Breakfast, as we all know, is an important meal. Though brunch is unfortunately not a big item in Amsterdam, we do have a lot of choices for the first meal of the day.

The normal, every-day thing is hagelslag, delicious chocolate sprinkles intended for kids. But why should they have all the fun? And all the chocolate? Hagelslag is normally sprinkled on top of buttered toast so the heat slowly melts the chocolate. I’ve found something even more delicious, though, and use nutella or gingerbread speculoos paste as the base for the toast, then a layer of sprinkles on top. Yum, yum!

Nutella and hagelslag on toast, with an unfortunate hole in the middle. It came that way.

The more gourmet meal is pannenkoeken (although seriously, what’s more gourmet than dark chocolate sprinkles for breakfast?). Pannenkoeken is a cross between an American pancake and a French crepe, thinner than the former and thicker than the latter. They are often covered in stroop, a caramel syrup that’s thick and sweet. It’s times like this that I remember that maple syrup is really only a North American thing, isn’t it?

Two pannenkoeken, the box of mix, stroop, and coffee. Delicious!

In restaurants across the city pannenkoeken are served with all manner of toppings and stuffings, both sweet and savory. They cover the whole plate, and depending on what toppings you get, could require more than one person to finish. Back in December we went to a cozy little place in the Jordaan called Pancakes!Amsterdam and enjoyed a pannekoek each, leaving stuffed and happy. We also left with a free wooden clog keychain. Score.

The slightly blurry restarant version: veggies with pesto sauce

Breads, cheeses, fruit, coffee, tea, yogurt, muesli, freshly squeezed orange juice, and just plain cereal are also enjoyed here for breakfast. But I don’t have any pictures of those, and I’m keeping this post short and sweet.

So there you have it: hagelslag and pannenkoeken, two Dutch breakfast specialties I’ve fallen for completely. I might go sprinkle some hagelslag on something right now…