Speculaaskruiden – Speculaas spices – Speculaaskryddor – WHB # 366 (en)


The wonderful thing in living in a small village as Bardolino, is that you know almost everybody.
Well, of course, living here only since 30years I’m still considered a foreigner, but it doesn’t matter, I feel at home in this little angle of paradise.

So, I went to the town hall, asking a favor.
I’m turning 50 this year and so does also other 133 people living in Bardolino and born in 1963.
Together with a dear friend we are organizing a birthday party.
(it is her idea, and she asked me to help her :-D)
Marta asked me to help her find these people and also the 1963-born ones in Lazise, she will search for the Peschiera and Garda ones.

Garda Insanity Run 2013

In Italy a privacy law prohibits that your address is given to third parts. So there I was, with Marco (the guy working in the civil registry) saying…NOOOOOO, Briiii…absolutely NOOOO!
I looked at him with sad eyes and said, can you imagine how disappointed these people will be missing the Party of the year?
So, he sighed and went to the computer and gave me the list of names.
No addresses, no genders, no phone numbers. Just a long list of names.
I was so happy.

This list was closed in envelope, with Marta’s name on it and left in a secret place. (I did sooo feel like Tom Cruise in MIssion Impossibile! :-D)

Leaving the town hall, I strolled down to the harbor. The town hall of Bardolino is in front of the lake, the harbor. It has a magnificent view.
Bardolino harbor

sailing boats in the harbor (bardolino)

The building is not beautiful as the City hall of Riva f.ex made in 1370.
Tower of Palazzo Pretorio

While looking at the water, the boats, the people walking I hear somebody calling my name.

harbor of bardolino 27 jan 2011

It was Ernesto, who have worked in the civil registry for 40years (we had a lot of discussions during the years).
He looked very good, serene, happy, peaceful.
I asked him why, and he told me that after have worked for half a lifetime, he wanted to do something different.
So he took his wife and made the walk of Santiago de Compostela .
Oooh, I listen to him absorbing every single word.
This walk is on my wish list, together with the one crossing the alps from south to north and from east to est.
Actually we talked a lot about doing this walk, Simoo, Monica and I.
At this moment in our life it is very difficult leaving our families for the month (or more) it takes to walk all the 800km (1200km if you go all the way to Finisterre and back to Santiago), so we are talking about doing it in parts.
Ernesto, seeing my enthusiasm, my curiosity, my interests invited us to come visit him where the Alpine organization meets.
He is a former Alpine, they are a military branch and Ernesto used to tell me about the First World War and all stories about soldiers and ordinary people.

Well, what I wanted to say, is that this walk really enriches you.
People come back, looking and feeling like new people.
Perhaps even better people. I really didn’t recognize Ernesto at once, he looked so peaceful, serene and unwind. And he was smiling! During all those years battling in the town hall he rarely smiled.
Actually we had a special feeling also during those years, even if he was crusty and severe. After every discussion we used to step outside, drink some coffee (he offered me from the automatic machine) and he told my old stories about Bardolino or the war.

It is wonderful living in a little place, knowing (almost) everybody, listing to old stories, feeling part of the continuity of time, things and people.
Feeling that you belong. 🙂

The perfume of this mixture takes you far away and a long time ago.
It is used to make Spekulaas or Speculoos, tipical dutch cookies.
But it is also perfect to add to mashed apples like applemoes

Speculaaskruiden – Speculaas spices – Speculaaskryddor
I found the recipe on About.com – Dutch food

you need:


4 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground mace
1/3 tsp ground ginger
1/5 tsp ground white pepper (a pinch)
1/5 tsp ground cardamom (a pinch)
1/5 tsp ground coriander seeds (a pinch)
1/5 tsp ground anise seeds (a pinch)
1/5 tsp grated nutmeg (a pinch)

If you have whole spices then grind otherwise just mix together.
Obviously my mix is not exactly like this, I didn’t really add exactly the measure indicated 🙂


I have a special place where I keep my spices, and you? 🙂

la cassapanca delle spezie - spice settle

la cassapanca delle spezie - spice settle

This goes to Haalo from ,Cook (almost) anything at least once
hosting this week’s WHB.


Thanks to, Kalyn di Kalyn’s Kitchen for this lovely idea and
Haalo,Cook (almost) anything at least once for managing successfully this event.
And also for giving me the opportunity to manage the Italian Version of WHB.

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