Belgian Waffles and their Origin

One dish that is a very versatile breakfast or a possible savory dish are Belgian waffles.  The composition of them lends well to creativity and bursts of flavor that a traditional American waffle just does not provide.  Formed through batter leavened by yeast instead of baking powder, these waffles are typically lighter although larger, has deep pockets, and usually is more crispy.

The Belgian waffles that we are familiar with in the United States originate from the country of Belgium.  The earliest form of this type of waffle is the Liege waffle.  This waffle is named for the city it originated in and appeared sometime in the 18th century.

It is a spin-off of brioche bread dough and has a caramelization that is more apparent than other waffles due to the pearl sugar that is on the outside of the dough when it is baked.  This is the most popular form of waffle in Belgium.  A close relative of the Liege waffle are stroopwafels, which is Dutch for syrup waffles.

They also appeared around the 18th or 19thcentury in the Netherlands.  They have smaller pockets and are eaten by the Dutch almost like a sandwich–two halves filled in between with a combination of syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, and butter as the middle delicacy between the halves.

Belgian waffles, or Brussels waffles are what is typically served in America.  The use of the yeast instead of baking powder provides the height ofthe waffle and depth of the pockets.  This waffle premiered at Expo 58 in 1960 but did not really impact the United States until the 1964 New York World’s Fair in Flushing Meadows, New York.

Belgian waffles appeared in this country by way of Maurice Vermersch of Brussels, Belgium at this event.  He served them with whipped cream and strawberries at the price of a dollar.

Since then, the popularity of this item has grown immensely.  Although it is still primarily served as a breakfast meal, it also is quite versatile to use in dishes like chicken and waffles.  The combinations of toppings, fillings, and uses of this delectable dish are endless and will be explored for generations to come.

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