘vlokken’ even more (chocolate flakes rather than sprinkles), but there’s more chocolate in weight in a pack of hagelslag! 😉
Mice symbolized fertality in the past… (ever thought of how fast a few mice can become a plague in a badly cleened house?!)
They are called ‘muisjes’ (mice), because the seeds look like little mice.
Ahhhh chocolate hagelslag is YUMMY.
I had a Dutch friend when I was a kid so her parents would make this for breakfast and tell me stories about the liberation of the Netherlands when I stayed over. I feel very honoured they shared this tradition with me. (I’m Cdn)
Ik denk nu ook over chocolade VLOKKEN en chocolade BOTER.
And I don’t know about the rest but no hagelslag at lunch. Then it’s more time for kaas en boterhamworst.
What REALLY needs to be said is that the chocolate sprinkles sold in the rest of the world don’t taste like chocolate at all. Hagelslag is a staple in our house. The grandkids all have embraced the tradition too. Breakfast, lunch and dinner …if they could get away with it. Born in Holland, grew up in Canada and now live in the USA.
Muisjes … the origin for the name is actually not so strange at all. The anise seed has a little “tail” to itself. In het coated “muisjes” variety these tails sometimes stick out a bit, thus giving the impression of a little mouse!
Geweldig!!! Zoveel beroering als gewone hagelslag teweeg brengt!!Tijd dus om al die nederlandse engelstaligen er nog eens aan te herinneren wat een fijn land Nederland toch is . Jeet er lekker, je woont er heerlijk, het is welvarend en de natuur is zeer gevarieerd!!
In Indonesia, a country once colonised by the dutch, we have hagelslag with bread and margarine (or butter) for breakfast too! However, we call them meisis, which I think was derived from muisjes, and they are just normal chocolate sprinkles without the star anise. Often times, you would also hear it being called Ceres (a famous local brand that produces hagelslag or chocolate sprinkles).
I know a few guys who spread hagelslag on their bread after a generous portion of butter…
Hi, the two main flavours are melk (milk chocolate) and puur. You normally find little children prefer the melk version and adults mature to puur flavour. As with all things its best to spend a bit more and get top quality. We left the Netherlands back in 1965 but hardly a day goes by that I don’t have a slice with Venz puur chocolade hagel. My Australian wife doesn’t go for it but our children love it. We always stock up on hagelslag, drop and stroop wafels not forgetting speculaas, gevulde spijskoek, Douwe Egberts coffee beans etc etc. Best to go in the station wagon! Of course the best treat for me and the children is gebakken paling! Fried eels, absolutely delish! Just make sure you get thin river paling and not big fat sea eel. Too greasy.