This is an educational post to inform you of one of my great loves in life, Speculoos. This is one of my favourite foods, and I am as addicted to it as I am to Nutella.
Speculoos (or Speculaas in Dutch, Spéculoos in German and the funky-sounding Spekulatius in German), is the generic name of a traditional crispy, spiced shortcrust biscuit from Belgium. To me it tastes like Christmas, with lots of cinnamon and other spices like ginger, cloves, cardamom and nutmeg.
Speculoos spread is made out of these biscuits, and is kind of like a peanut butter, but much sweeter, more luscious and just as delicious. The spread is called Speculoospasta in Dutch, but I use the term Speculoos loosely, and most of the time I’m just referring to the spread.
Lotus is one of the big Speculoos brands, which makes both the biscuits and the spread, in smooth and crunchy varieties.
Lotus also entered the American market, changing the name to Biscoff Spread to achieve wider appeal in the States. Trader Joe’s in America also jumped on the bandwagon and now makes a Speculoos Cookie Butter, which apparently is very similar but a bit sweeter (and available in a variety of flavours including cookie and cocoa swirl). There has been hot debate over which one is better, with the Lotus brand the winner for the Miami New Times and certifiedfoodie.com; while Trader Joe’s comes out on top for the quertycafe.com food blog and these experts, which all seem like credible sources on the issue).
I eat it spread on toast or fruit muffins for breakfast, melted and drizzled on ice cream, added to a hot chocolate, or, like Nutella, straight from the jar! The website for Biscoff spread in the States recommends having it with apple slices, although I haven’t tried that myself.
Some of my favourite Speculoos flavour combinations include Speculoos with banana, chocolate, marshmallows and even coffee. It’s a favourite baking ingredient of mine which I add to cakes, brownies and pies; and I also use it as a ganache filling in my moulded chocolates, and make it into amazing ice cream.
I’ve tried a few varieties so far – the original Lotus Speculoospasta in the smooth variety; as well as ‘Cookie Notti’ from another brand called Penotti, in both the crunchy version and the creamy cappuccino heart version. I noticed they have an espresso version which sounds delicious, but I haven’t been able to find this so far. They are all amazing, and I’m planning on taking a tub of each flavour with me for the rest of the trip to Italy, as I haven’t seen Speculoos there yet (although I did sample some Speculoos gelato at an Italian gelato store in Brugge last year).
So if you haven’t tried Speculoos yet, then get to it, it will change your life! It is notoriously hard to find in Australia but sometimes you can buy it online (when it’s not out of stock, which is most of the time) and I have seen it pop up in a few desserts around Sydney recently (when it becomes big in Australia, remember you heard about it here first!!).
If neither of those options work, make friends with a Dutch person who can bring some over for you, plan a trip to Europe or the States, or try making your own like I did (if you can find the Lotus biscuits).
Miss Italy Foodie X