Only the Dutch could kickstart their day with the toe-curling sweetness of a decadent ‘hailstorm’ (hagelslag) of chocolate sprinkles, scattered liberally on freshly baked bread dripping with creamy butter. Bite off more than you can chew with these favourite sweet and sugary Dutch snacks recommended by the locals…
Dutch snacks for your sweet sense
Step aside Gouda, Edam and Maasdam – cheese may be at the top of the Dutch snacks ladder, but close behind is a pantry of beloved sweet, salty and bitter treats that will delight your inner child.
From fluffy poffertjes (mini pancakes) to sticky, sugary stroopwafels perched delicately atop your steaming cup of coffee, there are delicious Dutch snacks to fuel your sugar rush morning, noon and night.
There are many things that will surprise you about the Netherlands, not-withstanding that they consume the most liquorice in the world.
For the ultimate Dutch food guide, look no further than these 8 Dutch snacks that will tantalise your sweet tooth:
Stroopwafels (syrup waffle)
The stroopwafel is the cornerstone of Dutch coffee culture. Within each round awaits the gooey goodness of caramel-flavoured syrup finely sandwiched between thin wafer biscuits. Forego the sugar-free version and hit the sweet spot with the original Daelmans stroopwafels. These are offered in caramel, chocolate, honey or maple flavours. For the full Dutch snacks experience, place your stroopwafel over your steaming cuppa and allow the syrup to melt. A moreish mouthful of delicious treacly sweetness awaits. One will never be enough.
Soft and sweet, soft and salty, hard and sweet or hard and salty – you’ll never encounter the variety of liquorice flavours and textures anywhere else in the world. Sold in supermarkets, drug stores and kiosks across the Netherlands, drop comes in all shapes and sizes. English drop, honey drop, mint drop, coins, ovals and diamonds, if you can imagine it, there’s a drop to match. For extra street cred, impress your Dutch hosts by sampling Venco’s Dubbel Zout DZ (extra salty) drop – a firm favourite amongst drop purists. Be sure to have a bottle of spa blauw (still water) on hand to wash it down.
Hagelslag, vlokken and muisjes
If breakfast is the most important meal of the day, why not make it the tastiest? Say goodbye to shredded wheat and hello to these Dutch snacks. Savour the liberal dusting of sugary goodness in the form of chocolate vermicelli, thick chocolate flakes or aniseed-flavoured pink and white iced sprinkles on bread or beschuit (a round toasted crunchy rusk).
Rich and creamy, the Dutch version of custard is delivered in a quart-sized milk carton, not nearly large enough to last one sitting. Spoon up ladles of vanilla or chocolate, vanilla and chocolate, caramel and, the ever decadent, slagroom (whipped cream) vla, whose velvety decadence will glide down your throat with the same grace as a professional skater. Savour it on its own, or use it as a sweet dip for skewered fresh fruit. You’ll be hard-pressed to keep your manners in check and resist the urge to polish off what remains.
Speculaas (spicy biscuit)
What could be more Dutch than windmills? Besides being a familiar sight in Holland, this icon has inspired the shape of one of our favourite Dutch snacks – the speculaas cookie. Infused with flavours of nutmeg, cloves and ginger, speculaas originates from the days of the Dutch East Indies spice trade.
Boterballen (buttercream balls)
Take a step back in time and let melt-in-your-mouth boterballen set the tone for a comfort-filled day, bringing back memories of grandma and grandpa. This little-known delicacy was once a firm favourite in North Holland. Today it can only be found in specialist shops selling candy and Dutch snacks from yesteryear.
Poffertjes (mini pancakes)
Whether it’s the light dusting of powdered sugar or the joy of waiting in anticipation as they transform from dough rounds to the sweet treat that is Holland’s beloved poffertjes, a chilly day dodging the tring tring of bicycles would be incomplete without these bite-sized Dutch snacks. These small and fluffy pancakes are the ultimate Dutch street food, a staple on our Dutch food guide throughout the year. For your poffertje fix, visit Volendam with Trafalgar, beating off the hungry seagulls for your share.
Amandelstaf (almond pastry)
Rich, flaky and filled with almond goodness, amandelstaf is one of the most favourite festive Dutch snacks. There’s something comforting about its warmth and familiar almond flavours. It’s a reminder that this is the season to indulge, share in festive cheer and embrace the gezellig way of life in the Netherlands. No need to wait for the Yuletide spirit to indulge in its delectable flavours, however. Not too far off is its biscuit equivalent. The gevulde koeken features all its almond flavours in just a few bites.
How many of these Dutch snacks have you tried, or want to try? Let us know in the comments…