The Petit Four: The Low-Down on Belgian Waffles
Emily Miller provides an inside scoop on the the delicious world of the Belgian waffle.
But I'm going to break my silence. I want to get serious about a serious subject: waffles.
Big, thick waffles reign supreme in Belgium and come in two styles - Brussels and Liège. The Brussels style is a light, yeasty and incredibly rectangular affair that's always consumed inside an establishment on a plate with a knife and fork. The hoity-toity waffle of choice.
Then there's the Liège waffle. This is the people's waffle, the waffle that's sold for less than two euros a pop on the street and warmly wrapped in a slip of waxy paper to eat on the go.
The gaufre de Liège is small and chunky with deep wide pockets that make it easy to tear off chunks of the pillowy dough to pop into your mouth. There is also this insanely addicting smell to them, thanks to the use of pearl sugar in the batter.
These little pearly balls of sugar diffuse throughout the dough when cooking in the iron, oozing out into the exterior, creating this carnival-like caramelization and accompanying smell. A scent so crazy good that when it first hits you about 50 feet before you see a waffle stand, you're jonesing for a little carbohydrate pick-me-up by the time you finally pass the vendor.
One quick word about etiquette: waffles are toujours sans suppléments. If you want to go native, grab your waffle on the go without anything adorning its nooks and crannies. Besides, it's really in your best interest. There is nothing easy about eating a waffle smeared with Nutella and topped with strawberries when you have only a teensy, tiny fork to attempt civil eating. Plus, more toppings means it just takes longer to eat the waffle and where's the fun in that?
Reprinted with the permission of The Petit Four.
The Petit Four, a space for all things related to food, pleasurable drink and the good life, is maintained by Emily Miller, an American expat who first fell in love with Belgium as a study abroad student. Since then, Emily has returned to Brussels to further her exploration of Europe's capital city.
- Gaufres Geurts, a company that produces gaufre de Liege waffles near Waremme, Belgium.
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