Read all about our Belgian Box!
A country famous for its chocolate, it’s not a far reach to say that other sweet treats are equally as delicious. A real mix of biscuits in this month’s box should certainly have your mouth watering.
Speculoos are thin, crunchy, caramelised biscuits traditionally baked to celebrate St. Nicholas’ day in Belgium. Similar to our Christmas stocking in the UK, the lightly spiced speculoos are traditionally placed into children’s shoes left at the bottom of their beds on the 6th of December before St. Nicholas’ day. The name “speculoos” is believed to have derived from the Latin word “speculum” meaning mirror – as the moulds used to create the intricate patterns on top is mirrored onto the cookie.
Cent wafers are well known and very popular in Belgium. Originating with a man named Edward Parein, an importer of flour and grain in 1890, these wafers were created after the purchase of a struggling business to help make use of his imports. The business continued to grow following a merger and grew in popularity as a common teatime treat. Light and crunchy, with a smooth hazelnut filling – it’s not hard to see why!
You’ll find these Prince biscuits in many different households. Although extremely popular in France, these biscuits have a Belgian hailing: the Prince biscuit was created in Antwerp in honour of Leopold II nicknamed “the Prince of Belgium” in order to provide him with a chocolatey treat that would not melt in his hands. With marketing of the biscuit around 80 years after creation, these biscuits grew in popularity throughout Europe.
Haust Toast ‘n’ Chips
This is a hard, dry biscuit or a twice-baked bread which historically was baked in this way to reduce moisture and risk of mould, allowing it to last longer when travelling. Traditionally called beschuit, also known as Dutch crispbakes, they are light, round, crumbly rusks. It is customary to serve beschuit met muisjes (sprinkled with “little mice”) which are anise seeds covered in white, pink or blue sugar at the birth of a baby. Beschuiten are also eaten as a breakfast food with a variety of toppings, most commonly butter. This modern take on them comes in a garlic flavour, and would go fantastically with cream cheese.
While the first written mention of the ‘Brussels waffle’ dates back to 1874, it’s pretty safe to say that the doughy treat has been around a lot longer than that. The word ‘waffle’ pops up in Brussels literature as early as 1604, and in a Dutch caricature about the Belgian independence in 1830, Willem I’s throne has a picture of a waffle on it next to two types of Brussels’ beer. Truly popularised during the 19th Century, their appeal grew following Expo 58, encouraging worldwide appeal. Often adorned with fresh fruit and cream, you can taste them here with some famous Belgian chocolate.
During the 17th century and while still under the control of the Spanish, who had explorers travelling around South America (home of the cocoa bean), Belgium first began producing its now famous chocolate.Chocolate was initially a luxury, reserved only for the wealthy. It was first used primarily for hot chocolate, designed to impress visitors and nobility. When Belgium colonised the Congo, they stepped up their chocolate-making game. It was here that they discovered a huge number of cocoa beans. Their ruler King Leopold III quickly took advantage of this, and Belgium became the main trader of cocoa and chocolate. Today chocolate is a major contributor to the nation’s economy and with over 2,000 chocolatiers in the country, many different variations are now produced.