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What is it with Americans and speculoos?

OK, let this much be clear: I am Belgian and grew up with speculoos. It's not that I don't know this biscuit or its spicy tastiness.

That said, I was recently on a Delta flight where people were positively batshit for the stuff. AND I see multiple threads reference the cookie and/or the spread.
This spice cookie has been around for ages and yet in the past couple of years, Americans have gone crazy and that crazy has reverberated in Belgium (I haven't ever bought the speculoos spread nor would I, but I tried the cote d'or speculoos bar and almost died from the sugar shock. I am also convinced that this bar would have never seen the light of day had it not been for the American obsession.

So... I know this is rough, but can someone explain how a modest spice cookie should have launched such madness?

Thanks!

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  1. and Nutella.

    i think because it's something new/unfamiliar?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Pata_Negra

      In all fairness to nutella, it's really good. It's not new to us, but we still love it. Won't go crazy over it, but the husband in particular enjoys it on his morning bread.

    2. I would second guess the newness. For years, the cookies were a pleasant highlight of the Delta flights but weren't really easily available elsewhere in the US. And no where was there mention of "these are a traditional cookie in Belgium". Then I think about 6 or so years ago, I had some friends buy them for me as a "feel better" gift - and it was a delightful surprise to see them no on an airplane. Now I see them all the time in the grocery store and never buy them.

      So I would just say that they are a delightful newcomer on the market that will eventually die down. I tried the spread the first time I saw it, and while it's tasty in a small quantity, I could never see the point in having a jar around regularly.

      8 Replies
      1. re: cresyd

        That what I was thinking as well. They used to be in-flight only, though you could buy a package via Skymall I believe (on Delta only, of course). Then they started showing up in stores, and the speculoos spread just started showing up about a year ago. The spread still is very much a novelty. I bought a jar back in December, and it was strange/cool to get cookie flavor with a peanut butter texture. I consumed the whole jar, but haven't purchase another.

        1. re: mpjmph

          I have to say, one thing about the spread was that while it was "tasty" eaten straight from the spoon, I never had a clue what else one would actually do with it. Not only is it pretty sweet - but because it "tastes like cookies", putting it on bread/toast seemed pointess. Adding it to something sweet seemed like overkill....so ultimately every now and then when I have a sugar/sweet craving I have a small spoonful and call it a day.

          If anything I would say the delay with the American market has been the name. Speculoos does not hit the American ear as "yummy food".

          1. re: cresyd

            The word "speculoos" hits my ear as Flemish slang for eyeglasses.

            Interestingly, I once had a Belgian beer that was made to taste EXACTLY like those cookies. And it really did! I can't remember the name of the beer, though. Something I would probably not buy again, but I was surprised at how exact the flavor was.

            1. re: Tripeler

              it (Anker Speculaas beer) was probably by brouwerij/brewery Het Anker. i remember having it on tap in Amsterdam sometime ago. remember to drink it last else all the beers after this one might taste strange.

              anyways, i much prefer Lebkuchen spice mix and not in my beer, please.

              1. re: Pata_Negra

                Yeah, I think it was Het Anker. Anyway, a great curiousity of a beer.
                But then, Belgium has SO MANY great beers.
                THese days De Dolle's "Dulle Teve" is one of my favorites.

                1. re: Tripeler

                  Had another Dulle Teve the other night, and it is still one of my favorite Belgian beers. Apparently, the name is slang for "Mad Bitch" and it says so on the label. However, on bottles exported to the U.S. the label says "Tripel" instead of Mad Bitch.

            2. re: cresyd

              great on waffles. great as ice cream flavor.

              1. re: cresyd

                it is uncomfortably close to the word for an implement used in... feminine medical care. :)
                once i get past that, it is tasty. reminds me of these (ha!) extinct cookies i loved as a kid called "dinograhams".

          2. It is so trendy now that Haagen-Dazs even has a limited-edition Spiced Caramel Biscuit flavor of ice cream, although it was really disappointing. It was mostly vanilla with speculoos/Biscoff cookie crumbs mixed in, but I was hoping for gooey swirls of the rich speculoos spread in the vanilla, which would have been better.

