Spekulatius | Word of the Week | DW | 16.09.2011
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Word of the Week

Spekulatius

Learn a funny, quirky German word each week with DW's Word of the Week feature. This week: Spekulatius.

What do a stock market speculator and a "Spekulatius" have in common? Absolutely nothing, apart from the possibility that the former might eat the latter. Though its name may sound fancy, a "Spekulatius" is nothing more than a humble cookie, traditionally eaten around Christmastime in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. The word is thought to derive from the Latin term for a bishop - "speculator," which means "overseer" and refers specifically to St Nicholas who is celebrated on December 6. It could also come from "speculum," Latin for "mirror," referring to the carving of mirror-image bas-reliefs into wooden stamps which were traditionally used to decorate the biscuits. But whatever the origins may be, you can safely speculate that a box of "Spekulatius" - which generally contain cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger, cardamom and white pepper - will make for a tasty treat on a cold winter evening.

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