In the series of European foods with a link to cycling, next up is the Speculoos biscuit. Speculaas in Dutch but speculoos in French and Flemish some might know this as Biscoff, a brand name.
Flour and brown sugar mixed with a small amount of spice. The sugar lends the brown colour to the biscuit and usually no or little soda or yeast is used so that these do not rise at all.
They were traditionally a winter food for the Saint Nicholas and Christmas celebrations with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom and white pepper inside and a pattern stamped on the front, eg a windmill or an animal. But the most common versions are small tablet-shaped biscuits.
Euro cyclist use
These are often served with coffee. Visit a café and the waiter will bring you the drink with one of these nestled on the saucer. The simple flour and sugar mix means instant calories and the spice compliments the coffee very well.
If you’ve been out for a long ride along the Flemish coast and gone into hypoglycemic horror then save a tiny bit of energy to open your front door and then rip into a packet of these and you’ll live to tell the tale. As well as put on weight.
If many of the Eurofoods are based on local and fresh products, these are resolutely mass-produced.
The biscuits are so popular that their largest manufacturer Lotus Bakeries of Lembeke near Ghent sells a derivative product in paste form sold in a glass jar. Described by Salon as “Europe’s version of peanut butter” this is less common but increasingly available. Lotus tried and failed to patent the product so you might find it in another form.
If you like peanut butter and Nutella and imagine a hint of spice – nicer than it sounds – then this could be for you.
This is part of a series on European foods with links to cycling or simply for fuel:
Part I: Nutella
Part II: Pâte de fruits
Part III: Stroopwafels
Part IV: Coffee
Part V: Frites
Part VI: Pasta
Part VII: French Bakeries
Part VIII: Water
Part IX: Sirop
Part X: Pharmaceuticals
Part XI: Summary
Part XII: Esta Thé
Part XIII: Grated carrots
Part XIV: Speculoos
Part XV: Belgian beer
Part XVI: Oman Coffee
Part XVI: Italian Ice-cream