            I agree with everyone else -- the airplane cookies were a rare and delicious treat, now you can buy them anywhere, and the spread took a good thing and made it even better! Oddly enough, I love spoonfuls of the stuff, but my wife, who has a much bigger sweet tooth than I do and also loves peanut butter much more than I do, has no interest in speculoos spread.

            1. It's all over France and England, too -- ice cream, spread (smooth AND crunchy), candy, syrups to add to other things, etc., etc., etc., as well as a dozen or more different brands of the cookies.

              Given Cote d'Or's very small market share in the US, and it's rather significant market share in Europe, I'd be extremely hard-pressed to believe that the craze is US-driven.

              1 Reply
              1. re: sunshine842

                For some years, it's been almost a guarantee that a coffee in the UK, will come with a little speculoos biscuit. I think even the chains like Costa and Nero are doing it.

              2. The Delta Biscoff have been around for quite a while, but I've only in the past couple of years seen it sold in stores...though it of course could have been around in specialty markets longer. Wegman's (Rochester, NY-based supermarket) was the first place I saw it, and after that it "seemed" to have appeared in NYC-area stores. But since you say you're Belgian, would you rather see Americans (me included) obsessing over moule frites, or a certain statue's moniker making its rounds in Japan selling waffles? Or, maybe you've got connections with Jules Destrooper...

                1 Reply
                1. re: BuildingMyBento

                  and Lotus biscuits (they used the Lotus name, rather than Speculoos, for whatever reason) have been available at supermarkets in the US for years -- I was buying them in Florida 7-8 years ago at Publix, a main-line grocery store.

                2. I must have missed this trend, because when I saw the title of the thread, my first thought was, "What is 'speculoos'?" At least now I know. I am constantly amazed how much I learn on CH.

                  7 Replies
                  1. re: al b. darned

                    I'm glad I wasn't the only one who didn't know what speculoos were. I don't think this craze has hit Canada yet. Or if it did I was oblivious about it. Does make me want to try a to try it now. Anyone got a good recipe? ;)

                    1. re: Carole_beaudry

                      The cookies themselves are lovely, found in the Netherlands as well as nearby (northwestern) parts of Germany as well as Belgium. They are not overly sweet, and are very nice with tea or coffee. I'd never bothered making them, I buy them when in the Low Countries, and they aren't hard to find in Montréal.

                      1. re: lagatta

                        Yes, they are a yummy balance of not too sweet, a nice amount of spice, and butter. Yum!

                        Just back from Toronto where, much to my delight, they had $2 bags of them at Dollarama, imported from Germany and - lovely.

                        Why didn't I buy extra bags? : (

                        1. re: happybaker

                          I also found them at Dollarama. The German name is slightly different (even the Belgian and Netherlands Dutch names are too). They had been out of them, but I guess they got in a new shipment, so I'll look for them this coming week - it is too cold today.

                          I see no purpose in making them into a teeth-rotting-sweet spread. They are perfect with a cuppa, or a glass of bubbly wine.

                          1. re: happybaker

                            What!! They're at Dollarama? Will have to check it out!

                            1. re: rstuart

                              That was months ago - but I think it's a regular item. Good luck on your hunt!

                              1. re: happybaker

                                Still worth checking next time I am there.. thanks Happybaker!

                    2. Thanks, all, for your answers so far. Admittedly it seems that a few trends have collided.

                      There is the biscuit/cookie love, which was apparently born from the occasional treat with no other source (the Delta goodie), which finally found distribution in the U.S. The novelty excites.

                      There is the spread, which I never encountered growing up, but which may be part of a completely new development. I did enjoy nutella when at my grandmother's (clearly because only a grandparent could feel good about giving this to a child for breakfast-- not that tartines are really that much healthier).

                      And there is the thing that made me jump when I first saw it at the Del Haize: A specullos filled/dotted chocolate bar.

