Hagelslag: Belgian chocolate for breakfast

HagelslagChocolate. You gotta love it. You can eat it, cook with it, even snort it. It’s good at every meal. Even breakfast, as I discovered on a recent trip to Antwerp.

The Belgians enjoy a special breakfast treat called Hagelslag. These are basically chocolate sprinkles put on toast. The heat of the toast melts the bottom sprinkles, making a nice gooey mess, while the top sprinkles scatter all over the plate. This gives you lots of tasty scrounging once you’ve finished your chocolate toast. I brought a box home to my six-year-old son and as you can imagine, it was quite a hit.

Now before anyone gets all self-righteous about diet and nutrition in the comments section, let me just say that I don’t give the little nipper chocolate toast every morning, and fine Belgian chocolate is a helluva lot more natural than the average kids breakfast cereal. And he never eats fast food. That’s right. Never.

(We’ll see how long that lasts once he’s older and has pocket money)

Hagelslag comes in different varieties and the original recipe was Dutch, although I’ve only tried one Belgian brand. There are several competing brands and some come out with white chocolate and chocolate shavings rather than sprinkles. So if you’re passing through the Low Countries, pick up some Hagelslag. Your kids will thank you for it.

Don’t miss the rest of my series: Lowdown on the Low Countries.

Coming up next: Preserved human flesh at Amsterdam’s Tattoo Museum!

This trip was partially funded by Tourism Antwerp and Cool Capitals. All opinions, however, are my own.

Photo courtesy Mtcv.

Sweet! The top 10 candy desinations in the US

Know what the best part about Halloween is? The candy. The sweet, sweet candy. Whether you’ve long outgrown trick-or-treating or not, being surrounded by sugary goodness is some sort of gluttonous version of heaven. Or at least to me it is.

Still, candy doesn’t have to be confined to Halloween; If you’re looking for a place to satisfy your sweet tooth, here’s a list of the Sweetest cities in the US, according to the National Confectioners Association:

  1. Hershey, PA. Well, duh. I think the name says it all. Head to the Hershey plant on Halloween and you’ll be treated to lots of free samples.
  2. New York, NY. With attractions like M&M’s World and a 16-story Hershey’s store in Time Square, it’s easy to see why New York is known for more than just apples.
  3. Orlando, FL. Disney world is a sweet-lovers haven, with sweet shops and a replica of Ghirardelli Square.
  4. San Francisco, CA. If Ghirardelli Square and the Scharffen Berger chocolate factory aren’t enough, San Francisco also boasts the world’s largest Pez dispenser.
  5. Chicago, Il. With a stadium named after gum, you know sweets are big here.
  6. Los Angeles, CA. Like Orlando, Disneyland is the place to be in LA for sweets.
  7. Boston, MA. Boston was crowned the Trick-or-Treat Capital in 2006 for its abundance of sweet stuff.
  8. New Orleans, LA. Classic sweet shops like Laura’s Candy Shop and Aunt Sally’s Praline Shop make this city a hit with sweet tooths (or is it sweet teeth … ?)
  9. Las Vegas, NV. This Halloween, Vegas trick-or-treaters will be treated to chocolate poker chips. Umm … not a good idea for chocoholics …
  10. Kansas City, MO. When in Kansas City, be sure to enjoy a tour of the Russel Stover headquarters.