One thing that you will be recommended to sample while in Belgium, besides chocolate and beer, is a waffle. Rosie Khdir discovers the nation’s favourite dessert.
If you have a sweet tooth, then a Belgian waffle would be your idea of heaven on a plate, and Belgium seems to have a different and delightful topping for every day of the year!
There two main types of waffle, the Brussels and the Liège. The Brussels waffle is usually rectangular in shape, roughly an inch thick, with fairly deep dimples. It has light in texture and is often served with a sprinkling of icing sugar.
The Brussels waffle is infamous in America, with thanks to the efforts of Belgian waffle maker Maurice Vermersch at the 1964 New York World’s Fair. When Vermersch and four other families arrived in Queens with their tasty treat, its name changed to the Belgian Waffle and was soon eaten by Americans nationwide.
The oval shaped Liège waffle was invented by the chef of the prince-bishop of Liège in the 18th century as an adaptation of brioche bread dough. It is often smaller and thinner than the Brussels waffle but is much more substantial. This waffle is baked with nuggets of “pearl sugar” imbedded in the batter, which melt and create a caramelised coating.
These waffles can be customised to your taste by adding fruit, ice-cream, melted chocolate, whipped cream, butter, jam…the list could go on forever!
You can find variations on the dish in every region of Belgium but these two are the most common. They can be found in cafes, restaurants and even in the streets! Some of the best waffles are available in the large squares, such as the Grand Place in Brussels.
Image credit: [puamelia]