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Private label biscuits

Willems Biscuits produces several delicious pastry specialties. Our main activity is manufacturing speculoos cookies. All private labels are produced with the brand and personalized package of the customer. We make it our priority to produce cookies of the highest quality. Our products are being distributed worldwide as private label.

History

Willems Biscuits, originally named ‘Camelia’, was founded in 1951 by Félix and Clément Willems. In Ertvelde, they founded the last speculoos company in ‘Meetjesland’, a dynamic industrial region in Flanders. They were no bakers, but were very interested in the new technology and modern enterprise.

Although the other speculoos factories were fully expanding, Camelia distinguished itself by creating new recipes: ‘extra fine’, ‘délicieux’ and ‘speculoos based on eggs’.

From 1969 on they even started making pretzels, a puff pastry cookie with several folded layers. This development gave a new boost to the company and the pretzels even became the main activity. The name of the company changed to ‘Willems Biscuits’.

In 1990, the founders’ sons Marc and Chris Willems took over the company and made new investments in the modernization of the machinery. Since 1998, Willems Biscuits joined the Poppies group, a pastry company in Zonnebeke. From 2002 on, the production of pretzels moved to Wervik in West-Flanders, so Willems Biscuits could focus on production of speculoos. Speculoos continued gaining popularity and Willems moved to a new building in the city where several speculoos bakeries were originally founded, Eeklo. In this new factory, Willems continued investing in the modernization of machinery. Because of the amazing growth, even this new building becomes too small and since June 2009 Willems occupies a new warehouse behind the factory.

 

The legend of the Eeklo Head Re-baker

The ‘Eeklo Head Re-Baker’… a living legend.

Halfway between Ghent and Bruges, in the midst of the picturesque Meetjesland, lies the pleasant provincial town of Eeklo.

beeld-herbakker bigAccording to the legend, in the olden days, you could be ‘re-baked’ in Eeklo, which must have been considered as a spiritual treatment. Your head was chopped off from your body, kneaded into a better shape and given a new face before being baked in the oven. In the meantime, as a symbol of rejuvenation, a cabbage was placed on your shoulders. But this treatment did not come without any dangers. If you were not baked long enough, you would become half-baked (lunatic). Was the oven too hot? Then you’d be a hothead for good. And if the baking process had been a complete failure, then you would be a monster for the rest of your days.

schilderij-herbakker bigThe fact that Eeklo in Flanders has been famous for centuries as the Re-baking town, stems from the story in the book of popular tales called ‘De Vermaekelijke klugt’ (1750). This tells the story of a desperate father who sends his idiot son to Zottegem and the Minnewater to become more clever, but no avail. A lawyer then advises him to try going to Eeklo because ‘there heads are baked with curly and flat hair, with bright, squinting, sleepy and cunning eyes, and you can get black and other colours according to your preference and taste’. No sooner said than done. After which the son goes to Paris where he dazzles in his studies with his wisdom and learnedness.

This tradition lives on today with the 5-yearly Head Re-Bakers Festival in June, where the oven is fired up and anyone who wants can have their head re-baked.

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