                      I agree with Sunshine that cote d'or is not that well known beyond Belgium (although it when growing up, it definitely dominated the supermarkets). I think something else is going on, though. I keep feeling like I'm seeing foodie culture (and American foodie culture) influence the business plans of companies in Europe. There has been an acceleration in offerings and one that seems to dovetail with American obsessions. For example, the gaufre liegois, served naked always-- just that in the hand, has in the past years turned into some kind of madness in which people get theirs topped with cream, ice cream, chocolate, etc. Other waffles, ok. but these were not the sorts to be embellished-- not in my youth, not in my experience. I really do feel like globalisation is influencing these local traditions. And I've never been the sort to wring my hands or clutch my pearls, but something definitely seems to have developed recently.

                      I'm just yammering, but I sincerely believe that the speculloos obsession and the outcomes are symptomatic of something much larger.

                      And now I sound paranoid... great.

                      Those saying the thing about moules frites? Those had their day, but were not exactly treated the same, possibly because this resulted in restaurant dishes and the usual experimentation in preparation.

                      And for belgian beers, one of the truly great things were al the U.S> based brewers who experimented with and built on the traditional Belgian styles. There, I saw something really great come out of the fetishisation. Maybe it's just that the speculoos thing really does seem tied to only a few companies (even if, as a spice biscuit, this hadn't been a proprietary product).

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Lizard

                        I think that, rather than the US driving things, the transfer time for trends has been reduced to almost nil with the internet. The US now sees trends popping up in Europe, and via Facebook and Twitter, and YouTube, it migrates almost instantly, and people want to see what the latest thing is about.

                        I know that fashions used to take 6-8 months to get from Europe to the US -- now the clothing on the racks in mall stores is virtually the same, virtually concurrently.

                        1. re: Lizard

                          Now have seen Speculoos ice cream in Paris as well as bits in a jar for sprinkling on stuff.

                        2. Oh my goodness! THIS American has never seen nor tasted a "Speculoo," so what is this madness you're talking about?

                          10 Replies
                          1. re: Caroline1

                            Oh I fairly recently made a journey to Trader Joe's in Las Vegas and found the Speculoo butter. I bought 2 jars and was in heaven till the last spoonful. The spread has the consistency of peanut butter but the taste is best described as very light sugary gingery. It would make an amazing cake frosting!

                            1. re: lusfolgena

                              It definitely does make a great frosting! There's a bakery near me that has a "graham speculoos" cupcake in their flavor rotation. Graham cracker flavored cake with speculoos frosting - brilliant! (of course I'm one of the many Americans who are just batty for the stuff!)

                            2. re: Caroline1

                              Never heard of it out here in the Midwest. Perhaps it is a Coast thing.

                              1. re: shaja

                                Caroline1 and shaja, speculoos is marketed in the U.S. as Biscoff cookies and spread. The Biscoff website has a list of places where you can buy it:

                                http://www.biscoff.com/where-to-buy/

                                1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                  The point of my post was simply to show the OP that not all Americans are obsessed with the dessert..

                                  1. re: Big Bad Voodoo Lou

                                    Thanks, but I'm not a big fan of "over the counter" cookies. I'm a scratch baker and spice cookies are a snap, ginger or otherwise! '-)

                                2. re: Caroline1

                                  Spicy cookies well-known in Belgium and Holland (where I think they're called Speculaas). In the US they are sold at Trader Joe's. Very fine with a cup of coffee.

                                  1. re: Querencia

                                    Aka 'Spekulatius' in Germany, where (as we all know) everyone speaks Latin :-D

                                    1. re: linguafood

                                      Lingua,
                                      That would be hauf-Latin -- right?

                                3. After reading raves on chowhound, I snatched up a package of Biscoff when I saw them around Christmas. My daughter and I thought they were ok but nothing special. We prefer Ginger snaps or hermits for spicy cookies.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: calliope_nh

                                    For someone who grew up experiencing mostly a steady decline in airline pampering, the Delta Biscoff snack is basically the only "oh flying is special" memory I have with flights and food. I may have liked them a bit more than the average bear (i see them as a cross between a ginger snap and snickerdoodle - both cookies I really enjoy) - but they were elevated due to the fact that I only ever saw them on the airplane.

