Is Hagelslag The Same As Fairy Bread?

Forget about peanut butter, jelly, or even fancy cookie butter; if you are looking for ways to take your toast to the next level, look beyond your borders and take a tip from the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand. While colorful nonpareils or chocolate sprinkles are typically reserved for dessert toppings in the United States, other countries embrace these colorful and delicious decorations for breakfast treats or celebratory snacks.

Although both dishes involve topping a slice of buttered white bread with sprinkles, hagelslag is not the same as fairy bread. Not only do they use different kinds of sprinkles, but they are also typically enjoyed in different ways in their respective countries. Hagelslag, which is topped with deeply flavorful chocolate sprinkles, is a quintessential Dutch food that can be savored for breakfast or as a snack, while fairy bread is a classic and colorful treat associated with children's birthday parties in Australia and New Zealand.

What is hagelslag?

Hagelslag translates to "hailstorm" in Dutch. It is made by spreading butter on a slice of bread and then coating it with chocolate sprinkles or nonpareils. This sweet treat is typically enjoyed for breakfast or as a snack in the Netherlands, Belgium, and former Dutch colonies.

Initially, this may sound like an unusual dish, but in the Netherlands, their chocolate sprinkles are much richer and more intensely flavored than the waxy, corn syrup-filled versions available in the United States. Invented and popularized by Dutch candy makers in the early 1900, the nonpareils must contain at least 32% cocoa to be worthy of the name hagelslag. To keep breakfast interesting, the sprinkles are available in milk, dark, and white chocolate varieties.

If you want to try authentic Dutch hagelslag for yourself, high-quality chocolate sprinkles are readily available for purchase online or at European specialty markets. Don't forget to pick up some rich, European-style butter while you're at it for the full experience.

What is fairy bread?

Fairy bread is different from hagelslag in several ways. Fairy bread uses multi-colored nonpareil sprinkles to coat a slice of buttered white bread, rather than the larger chocolate-flavored sprinkles. This snack originates from Australia, and is also a traditional dish in New Zealand. Down under, they call sprinkles "hundreds-and-thousands," and might use butter or margarine to adhere them to the bread.

There, fairy bread is more of a special occasion treat than a typical daily meal. It is most frequently associated with children's birthday parties, where the bread is cut into triangles for hungry kids to gobble up. Since these tiny round sprinkles can be a bit messy, parents prefer to pour them onto a plate and then invert the buttered bread onto the colorful spheres. Sometimes they are served with the crust, and other times the crusts are trimmed before being plated for partygoers. It all comes down to the personal preference of the birthday child.