Wednesday 15th July 2015
Who’s For Dinner with Steven Dotsch interview by Jill for Gourmandize.com
Steven Dotsch is the Founder of The Speculaas Spice Company which is based in Highgate, north London.
The spice mix is based on his Dutch grandmother’s sweet tasting spice mix.
He also introduced speculaas biscuit dedicated wooden moulds that help home bakers around the world make authentic looking Dutch biscuits.
The Speculaas Spice recipe section include contributions from both Steven and his family, as well as food bloggers, bakers, chefs and two Great British Bake Off finalists.
HELLO STEVEN, SO TELL US...
The vandotsch speculaas spice mix is being offered in a 60ml glass jar and 25 grams ‘pack, for instance in our online shop, Here.
The intention of our recipe section is to make cooks, home bakers and chefs aware of the versatility and uniqueness of our new, definitive sweet tasting spice mix, for use in both sweet as well as savoury dishes.
The recipe section is a window for new users of our spice mix to use the spice mix and either experiment in their own dishes or, to use the spice mix with the recipes mentioned.
As we build visibility and as our fan base grows we hope to distribute our high-quality organic sweet tasting spice mix to a small number of high quality speciality food stores.
In my wildest dreams, I hope, you will be able to purchase the vandotsch speculaas spice mix in such shops as Fortnum & Mason, Selfridge’s, Harrods and Harvey Nichols.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO PERFECT YOUR SPICE MIX, AND WHAT OBSTACLES DID YOU HAVE TO OVERCOME ALONG THE WAY?
Approximately two years ago my father re-discovered his mothers’ spice mix recipe in some old papers and asked me whether he should throw it away or whether I wanted to keep it as a memento. I decided to keep it.
The inspiration to set up The Speculaas Spice Company came with the realisation that I really missed the evocative experience of fresh speculaas biscuits – a smell to die for and a taste that is addictive! Later in 2013, I wondered if I could make speculaas biscuits myself, based on my grandmother's speculaas spice mix recipe, and in some way improve on it.
After several months and numerous tasting sessions, I finally succeeded in creating the biscuits that evoked all the memories from my childhood.
I soon realised that having succeeded in making the vandotsch speculaas spice infused biscuits I now had a ‘delivery’ mechanism for people to taste our sweet tasting spice mix – as well as being able to try our spice mix in their own cooking.
The next challenge was to find an audience that would taste my biscuits and buy the spice mix. Living in Highgate since 1999, an affluent area in north-London, I have always found it amazing that there wasn’t a local place where people interested in food could congregate and buy fine foods.
So, I organised the Highgate Fine Foods Fair which took place on May 5th 2014, at Lauderdale House where before the end of the day I sold out all of my biscuits and almost all of my jars and bags of vandotsch speculaas spice mix. The intention is to make it into a regular event.
WHAT IS YOUR SECRET WEAPON IN THE KITCHEN?
Me – The Speculaas Spice Master Chef!
My grandmother’s recipe clearly sets out which spices to include in our spice mix as well as their quantities. Of course 75+ years ago nobody had heard of ‘organic’ foods, so the challenge for me was to source certified high quality organic spices in the UK in order to make the spice mix according to the recipe.
My love for speculaas biscuits began at a young age when growing up in Amsterdam. In those days we were given home baked speculaas biscuits 'sandwiched' in butter creamed sandwiches to eat at school, at break-time.
Obviously chefs that have discovered speculaas spice such as Ottolenghi, Den Lepard and Indian-British fusion chef Manju Mahli and use it in their cooking and baking.
Some people seem to have a dislike of cloves, even in our spice mix. But I wouldn’t regard that as a ‘flop’ rather that everybody has different taste buds and therefore will discover different taste combinations when using our spice mix.
The vandotsch speculaas spice mix consists of a perfectly-balanced mixture of nine organic spices including real, high grade, cinnamon from Sri Lanka, cloves, ginger and six other spices in order to give our spice mix that unique kick.
Why not try the vandotsch speculaas spice mix with this simple biscuit recipe! It's a great introduction to the versatility of our spice mix.
The vandotsch speculaas spice mix of nine organic spices delivers deliciously warm, sweet and spicy ‘layers’ of taste taking any simple cinnamon taste to another level. Why not try it yourself?
Our definitive sweet tasting spice mix can be used in most recipes where regular cinnamon (cassia!) is used as a main flavouring ingredient both in sweet as well as savoury dishes.
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