                                    As Delta would give you one or two at the most - getting to sneak a third or heaven forbid a fourth was just the height of indulgence. Now that you can buy a giant package all for yourself and don't have to beg a flight attendant for a second one - meh. I'm sure there are people where the taste just isn't all that, but for those of us who enjoy the taste, I think the relationship with scarcity has definitely hyped our appreciation.

                                  2. I first heard of it on Throwdown w/ Bobby Flay and the Wafels and Dingel's food truck a few years ago. I'd wondered about it and it started appearing on the shelves. They're good--kind of a doctored up graham cracker and a more "adult" cookie than chocolate chip cookies. They kind of remind me of windmill cookies. The spread is overly sweet but might be good to bake or frost with. I prefer Nutella to it.

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: chowser

                                      I know of it from Wafels and Dinges - it is one of my favorite treats around! (The only thing that kept me from buying the jar is the fact that I'm pregnant, and there is no way I could have resisted eating the entire thing.) The taste is totally unique to what we have in other spreads. Moreover, I think we have fun with the name ;-)

                                      1. re: chowser

                                        Whoa, chowser, are you saying that it's sweeter than Nutella? Nutella, to me, is like pure sugar. Ugh. So I guess I won't try Speculoos spread!

                                        1. re: sandylc

                                          I've had the Trader Joe's cookie butter - and that variety is really quite sweet. As someone who thinks an awesome snack is a pretzle dipped into generic commercial vanila frosting - I even found it pretty sweet. However, recently someone gave me a locally made Belgian variety of the speculoos spread that was far less sweet and really enjoyable.

                                          1. re: sandylc

                                            Yes -- and European Nutella is a different creature, too.

                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                              Most of the nutella we get in South Asia is imported from Europe, although we've had the American variety as well. We prefer the European formula.

                                            2. re: sandylc

                                              Yes, too sweet for me. Nutella has nuts, even if it's minimal to cut the sweetness. This is essentially like cookie frosting.

                                          2. Firstly, it's something different from Chips Ahoy, Oreo cookies, etc. Secondly, the quality of the product itself - these cookies are rather sweet, but compared to the common cookie in the US, they have a better flavor. I used to like Biscoff, but not anymore due to their high sugar content. I'm a Maria cookie fan.

                                            I can walk by a supermarket till and not be drawn to the chocolates, gums, etc. I could even walk down the junk food aisle and not even get moved by it. However, if I'm walking down the junk food aisle at World Market or in the cookie aisle at certain Asian markets, my shopping cart would have more than enough junk food to feed a family of 4 for a month.

                                            Simply put, American-made sweets do not appeal to me because they have an insanely high level of sugar compared to their foreign counterparts. Most of the time, I don't taste the flavor of the item, just sugar.

                                            1. Just this afternoon I saw a recipe book in the grocery here in France -- 50 Favorite Recipes with Speculoos, and a smaller one with recipes using the spread. (in French, of course)

                                              It's not just America. The whole world is speculoos-goofy right now.

                                              1. I confess that I had never heard of them before reading this post.

                                                Maybe I'm not a very good American.

                                                1. I bought speculoos cookies yesterday and plan to sandwich 2 with a layer of the Biscoff spread in the middle. Then lie down in a sugar overdose.

                                                  1. I think the hype stems from the term "cookie butter" which has a real novelty to it...I bought a jar and did find it to be kind of a one trick pony. There were two uses for it that I really enjoyed but as far as using it as a spread, it's a bit too sweet and the texture when melted is too heavy, I prefer other things on my waffles, toast etc.

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: olyolyy

                                                      Yeah, I always joke that it's a way to turn breakfast into dessert.

                                                      1. re: olyolyy

                                                        The term "cookie butter" is entirely too suggestive of "cookie dough" and the popularity of that really surprises me.

                                                        1. I grew up with the cookies (Mons) and missed them here in the U.S, so I was so thrilled to get some on a flight to California. I will now have to hunt down the Cote d'Or bar! My regular lunch was a bar of Desert 58 (once I stopped eating in the cafeteria). I love that Speculoos spread is everywhere, but I still can't find the cookies.

