Ah, the sweet smell of chocolate and sugary batter intoxicates the air as you stroll down the charming, bustling streets. Steaming, crisp waffles straight off the iron are placed into their paper beds and accompanied by chocolate sauces, strawberries, or whipped cream. No, this is not a dream. This is Brussels, Belgium and—for many—a sweet lover’s paradise brought to life.
But did you know that while this beloved treat dates back to the 18th century, it wasn’t until 1958 that it gained notoriety at the world expo in Brussels? In 1962, a Belgian man named Walter Cleyman presented the waffle to North American foodies at the World’s Fair in Seattle, Washington and then, two years later the waffle gained even more popularity when Maurice Vermersch, a Belgian cook, brought it to the World’s Fair in Queens, New York. Realizing Americans had a bit of a sweet tooth, fresh strawberries and whipped cream were placed atop the waffle. The demand became so high that the Vermersch family needed to hire ten people just to slice the strawberries!
With the waffle beginning to soar and many Americans not knowing much about Brussels, the original “Brussels Waffle” was changed to the “Belgian Waffle” as we know it today. So Mr. Cleyman and Mr. Vermersch, thank you for sharing this sweet gift with the world.
Not your average waffle
These gooey, crisp, sweet, delicious waffles are unlike any other treat and can arguably be enjoyed at any time of the day. Unlike other waffles, Belgian waffles are made thicker than your typical waffle and in a rectangular shape with deep square pockets, meaning even more room for extra yummy goodness to sink in.
The Belgian waffle is made with a few simple ingredients plus a specialty pearl sugar, giving the waffle that extra sweet crystallized texture—crispy on the outside, fluffy and airy on the inside. Originally introduced plain or with strawberries and whipped cream, the Belgian waffle today can be dressed up as little or as much as you’d like with syrups, fruits, chocolates, and nuts. The wonder of waffles knows no bounds.
Visit Belgium or bring it home
So how do you get one of these mouthwatering waffles? Waffles have a global popularity, and you can usually find a decent one just about anywhere, but there is nothing like an authentic Belgian waffle. That being said, take a trip to Belgium for the real thing! With travel returning to normal and tourist season starting to dwindle, now is the perfect time to make your food dreams a reality. There will be no shortage of waffles, as shops and carts line the streets across the country, akin to finding a slice of pizza in New York City.
Suppose you’re not (yet) convinced about the delicious satisfaction-inducing waffle. In that case, Belgium is also the birthplace of the universally loved “french fries.” Nothing yet? How about if we told you it’s also home to the largest number of chocolate factories in the world? Don’t fret if you can’t get to Belgium just yet. There are other fun ways to bring a taste of that Belgian waffle to your home:
- Visit Wafels & Dinges to get your taste buds excited. That’s right—the real thing, right here in the US of A. One single bite of one of these warm and gooey waffles will delight your tastebuds and move Belgium to the top of your travel list. They even ship worldwide!
- Take an online cooking class with a waffle connoisseur. Wherever you may be in the world, gather the family and treat yourself to an authentic Belgian waffle-making experience led by a true Belgian. Be sure to have a strong wifi connection, the right ingredients, and perhaps an apron. This is sure to be an activity everyone will love.
With so many options and fun ways to savor the Belgian waffle, it’s safe to say that regardless of the time of day, it is always waffle-o-clock. After all, who wouldn’t love a decadent waffle coated with chocolate for breakfast or an afternoon snack? Add some fruit, and some might even call it a balanced meal.