The Dutch are doing it better than us once again. The ‘IT’ in this case is breakfast. I was on a layover in Amsterdam a few weeks back and dropped into to the VIP lounge at the airport for a tea and a bite to eat when I spotted a basket of tiny De Ruijter boxes on the breakfast buffet. A product I had never seen before, even though I visit Amsterdam on a regular basis. I was instantly intrigued. Let’s start with the fact that I am pretty sure I am mispronouncing it, even in my head.
The picture on the box was pretty self-explanatory. There is a piece of white bread with some chocolate sprinkles on top. Being a culinary purist, however, I did my research, I wanted to eat this strange new product the “right” way. So I googled it, and apparently you spread some butter on some bread, sprinkle De Ruijter over the top and that is considered a breakfast in the Netherlands. It seemed strange to me at first, but when I stopped to think about it, this wasn’t any different than spreading some Nutella or jam on some toast in the morning; it’s all sugar. The only difference here is the medium used to deliver the sugar; hard little pellets as opposed to a soft spread.
I grabbed the biggest piece of bread, some butter and a couple of boxes of De Ruijter and headed to my table with all the excitement of Christmas day, my birthday, and New Years eve rolled into one. I slathered the butter generously all over the bread, I’m always generous when it comes to butter. I opened the box and emptied the entire thing over the butter; It was ‘go big or go home’ time.
In life, it is better to have low expectations. This way you are either right on point and unaffected or pleasantly surprised and very happy. Well when it comes to De Ruijter you can have sky-hight expectations. The first bite rocked my world. This was nothing like chocolate spread or jam, this was in a category all its own. The butter acted like a delectable glue holding each and every sprinkle in place. The saltiness of the bread and butter beautifully contrasted the extreme sweetness of the chocolate sprinkles.
The texture is quite unique. The gooeyness of the soft, un-toasted, bread along with the creaminess of the butter were the perfect backdrop for the crunchiness of the chocolate sprinkles. I keep referring to them as sprinkles for lack of a better term, but this is not doing them any justice. They are not your typical ice cream sprinkles, they are plumper, more chewy on the inside, more chocolaty, and less straight up sugar. Needless to say, I inhaled the entire thing, made myself a second one, inhaled that , and pocketed three more boxes to take home.
Where has De Ruijter been all my life? This has to be the best kept Dutch secret ever. How is this product not a household name? Well they might have to abbreviate or something, but people around the world should be eating this on a daily basis. I visited their official website and my mind was blown for a second time. These little drops of goodness come in different flavors. There is an anise seed one, a fruit flavored one, and even one that comes in the form of flakes instead of sprinkles (I’m assuming this is the upscale one you serve to guests). Don’t quote me on this, I didn’t know how to switch the website to english, so this is me guessing what the pictures are representing.
I wonder if the Dutch laugh at us when see how we use our sprinkles? “Look at these peasants using their sprinkles on top of desserts, brutes,” they must say to themselves. Thank you Netherlands for showing us the way once again. You are not only progressive with your laws, you are also progressive in your sprinkle usage. It is situations like these that make me consider learning Dutch and moving to the Netherlands. Ya, that’s right! I choose my country of residence based on a breakfast item.
Life Lesson: World rocking experiences can come when you least expect them. I will never look at sprinkles the same way again.
Funny fact I learnt while doing my “research”
What do you call a person who lives in Amsterdam? An Amsterdammer, no really, it is not a punch line to a corny joke, that is really what they are called. Everything is cooler in Amsterdam, even what they call themselves. That’s it, I’m looking up the Netherland’s immigration requirements.