                                                          2 Replies
                                                          1. re: costumegal

                                                            they're called Biscoff here in the US - might make them easier to find!

                                                            No idea why Lotus uses a different brand in the US....

                                                            1. 20+ years ago I was on a flight on Air New Zealand and was served these little wrapped cookies....seemed so innocent and had no idea that moment, was the start of my addiction to these things of beauty.

                                                              Biscoff spread jar lasts about a week and there is nothing like a couple of soup spoon dips to make the world a better place.

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                I posted this on a similar thread a week or so ago. My granddaughter had run in a 1/2 marathon and a jar of the crunchy was in her "goody bag" that the organizers had handed out to the participants. I was hooked with the first spoonful. I made a loaf of oatmeal bread just so I could put this stuff on a couple of toasted slices. Why do we like it so much? Why else? Because it's so freakin' good! Here's a photo.

                                                                 
                                                                1. re: grampart

                                                                  I responded to your first post and mentioned that you missed a spot on the lower left corner....hee hee
                                                                  Bet that was fantastic on freshly made oatmeal bread...solid

                                                                  Love that you are a 'spoonful' kind of guy!
                                                                  ;^)

                                                                  1. re: Beach Chick

                                                                    I'm most definitely a "spoonful" kind of guy! My man Wolf could have been singing about Biscoff spread.
                                                                    http://m.youtube.com/#/watch?v=3LFjHo...

                                                                    p.s. subsequent slices of toast were completely covered. ;-)

                                                                    1. re: grampart

                                                                      Solid on Wolf...as as drummer that plays the blues, this will definitely be added to the iPod playlist.

                                                                      Glad to hear that subsequent slices were completely covered!
                                                                      ;^)

                                                                1. it started with Nutella becoming popular, which was in turn started by some TV ads they put up in America. Americans like peanut butter, so it was a natural attraction.

                                                                  This opened the door to other foreign oil-based, sweet spreads. Hence, speculoos.

                                                                  Certain people's taste (mine included) respond strongly to flavors in liquid oils in particular. I don't get what the obsession with cake by itself is - for me it may as well be bread, but apparently some people love it. But the frosting/whipped cream, that's a whole nother story, or also I LOVE MELTED chocolate, and any sweetened nut butter.
                                                                  So that part of the population loves stuff like nutella, biscoff, etc.
                                                                  There'll be another explosion once some smart food corp starts treating hazelnut and almond and macadamia nut butter like peanut butter and replaces some of the oil with shortening (for stability) and sweetens it. Actually, that's kind of already happened with various nut companies, like Justin's nut butters

                                                                  6 Replies
                                                                  1. re: peanuttree

                                                                    Naaah. Europeans LOVE their Nutella, but could give a hoot about peanut butter for the most part (there are a few pockets of peanut butter love, but it's not the norm)

                                                                    By your logic, Europe should love peanut butter, too.

                                                                    Biscoff/Lotus spread just appeared in Europe about 3 years ago -- so it's not exactly a time-honored tradition there, either.

                                                                    1. re: sunshine842

                                                                      I tried Nutella ONCE. It was tooth-achingly sweet! Out of curiosity, I looked up the sugar content of 2 T. each of Nutella, Skippy Natural Peanut Butter, and Biscoff Spread.

                                                                      Nutella: 21 grams
                                                                      Skippy: 3 grams
                                                                      Biscoff: 10 grams

                                                                      Not that they are interchangable; it is just interesting.

                                                                      1. re: sandylc

                                                                        the formula for Nutella changes by country. It's not as horridly sweet in Europe.

                                                                        1. re: sunshine842

                                                                          Nutritional information by country:

                                                                          US 1.76 grams of sugar per serving gram
                                                                          AU 1.83 grams of sugar per serving gram
                                                                          UK 1.76 grams of sugar per serving gram
                                                                          IT 1.81 grams of sugar per serving gram

                                                                          That sort of debunks the idea that US Nutella is "horridly sweet" & other versions are not.

