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In the Dutch language, suikerboon means sugar bean, and this confectionery, called suikerbonen in the plural, is made by encasing almonds and uniform-shaped dark chocolates in thin, hard and colored sugar coating. Suikerbonen are very popular in Belgium and the Netherlands, and are traditionally these colorful confectioneries are presented in small bags or packages to all guests and well-wishers by the parents after the birth of a baby, or by the godparents at the time of the child's baptism. The suikerboon sweets are also eaten simply as a treat or as a digestive on everyday occasions.
Suikerboon is very similar to other confections like Jordan almonds and Beschuit met muisjes. Jordan almonds have no real connection to Jordan, but, in fact, may have originated either from Sulmona, Italy, or from Malaga, Spain. They consist of almonds enclosed in colored sugar coatings of various pastel shades like pink, white, yellow, green, blue, lilac, and so on; different colored sugar-coated almonds are given to visitors at different celebrations. Beschuit met muisjes, in Dutch, stands for biscuits with little mice, and consists of crisp, round rusks that are topped with butter and white, pink, orange or blue sugar-coated anise seeds. Like suikerbonen and Jordan almonds, beschuit met muijes are distributed for good luck at childbirth or baptism.
The number of suikerboon presented to the visitors can be 12, 16, 24 or more, depending on the size of the gift bag or package. Many people buy or make small paper bag containers for the suikerboon; the ready-made bags or the colored papers for making them are usually available at most paper gift shops or craft shops. The paper bags are often embellished with colorful ribbons and flowers. Apart from paper bags, sachet-like, beribboned fabric bags are also a popular choice for these sugar bean confectioneries. Other choices for suikerboon holders include tiny socks, tea glasses, transparent plastic bags, porcelain ornaments, and small teddy bears with suikerbonen bags attached to their neck ribbons. Whatever the choice, it is usual to attach a name card with the child's name to the confectionery package.
It is possible to purchase suikerboon in confectionery shops or from various online retailers. Some sellers offer suikerbonen in ready-made, attractive packages, or offer to fill the confectioneries in the customer's choice of packaging. This can be quite convenient if the family does not have the time to prepare the packages themselves.
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