Little Belgians is an artisanal cookie company in Benicia, California, founded in 2014 by Evy Ballegeer. Evy started baking speculoos out of nostalgia for the many precious moments she spent with her family and friends over coffee and a koekske in her native Belgium.
She now bakes her cookies in her bakery in Benicia, California and sells them to gourmet retailers and partners like Hudson Daniel!
Speculoos [speky’lo:s] is arguably the most popular cookie in native Belgium. Order a hot drink just about anywhere and chances are you’ll get a speculoos on the side. The crunchy treat gets its distinctive taste from a blend of spices that varies from baker to baker; Little Belgians mix combines nine spices that include cinnamon, cloves, pepper and cardamom.
The name speculoos derives from speculum, Latin for mirror: each speculoos is the mirror image of the mold it’s made with. In 17th- to 19th-century Europe, bakers would commission a carver to create a wooden cookie board with images that reflected popular trends of the day. Little Belgians custom designs are inspired by Evy’s childhood memories.
The umbrella takes her back to the (many, many, many) rainy afternoons when aunts and uncles would come over and the kids got their first taste of coffee by dipping speculoos in their cups. In the spring these gatherings were quite eventful as they would all gather around the TV set to watch the classic cycle races. The day of the Tour of Flanders especially felt like a holiday and inspired the Little Belgians bike racer cookie.
The bird refers to another Belgian national sport: pigeon racing. Most men of their grandfathers’ generation were pigeon fanciers who spent many hours tending to their pigeon lofts to get the birds ready for the next big race (and to get away from grandma).
The final shape is a house in Evy's favorite Belgian city, Ghent. If you ever get a chance to visit, take a walk along the Graslei and you’ll see the inspiration behind the design.
Little Belgians cookies are made with all organic ingredients and they do not use any preservatives. Be sure to store your cookies covered in a cool, dry place away from direct sun.