Belgium is well-known for fries, chocolate, and beer, but it is waffles that have made their way through continents and oceans. All over the world, street stalls and food trucks, cafes and refined restaurants serve the Belgian waffles.
Belgium boasts two main types of waffles—one from Liege and the other from Brussels. The Brussels waffles are the most widely known. They are rectangular, fluffy, and airy. Traditionally, Brussels waffles are served with sliced strawberries and whipped cream. But the variety of possible toppings is endless—they could be sweet or salty, contain fruits or meat, be served with chocolate or different syrups, etc.
The Liege waffles are more common in Belgium. They are oval-shaped, dense and have a sticky structure as they contain crunchy pearl sugar. The Liege waffles require no additional sweet toppings such as powder sugar, syrups, or whipped cream as they are already sweet and delicious enough. While the Brussels waffles are treated as a meal, the ones from Liege are more of a snack that could be eaten on-the-go.
Today, it is impossible to determine who prepared waffles for the first time and when. Brussels waffles supposedly date back to the late 19th century while the word “waffle” was first mentioned in Belgian literature in the 17th century. They must have appeared even earlier and were served as street snacks.
Officially, waffles were first introduced to foreigners in 1958 in Brussels. In 1962, they were served during the Expo in Seattle and, in 1964, the waffles made their way to the World Fair in New York. That was the moment when the Brussels waffles (soft with toppings) gained international recognition and fame.
In Brussels, you may sample Belgian waffles along with other local specialties on a special walking tour with Belgian lunch, or on a food tour.