Welcome to Holland. The land of windmills, tulips, cheese. We in Holland eat weird stuff, a sandwich with haring and sliced onion. And we like to mash our food we call it stampot. I know it all sounds amazing ,not. but the best thing Holland got to offer is hagelslag. These pieces of heaven created by god himself are probably the most Dutch thing you can buy in a supermarket, and probably the most eatable food. Let me tell you a little bit more about these chocolate hailstorms.
Hagelslag is used on bread. Dutchies eat it for breakfast, lunch and sometimes even dinner. Hagelslag is also commonly used on things like ice cream, cake, yoghurt. most dutchies eat it with peanut butter ( this combination is a god’s gift). Some eat it with cheese or leverworst (liverwurst), try to avoid these people when you’re in Holland because their weird. Most of the time butter is spread out so the hagelslag does not fall off. If you don’t put butter on your bread before you put the (hagelslag) on it then you’re a true rebel. We will all respect you and look up to you. They were named hagelslag after a weather phenomenon you will experience quit a lot in Holland, sweet ol’ Hail.
According to Amsterdam City Archives, the very first hagelslag was invented in 1919 , after the director of the Venco liquorice factory came up with idea of making little aniseed flavoured sprinkles , it was an rainy autumn with a lot of wind and hail , so he named these sprinkles from heaven ‘hagelslag’ . And began delivering it to bakeries and grocery stores up and down the country, people where so excited to try something completely new and weird and the hail strokes literally flew off the shelves. Meanwhile other people began to produce these chocolate goodness to. Venco got competition. De Ruijter, who began making their chocolade hagelslag and fruit sprinkles in 1938.
In 1938 De Ruijter not only started producing hagelslag, but invented a new kind of hagelslag too. A new product was born and here in Holland we call it geboortemuisjes. These delicious mini ice storms you serve on a biscuit with butter after your child is born. The first geboortemuisjes were originally called ‘Oranje muisjes’. and the were presented in a large tin to Princess Juliana and Prince Bernhard to celebrate the arrival of their baby daughter, Princess Beatrix. If you get a boy you have blauwe muisjes these are blue and white and if you get a girl you get the roze muisjes these are pink and white. It is a Dutch tradition to celebrate your newborn with geboortemuisjes. But this tradition of giving anise to the newborn and mother and other guest didn’t start when princess Beatrix was born. No, in the dark ages we already gave the baby and mother anise to keep the demons away. That’s why there are only nice and kind people in Holland.
But geboortemuisjes aren’t the only hagelslag that was made after hagelslag. No leave it to the dutchies to make more weird but delicious hagelslag in different forms and with different flavours. For example you have hagelslag that tastes like gingerbread. I personally recommend this because it tastes like heaven. You also have coloured hagelslag you call it vruchtenhagel it comes in colour combinations like yellow, orange and pink and purple, green and brown. And it tastes like a combination of happy days and rainbow. Also a big favourite in Holland is vlokken it is basically rasped chocolate that you put on your bread. A very good tip is to put peanut butter with vlokken on a sandwich, it is a nice combination. And for the kids we have hagelslag with figures in it, we call these funnies. And when you’re at school and you get the most funnies on your sandwich at lunch , you’re basically the king or queen of the class.
We Dutch really like our hagelslag, we basically worship it. And we have rules when it come to our hagelslag. Yeah, we actually have a law that states that 0nly hagelslag with a cacao percentage of more than 35% can wear the name chocolade hagelslag. If the percentage is under the 35%, it has to be called cacao fantasy hagelslag. And if you break this law you can expect a big fine and a horde of angry Dutch people with pitchforks and torches. DO NOT MESS WITH OUR HAGELSLAG. Period.
A lot of people say that hagelslag is bad for you, because it is made out of chocolate. But a majority of the hagelslag is made with at least 35% cocoa with 100% cocoa butter (this means there are no weird fillers, like vegetable oil. Or other stuff that is bad for you. And a sandwich with hagelslag is only around 88 kcal, this is less calories than that are in one cookie. So here is proof again that hagelslag is better than anything else.
And if you think I am exaggerating with the whole dutchies really like their hagelslag you wrong, because we do really like hagelslag. Together the dutchies eat more than 14 million kilos of hagelslag each year. That’s roughly the combined weight of 1,000 adult elephants! Which is a lot of elephants. We have 16 million inhabitants in Holland so this means that we almost eat a kilo per person per year. Which is crazy. Again proof that hagelslag is better than any other food.
Hagelslag is a part of our culture and being and feeling Dutch. hagelslag is Dutch, and Dutch is hagelslag. So if you want to try the real Dutch cuisine you should definitely try a sandwich with hagelslag. Do this and you will instantly be accepted as a dutchie and everyone will like you.