In the Netherlands, everyone from tykes to senior citizens tops their buttered bread with a thick coat of hagelslag. They’re sprinkles, but heftier and more flavorful than what graces your average sundae. Hagelslag roughly translates to “hailstorm,” as the sound of falling sprinkles evokes falling hail.
Traditionally, Dutch families welcome newborns by serving muisjes, sugar-coated anise seeds that are colored blue (for a boy) or pink (for a girl), atop round toast. Any other variety of Dutch sprinkles—coconut, rainbow, assorted fruit, white, dark, or milk chocolate—is considered an everyday food. Hagelslag aren’t relegated to dessert, either. Most often, they’re breakfast.
According to Stuff Dutch People Like, the country eats hagelslag on more than 750,000 pieces of buttery bread per day and consumes more than 30 million pounds of sprinkles each year. Cakes, bagels, ice cream, peanut butter, pudding, and fruit are also fair game for the sweet topping. They come in assorted shapes and sizes, but the classic iteration is an oversized milk-chocolate sprinkle.
When it comes to avoiding hailstorms, consider hagelslag an exception to the rule.
Need to Know
You can buy hagelslag online and in European specialty stores. In the Netherlands, it's ubiquitous.