A ‘cuberdon’, aka neuzeke (Flemish dialect for tiny nose), tsoepke (Flemish dialect for tiny top) or Gentse neus (meaning Gent’s nose, Gent being the capital of the Belgian province of East-Flanders and original hometown of the cuberdon) is a Belgian cone-shaped piece of candy that owes its name to its nose-like shape. In ‘Belgian’ French it is also known as the ‘chapeau de curé’, the village priest’s hat. The colour traditionally ranges from reddish pink to purplish red. The base is about 2.5 cm wide and the weight varies from 10 gr. to 18 gr. The cuberdon has a hard exterior coat. The interior is soft and gooey though and starts to crystallize after approximately three weeks, drastically decreasing the cuberdon’s ‘lifespan’. This explains why ‘cuberdons’ aren’t a sought-after export product, unlike the Belgian chocolates.
Photo from the internet, showing the 'gooey' filling.
Cuberdons are made from gum Arabic, a hardened sap that is found on the flowering acacia plant. During WWII this product was impossible to come by in Europe and curberdons fell into oblivion. In 1946 gum Arabic was again imported and a few pastry chefs, who still remembered the recipe, resumed making cuberdons.
The classic ‘neuzeke’ is raspberry flavoured. However, in recent years more than 25 new flavours and colours have been developed: strawberry, cherry, lemon, banana, coconut, bergamot, vanilla, cola, cinnamon, melon, orange, tangerine, peach, apple, pear, kiwi, peppermint, violet, gooseberry, lavender, anis, etc.
Over the last ten years the aroma of the traditional cuberdon is used by oenologists to describe the taste characteristics of wine. Cuberdons are also recognized as a regional product (comparable to the prestigious AOC – Appellation d’origine contrôlée in France) by the VLAM (Flemish Food Marketing Board).
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And there seems to be no way of stopping the cuberdon's popularity, since two years now you can also get cuberdon flavoured ice cream and cocktails.
The cuberdons in yesterday’s photo came with the coffee at the restaurant where my friend and I had lunch last Friday. The best way to eat a cuberdon is to bite off the top and to let it meld in you mouth. Next, you discretely slip the tip of your tongue in the part that’s left, and wiggle out the gooey raspberry filling. Finally, you put the round base in your mouth and enjoy its sugary and crispy texture. Is you mouth watering yet?