Speculaas or speculoos?
In Belgium and the Netherlands you see two terms used for caramelised biscuits: speculoos and speculaas. There is, however, a difference. Generally speaking, in Belgium, speculaas with 'speculaas spices' is no longer made. The Dutch speculaas is a thicker, spiced gingerbread. The Belgian speculoos, or caramelised biscuit, is thinner and has a more refined taste.
Where does the word speculoos (speculaas) come from?
Even specialists cannot agree on the origin of the word speculaas (and speculoos). Some believe that we call the biscuits by this name because they had the shape of a figure. The Latin word 'speculum' after all means mirror. However, the word 'speculaas' could also come from 'specie'. Thus, a cake with spices. In Flanders they also speculate about the corruption of the word 'spekkenklaas'.
Our Germanic ancestors had the custom of seeking the favour of their supreme deity Wodan (the leader of the Germanic army of the dead) with sacrifices. In the beginning they sacrificed slaves and animals. Later, however, the living sacrifices were replaced by specially baked bread and cake. The Medieval monks decorated their honey cake with the likenesses of saints, and sold them to the pilgrims as souvenirs. Later, figures from folklore and various handicrafts were also portrayed.
What do caramelised biscuits have to do with St. Nicolas?
In the 15th century, couples in love gave each other dolls to express this love. These lover's dolls were called 'saint makers'. St. Nicolas the bishop after all was a sort of marriage broker. St Nicolas himself was then also portrayed, often together with three boys or on a horse. Beginning in the sixteenth century, however, in the Protestant regions the 'holy man' was only portrayed as a respectable gentleman since the Calvinists did not want to see Roman Catholic figures as at the baker.
For a short period of time the fashion was even to cover the speculaas dolls with a thin layer of gold paint. This made the dolls look even more tempting. It was also a reference to the legend of the three poor girls who received gold for a dowry from St. Nicolas. The 'gold' gilding, however, was very unhealthy and thus was not used for long.
What makes the traditional Vermeiren Princeps caramelised biscuits so special?
Vermeiren Princeps uses raw materials of a superior quality and it uses a special kneading machine that imitates the handwork of times gone by. After the dough is mixed well, it rests for a night in a cool environment. This allows the dough to rest according to a natural cycle. The light dough is then baked slowly in the hot oven, transforming it into perfectly crisp caramelised biscuits.
Why are Vermeiren Princeps caramelised biscuits so nutritious?
Because each biscuit is prepared in the traditional way with the best ingredients. Preservatives, colouring and artificial flavourings are never added. The caramelised biscuits are made with vegetable matter and thus are 100% natural. Milk and eggs are not used, so that vegetarians and vegans can also enjoy Vermeiren caramelised biscuits. In contrast to many competitors, Vermeiren Princeps never uses refined sugars and syrups. The baker continues to use honey because this product is so healthy. The sugar-free biscuits are made with the vegetable sweetener maltitol, and thus are also suitable for diabetics.
a sandwich with caramelised biscuits ensures that you start your day bursting with energy.
As a snack:
your favourite caramelised biscuit with a delightful cup of coffee or tea. That will pep you up.
As a dessert:
finishing a glorious meal with a crispy caramelised biscuit extends the enjoyment.
What is the best way to preserve caramelised biscuits?
Caramelised biscuits still in the protected film can be stored for a very long time.
Once the package is open, the biscuits are best kept in a tightly closed biscuit tin.
Otherwise the biscuits will become soft and their taste will change.
How can you recognise organic caramelised biscuits?
Organic products are immediately recognisable by the organic guarantee label. The suppliers that provide the raw materials for organic food products attach much importance to the natural cycle. When cultivating, no chemical fertilisers or chemical herbicides are used. They also do not use any genetically manipulated organisms. Organic thus means pure nature.
When Vermeiren Princeps first put its organic caramelised biscuits on the market in 1989, only organic flour was used. In the meantime, all other ingredients have been replaced: the sweeteners (honey and cane sugar), the fats (vegetable unhardened margarine), the spices (only cinnamon) and the soya.
Vermeiren Princeps produces 125 tons of organic caramelised biscuits yearly. This is 12% of the total production.
Why choose Fair Trade caramelised biscuits?
The 'honest' price of the raw materials with which the Fair Trade foods are made is higher. By using these raw materials, however, you are also showing that your heart is in the right place. Since 1999, Vermeiren Princeps has been importing all Fair Trade honey from Mexico and Guatemala. It does this, for that matter, not only out of solidarity, but also because the honey is of superior quality. When fair trade products came on the market in the nineties, they were seen rather as solidarity projects and not as quality products. In the meantime, it has been proven that the two aspects complement each other perfectly. For the Fair Trade caramelised biscuits sold with the Max Havelaar label, Vermeiren Princeps also uses raw Fair Trade cane sugar imported among others by Oxfam.