It’s amazing how the Dutch decorate their bread – from the crunchy Hagelslag to the all-too-English butter and jam.

Bread. Every country has one. Middle Eastern countries have the famous Pita, Mexico has the Tortilla, France gave birth to the Baguette and is famous for its Croissants, the English have Bagels and the Filipinos have the Pan De Sal.

We (Filipinos) dip our bread in our coffee (yes, that’s the way to clean it) while the tortilla is dipped in the salsa. The pita gets along fine with any meat and the Croissant is delectable in itself alone.

But since we’re in the Netherlands, for which bread are the Dutch famous? There is the Speculaas and the Peijnenburg, but to limit Dutch bread to that would be a sin because it really depends on what supermarket you are in. Dutch bread comes in white or brown, plain or seeded. Either pompoenpitted or zonnenbloemen or sesame-seeded and much much more.

The bread in The Netherlands is probably the most decorated of all. Blame it to a wide array of spreads and sprinkles, which are only widely-used in the Philippines for children’s ice cream. But here in the Netherlands, it is widely-used for bread of children and adults alike.

As they are very much used in everyday bread, these sprinkles come in different shapes and sizes – long (hagelslag), rounded (muisjes), colored (vruchtenhagel) or in flakes (vlokken).

But for the chocolate lover who does not want crunch on his or her bread, the chocolate paste (duo or otherwise) is widely available. And for the not so daring, there is the good old comforting peanut butter or pindakaas.

With this wide array of choices, the Dutch decorate their bread in all ways possible – with butter and hagelslag, with butter and jam, with meat slices, with sandwich spread from a bottle or with home-made egg spread.

For the conventional sandwich eater, butter may come as a staple choice. But for the adventurous Dutch with an exploratory palate, the only limitation is the imagination.#