In most areas of Flanders, we are familiar with a speculaas that is a thin, crunchy and spicy biscuit. But not so in Hasselt; the Hasselt ‘spek-lââs’ there is fairly thick and can be described as a ‘chunk’. This affects its flavour, which is less spicy, as well as its structure, which has a soft dough under its crunchy outer layer. Definitely try this delicious regional product when you visit Hasselt!
History of the speculaas
- This Hasselt treat was baked at the end of the 14th century. According to ancient tradition, people would drink a well-cooled jenever (drèpke) with the speculaas.
- At the start of the 19th century the baker Lieben introduced the ‘Spéculation de Hasselt’. Afterwards the patisserie Deplée (1832–1919) ensured that it was spread and became well known. The ‘spéculation’ (speculaas with almonds and spices) was baked not only for Hasselt and the surrounding areas, but was also transported to Brussels and in particular Liege.
- Until before 1940 the speculaas was only baked around the Sinterklaas period.
- After the Second World War its consumption increased to such an extent that it was sold the whole year through.