                                                                          LoL

                                                                          1. re: JayL

                                                                            Note that all I said was that the formula changes by country - which your post would support.

                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                              No...you actually typed "It's not as horridly sweet in Europe."

                                                                              The formula does change...

                                                                  2. Apparently this spread has reached the .99 Stores because my sister in law called all excited about finding the Biscoff brand there...then proceeded to ask me how to use it.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: HillJ

                                                                      I've bought a couple of jars of crunchy Biscoff spread at Grocery Outlet. I've also found the cookies there or Big Lots.

                                                                    2. I get them from Trader Joe's. Personally I love them because they are crispy and light and have great flavor. And not too sweet. I really have to stop myself from eating the entire box at one sitting.

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. I would suggest that your observation that "Americans have gone crazy" over speculoos is a bit over-the-top. Most of my American friends have never tasted or even heard of the "stuff". I have had the spread and the cookie, neither of which I care in the least. The answer to your question regarding "Americans and speculoos" would be; it is nothing perhaps random individual taste and curiosity at best.

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: Edwardrae

                                                                          I would suggest that the same could have been said of Nutella when that product first came on the scene. Now there are knockoffs and recipes to make your own widely avail.

                                                                          The Biscoff cookie has been around quite a bit longer than the spread. I have a copy of the Biscoff catalog when the spread first debut for their customers (2009) and wasn't avail on shelves right away...and already there are knockoffs.

                                                                          I took the "Americans have gone crazy" remark as a general statement that the spread has "arrived" on the food scene in a less limited way.

                                                                          First time I had Nutella was in Germany. First time I had a Biscoff product was on a plane.

                                                                        2. For the cookie itself, I'd say because it has a lovely balance of spice, butter, and is not too sweet.

                                                                          1. Just bought a jar of the beloved Biscoff spread and I have a little espresso spoon (psychologically helps on the small spoon ) to take and load up that bad boy and devour a couple of spoonfuls.

                                                                            I frigging dig that sh°t. .

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. Actually American admire and love anything European and many times Europeans feel the same about things in America. If you ask probalby 8 out of time 10 would also exchange the places that they live. Ironic and laughable but admirable.

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: Minnaloushe

                                                                                Indeed. In this part of Europe, we have fallen in love with American fast food over the last 30 years. We cannot get enough of McD and BK burgers - which is why we now have rapidly rising numbers of Type 2 diabetics and an obesity crisis that is likely to overwhelm our health system.

                                                                              2. >>> I am also convinced that this bar would have never seen the light of day had it not been for the American obsession.<<<

                                                                                I am an American (USA in specific) and have never heard of speculoos. I do enjoy reading about myths though that you propose.

                                                                                6 Replies
                                                                                1. re: Fowler

                                                                                  Cote d'Or is a BELGIAN chocolate company, and while Cote d'Or can be bought in the US, it certainly isn't as widely available in the US as it is in Europe, where it's considered grocery-store chocolate, like Hershey's in its market positioning (that is NOT a comparison of taste...I'll take Cote d'Or any day of the week over Hershey's)

                                                                                  It makes no sense whatsoever that they'd make a specific product just for the US market, when their US market penetration is less than in Europe..

                                                                                  At the time this OP was made, by the way, Europe was speculoos paste crazy, and it hadn't even found its way to the US yet.

                                                                                  1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                    Hi Sunshine842, would you please edit your response (RE: Fowler) so it correctly reflects that you are not replying to anything I said or claimed?

                                                                                    Thank you!

                                                                                    1. re: Fowler

                                                                                      that's not something that users can do...

                                                                                      as in the other thread, I was adding to what you said, so I hit 'reply' because I wanted my comments to show up below yours.

                                                                                      the Re: notification is triggered, then, by the system because I clicked on the "reply" button in your comment to put it into the right order on the page....and I was agreeing with your implication that no, Cote d'Or really didn't make that particular bar for the US market.

