Journal

Visit to Maison Dandoy: the speculoos factory

Today we visited the famous biscuit factory; Maison Dandoy! They make a traditional biscuit called Speculoos using a simple recipe that has been passed down through generations and hasn’t changed.

Before we got to go into the food production area, we had to suit up!

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We were given a guided tour of every step of the production line and every part of the factory. We got to try rolling out dough to make a Greek bread, as you can see the professionals doing in this video.

That’s a big table covered in sugar ‘pearls’. Sugar is a key ingredient in pretty much everything they make. Combined with the spices that go into traditional speculoos, you can imagine the sublime smell inside the factory!

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It’s difficult to see the scale from the below picture, but this mixer was as tall (if not, taller) than me! The colour of the mix comes from the dark sugar used to make it.

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The chefs demonstrated to us how they’re able to mould the biscuits by hand in these beautiful hand-carved wooden moulds. It looked very difficult to do as they push the biscuit mix into every part of the mould and then have to get it out again in one go. It was really amazing to watch, I kept thinking it had gone wrong on the chef and was stuck! They know what they’re doing though and clearly have a lot of experience. At Maison Dandoy they make biscuits as large as 4kg, and mostly in the shape of Saint Nicholas!

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The end of the production line looks like this; neatly packaged and labelled speculoos ready to be sold.

 

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We each were given a little Saint Nicholas souvenir to take home. I felt like a child with a party bag! There was a funny moment during our visit to the factory when one of the women working there asked Eva what age we were. I think she may have thought we were a class of teenagers!

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When we tell people that we’re a food design class, they kind of nod politely as if they know what we mean by that. Most people (me included, up until two months ago) don’t know what Food Design refers to. It could be anything, in fairness!

 

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