breakfast in... Netherlands, Belgium or France?
... and soon I will add England to that list, oh, and Italy! But in the meantime, we as a family have noticed specific differences in our breakfasts across these 3 countries.
I told my boys the other day "I love the second B." The what? The second B in 'Bed & Breakfast.' Beds? That is another story, some are comfortable, some not so much. Some places I stay awake because of a late night coffee, others have the most glorious pillows... but that is content for another [non-food] blog (aka the 'family blog' about our cycling/living abroad year www.familyfrolics.com). But the breakfast comments? That belongs here, on my talking---and now traveling---tomato site.
And all the bed and breakfast, and Vrienden op de Fiets (approximate translation is 'friends on cycles' and is primarily a Netherlands notion, where people in cities all over rent out rooms in their homes---to cyclists---plus breakfast, for a really great deal). In a few cases we also were offered dinner for a nominal fee, and gladly scooped up the opportunity. Anyway, all the bed and breakfasts, homes and even some small-time hotels offered breakfasts. And after 6 weeks in the Netherlands, 2 weeks in Belgium and 1 week into France, we have had our share of breakfasts.
If I said to my boys, take this quiz, they would answer accordingly:
1. tea or coffee? Netherlands, Belgium 2. tea, coffee or hot chocolate (chocolait)? France 3. yogurt? Netherlands, Belgium 4. variety of breads/rolls? Netherlands 5. croissants? France,Belgium 6. Baguettes? France, Belgium 7. Spreadable cheese products? France, Belgium 8. meat and cheese? Netherlands 9. cheese no meat? Belgium 10. jam? Netherlands, Belgium, France 11. nutella? Netherlands, Belgium 12. chocolate sprinkles? Netherlands 13. only bread and jam? France 14. fruit? Netherlands 15. marmalade? Netherlands16. rhubarb compote? Netherlands, Belgium17. strawberry jam? Netherlands, Belgium, France18. raspberry jam? France19. blackberry jam? Netherlands20. cherry preserves? Belgium, France21. apricot jam? Netherlands, Belgium, France22. bread with raisins (see photo)? Netherlands23. whip cream (seen on cappuccinos and waffles---see photo below)? Belgium
Netherlands: the full spread, a bread basket piled HIGH with 3, 4 or even 5 varieties of bread, rolls, etc. Tea or coffee, sometimes juice. Kids often offered tea. Condiments include honey, jam, butter, chocolate sprinkles, nutella and peanut butter. Also meat (usually 2 varieties) and slices of cheese. Occasionally yogurt. Occasionally fruit. Occasionally granola.
Belgium: no meat. But bread with butter, jam, nutella, honey or sliced and/or spreadable cheese. Often a variety of breads (including brown/grain). Coffee or tea. Occasionally yogurt.
France: Coffee, tea or hot chocolate. Orange juice. Croissants and french baguettes. Jam---usually 2 or more varieties to choose from. Butter. No meat, no cheese, no chocolate spread.
And not that we had them in our typical abodes, but if you frequent restaurants for breakfast in these said countries, the Netherlands has the corner on pancakes, Belgium claims waffles and France holds the title for crepes. But in the home/hotel/bed & breakfast environs---these were not typically offered.