                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                        Ah, thanks for the explanation, sunshine. I think that first of the season initial blast of sun and warm weather must have dulled my already b-vitamin starved brain over the weekend. We badgers need to adjust to these seasonal changes. :-)

                                                                                    2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                      Not clear if you're responding to me, Sunshine, but I am certainly aware that Cote D'Or is a Belgian company (as I might given the info in the OP). I was probably clumsy, however, in my noting the bit about the bar: In the past ten or so years, I have seen a rapid escalation in types of mixes/ mix-ins with this brand. It could be a result of trying to keep up with the inventive chocolatiers on the scene, but I do think that American foodie obsessions have been creating their own kind of demand (and that may not be a bad thing). But this was nothing I saw as I child or growing up.
                                                                                      Meanwhile, I can understand why people enjoy this spice biscuit, but the ways in which this item seemed to be coveted or sought out was surprising to me, and that is why I posted.

                                                                                      1. re: Lizard

                                                                                        I'd put it with trying to keep up with the other producers in the market -- e.g., the dozens of varieties produced by Lindt fill a half a grocery aisle and are enough to make one's head spin.

                                                                                        While I'm certain that there are more than enough sickly-sweet junk-food trends coming from the US to Europe to keep everyone's teeth aching, I'm just not buying that this is one of them.

                                                                                  2. I just recently enjoyed a couple packages on a flight- now I know what the heck I was swooning over!

                                                                                    I actually saved a package to see if I could find out where to get/order them from.
                                                                                    Now that I know what the heck they are, I'll just make them.

                                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                                    1. re: monavano

                                                                                      Once I made them I was totally over it!
                                                                                      I'm surprised people are comparing them to Nutella. I grew up (in Toronto) 30ish years ago on Nutella as an occasional treat, beloved but not exotic.

                                                                                      1. re: monavano

                                                                                        I tried it for the first time as a sample, too, and really liked them. They have nice spice to them w/out being overly sweet. They're something I'd be happy to have one or two of and be satisfied.

                                                                                        1. re: chowser

                                                                                          Me too- I thought "wow, perfect with tea or coffee, or a nice offering to guests".

                                                                                          I know it's been around, but it's new to me.

                                                                                          I found them on Amazon and the price is not bad at all.
                                                                                          Prime shipping, too ;-)

                                                                                      2. I think Trader Joe's is partly responsible for this madness you write of. TJ's launched the 2 buck chuck craze of really mediocre wine that sells like crazy. I also notice Americans enjoy food items that resembles peanut butter that can be spread on sliced bread. But somehow, sunflower seed butter hasn't caught on perhaps bc it's not sweet like speculoos. anyway, my cookie butter theory.

                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: trolley

                                                                                          You are surprised that mediocre (but drinkable) $2 wine sells like crazy?

                                                                                          1. re: trolley

                                                                                            I'd say the reverse--that speculoos became popular so TJ's made a spread of them. Because if someone has never heard of speculoos, what would make them pick up a jar of it vs all the other spreadable toppings that TJ's carries?

                                                                                            1. re: chowser

                                                                                              I first heard of speculoos watching Chopped.
                                                                                              It wasn't on my radar again until I had those biscuits on a plane, and then I read it here, and I think I must get me some.

                                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                                I had it well over a decade ago in California. Or that's my first memory of it. They were passing out free samples on Fishermans Wharf.

                                                                                              2. re: chowser

                                                                                                nope -- Speculoos are a European cookie. Dutch children have, for years, been eating sandwiches made with speculoos cookies and butter (I know...right?)

                                                                                                Speculoos paste was created a few years ago by a Dutch lady (I think I'm right on the nationality) who dreamed up a way to make it ready-made, and she won a European equivalent of Shark Tank.

                                                                                                Not American in origin at all.

                                                                                                1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                                  I'm speaking for the US popularity since that's the OP question. The cookies became popular here first, hence the spread. It wasn't TJ's spread that caused the popularity of the cookie, as trolley hypothesized.

                                                                                            2. In my Googling around to find info on speculoos and those Biscoff biscuits I enjoyed, I found this and wanted to share-

                                                                                              http://aglobetrottersfare.blogspot.co...

                                                                                              I think I'll be making this just as soon as I can.

                                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                                              1. re: monavano

                                                                                                Biscoff is the name under which Lotus sells speculoos in the US.

