BEYOND NUTELLA: Three sweet spreads
Fancy some alternatives to your usual toast and Nutella breakfast? Nutella is a classic, but we decided to expand our horizons with some delicious spreads from all over the world. Here are three sweet spreads that could be your next reasons to wake up for that early morning class.
Ovomaltine Crunchy Cream
Ovomaltine—also known as Ovaltine—is a brand of milk created in Berne, Switzerland in the early 20th century. The name actually signifies both “ovum” (egg) and “malt,” which are two of the mix’s main ingredients. The brand is perhaps best known for its chocolate malt powder mix, which consists of the regular malt extract, milk, and eggs, with the addition of cocoa. Today, Ovomaltine’s products could be found in over 50 countries, and range from the traditional malt milk mixes to ice creams and, of course, the Crunchy Cream spread.
The spread is very rich in chocolate, smooth, and delighful in its own right. It may be tempting to associate Crunchy Cream with the good ol’ Nutella, but the two are different: while Nutella has a smooth consistency, Crunchy Cream consists of Ovomaltine mix’s granules—making its texture rather crunchy. Ingredient-wise, the Crunchy Cream consists of 33% Ovomaltine mix, which supposedly provides 11 kinds of vitamins and minerals.
Speculoos is a type of spiced, crispy thin cookie that originated in the Netherlands and Belgium. Made from flour, butter, brown sugar, and various spices—cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, among others—the cookies were traditionally baked for Sinterklaas, a traditional winter holiday celebrated by the Dutch and Belgians. An alternative name for Speculoos is Biscoff spread, named after the most widely known manufacturer of Speculoos cookies.
The transformation of Speculoos cookies into the much-loved caramelized spread took place in 2007. The spread resembles creamy peanut butter in its texture and light brown color, but it is much sweeter in flavor and nut-free. Furthermore, the spread is vegan-friendly and would definitely make a delicious addition to any meal. As a fan of the spread, I have smothered it on pretty much every type of bread I have in hand. Without it, I might have starved through Hurricane Sandy! Still, Speculoos does not replace every spread out there: for example, Speculoos and jelly sandwiches don’t quite cut it.
Speculoos can be found in Boston’s specialty supermarkets such as Trader Joe’s, under the name Cookie Butter.
Kaya (also known Srikaya)
A popular coconut egg spread in Southeast Asia, the word kaya comes from an Indonesian and Malay word meaning “rich.” Sweet and creamy, the yellow or green spread is made of santan (coconut milk), chicken or duck eggs, sugar, and pandan or screwpine leaf.
Although this spread is traditionally smothered on sweet glutinous rice and served as dessert, today most Southeast Asian locals know it as a breakfast spread smothered on toasts. Its popularity has been tested and proven: some of the menus of street vendors in Singapore and Malaysia revolve around kaya toast. Served alongside half-boiled eggs for protein and Kopi-C (coffee with condensed milk), the combination makes a hearty breakfast that does not leave you feeling too guilty.
Fancy some kaya? The spread can be found in most Asian grocery stores around the U.S. and online.