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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.