What is the best waffle in Brussels?

The waffle is an exquisite sweet pastry and popular in the city of Brussels, capital of Belgium; which is known and consumed almost all over the world as Belgian waffle. But depending on the region of this country, the waffle can be called Brussels waffle, Liège waffle, Siska waffle, Flanders waffle and others, since they have about a dozen variants of waffles.

This dessert is made of a crunchy dough similar to cookies, which is dispensed on a waffle iron to obtain its shape; in other parts of the world they are called waffles. In Brussels the most sold are the first 2 mentioned above, although the most popular is the one from Liège; in addition, they can be found all over the city in pastry shops, bakeries, supermarkets and in the yellow vans.

They have an intense smell and there are so many visual options that one does not know which one to choose, since they can be accompanied with ice cream, cream, chocolate, cinnamon, vanilla, syrup, honey, fruit and can also be salted. 

Many people and even tourists get confused and do not know how to differentiate between the Brussels waffle and the Liège waffle. Both are different in terms of shape, recipe, flavor, appearance, cooking and type of waffle maker with which they are made. The idea is that, in this article, we can know the differences and choose the best waffle.

What is a Belgian waffle?

A waffle is a small, crunchy sweet that is made by mixing certain ingredients, similar to a cookie or a waffle, which is dispensed and cooked on 2 cast iron or aluminum plates, which are heated to a certain temperature.

These plates have interior grid-shaped divisions, which resemble a honeycomb, called a waffle iron; and when the mixture is cooked it takes the shape of that internal mold. Now, this honeycomb pattern is relatively new, since initially they were flat cakes, prepared between the 2 iron plates.

Let’s talk a little about the origin and history of the waffle:

The origin of the Brussels waffle is not very well defined. However, in 1856 a Mr. Maximilien Consael started its preparation and sale. While the Liège waffle is known to date back to the 18th century, since the Prince-Bishop of this place asked his cook to prepare him something very special.

So, the oldest known waffles date back to the Neolithic period, when cakes were made with cereal and cooked on hot stones. Later, in ancient Greece, molds were already used to prepare cakes, which were made of two iron plates. 

Then, in the Middle Ages, round wafers were prepared with religious motifs engraved on the plates, to be consumed by the faithful. Later, in the 13th century, a blacksmith designed a mold with a grid or honeycomb shape on the inside, like the ones used today. They became popular and began to be sold in the streets; on feast days at the entrance of the churches.

But by that time they were all salted, with a mixture of flour, salt and water; they came to replace bread. Then, around the 18th century, the wealthier classes began to add eggs, honey and milk to the mixture; likewise, the new recipes also contained vanilla, cinnamon and sugar. 

Let’s mention the most common varieties of waffles in Brussels:

We already mentioned that Belgium has more than 1 dozen varieties of waffles, always depending on the region where they originated. But in Brussels you can basically get 4 of them. So, the original of this area is called Brussels waffle; on the other hand, those of the Liège region will be the Liège waffle; which by the way is the most popular of all.

You can also get the Siska waffles, which are similar to the Brussels waffle, although a little fatter and heart-shaped; they are typical of the coastal region of Knokkle le Zoute, a super fashionable area in northern Europe.

The other waffles are those of Flanders, which are a little less available, originating in the northern franc of Belgium and parts of neighboring France and the Netherlands; thinner in appearance and with a layer in the center of caramel.

Differences between Brussels waffles and Liège waffles: which is the best?

The Brussels waffle:

They are rectangular in shape, with large holes for sweet or savory filling, thin ridges and crispy structure. A light, liquid, airy mixture is made with ingredients of butter, flour, milk, eggs, vanilla sugar and yeast. They are usually eaten hot because they are cooked in a waffle iron with grids, either 15 or 24 holes honeycomb type. But we must clarify that initially this waffle had 20 holes.

The most common is to serve it in a simple way, with powdered sugar or powdered sugar, or also with chocolate, but that does not mean that other elements cannot be added, such as ice cream, fruits, caramel, cream, chocolate pieces, etc. Also, some diners prefer them with salty fillings, such as ham, salmon/dill, cheese, bacon, among others.

However, if the waffle is cold, it loses that crunchy texture and remains a moist and soft waffle, which is also preferred by some people. We conclude by saying that the Brussels waffle has a flavor with less sugar and more neutral than the Liège waffle.

The Liège waffle:

They have an oval shape, with a mixture of greater consistency than the Brussels waffle. In addition, the edges are irregular, and this iron waffle iron is formed by a grid of 24 holes where they are cooked. The mixture is flavored with vanilla sugar and pearl sugar that is incorporated at the end of the preparation, which gives it the crunchy touch, because it caramelizes it and gives it the golden tone. They can be eaten hot or cold.

This thicker mixture is called páton and contains the following ingredients: butter, flour, eggs, yeast, milk and C40 pearl sugar, also called granulated sugar. It is usually available in 2 basic flavors which are cinnamon and vanilla; but chocolate chips or cocoa pearl sugar can be added. Tourists eat it with many fillings, such as Brussels sprouts.

We finish saying that this Liège waffle can be eaten hot, warm or cold, everything will depend on who is going to consume it; besides, it can be offered to take away and eat it sitting comfortably in any place.

Posted in Belgium, brussels, Europe.