                                                                                              2. Very much enjoy the cookie, which is a ubiquitous treat with coffee at any Amsterdam café.

                                                                                                OTOH, cannot fathom smearing that sugary mass known as "cookie butter" on bread (or anything, for that matter).

                                                                                                There's a fab gelato place in Berlin that has a speculoos flavor. Not bad. Not bad at all.

                                                                                                9 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                  It's not even the sugar that bugs me (well, I do like my sugar). It's the oil base.

                                                                                                  1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                    I just find it disgusting and don't need to know what's in it.

                                                                                                    1. re: julesrules

                                                                                                      I feel the same way about Nutella, to tell you the truth. The ingredients kind of gross me out.

                                                                                                      1. re: roxlet

                                                                                                        Me, too. I don't need to spread oily sugar on all of my toast and bread.

                                                                                                    2. re: linguafood

                                                                                                      I haven't tried cookie butter.
                                                                                                      I can't imagine eating it out of the jar- but perhaps baking with it.

                                                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                                                        Pretty much ubiquitous with coffee in the UK these days.

                                                                                                        1. re: Harters

                                                                                                          Hey, Harters,

                                                                                                          A visiting Brit scolded me for ordering tea with my dessert at dinner in a nice restaurant.

                                                                                                          He said that it just isn't done.

                                                                                                          I wanted tea. I didn't think that the English owned rights to determining when it can be consumed.

                                                                                                          I shrugged it off; he was my husband's boss at the time.

                                                                                                          Your thoughts?

                                                                                                          1. re: sandylc

                                                                                                            I experienced the opposite side of the coin when we last visited America. It is European custom to drink coffee (or tea) after the dessert and the server will return when folk had finished eating to take orders.

                                                                                                            It had not occured to me that Americans drink it with dessert and, that as we hadnt ordered it then, the server assumed we didnt want it and just brought the bill. Happened several times and, until it was explained to me on another post, I'd just assumed this was poor service and I was obliging the server to re-do the bill when we did order coffee.

                                                                                                            "Just isnt done" suggests a social faux pas which, like you, I wouldnt be phased about. But "just isnt done" as a fact - in that folk don't do it, is absolutely correct.

                                                                                                            1. re: Harters

                                                                                                              Thanks. Different customs...

                                                                                                              This guy was an arrogant ass.

                                                                                                              Not at all representative of the rest of your population, I'm sure!

                                                                                                      2. I have traveled for work for the past few years and the only thing enjoyable about flying with Delta is receiving a pack of Biscoff cookies, which I then dunk into the horrid Delta coffee. The combination is magical and I am not proud. Fast forward to last year when my sister in law was raving about the speculoos spread from Trader Joe's.She cracked open a jar and I asked "Why is TJ's selling Delta cookies in spreadable form?".

                                                                                                        1. It's like this: a fairy tale can have existed for hundreds of years and nobody thinks of it very often. Then Disney makes a movie of it and suddenly everything from children's pajamas to bed sheets to breakfast cereal appears bearing the image of some character in that fairy tale. TV specials are made. Games are sold. Special sections of the Sunday paper are devoted to it. In short, the MARKETING industry suddenly puts the item in everyone's face. Speculoos/speculaas have been around for centuries. They will still be here after the fad has blown over.

                                                                                                          1. It's partly the caramelized sugar in the cookies. My mother used to make an icing for cakes called "Burnt Sugar Frosting". The sugar wasn't really burnt, but it caramelized prior to incorporating it into the rest of the ingredients. When I first tasted speculoos, it reminded me of that frosting. My mom thought the same thing. That cake frosting is relatively rare in the US. The only time I've ever had it was when my mom made it homemade. The flavor of caramelized sugar is not the same as caramel candy, so many Americans haven't tasted it, especially not with any type of spices.

                                                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                                                            1. re: the_bohemian

                                                                                                              Thanks. That's a great explanation for why I (and apparently many other Americans) thought the taste just a bit different- in a really good way.
                                                                                                              That icing sounds really good. I think I'll Google around to find out more.