Belgium: Land of Waffles
We’ve just got back from a quick break to Belgium. Courtesy of my lovely boyfriend’s thoughtful xmas present. I got the chance to go back to Brussels and to visit Brugges for the very first time. We had great food, fun days out and of course ate our weight in waffles. So in this post I’m going review of all the waffles we had and briefly explain some of the differences between them. I cannot accept liability if this makes you hungry.
The Brussels Waffle with Ice Cream
Our first waffle adventure in Bruges, peckish after a wander around trying unsuccessfully to find a chocolate café we picked a basic ice cream parlour for our first taste of waffle. There were choices of 2 waffles, brussels or liege. We randomly picked Brussels. It turns out that Brussels waffles are made with thin batter and come out crispier and lighter, with deeper squares that the Liege waffle and a uniform rectangle shape. We decided to be decadent and had both melted chocolate AND Speculoos flavour ice cream as toppings. They were pretty good, however the waffle itself didn’t feel amazing quality. It was an average waffle that had been spruced up with toppings. I felt like there would definitely be better to come.
The Breakfast Brussels Waffle
It didn’t take us long to come across a better Brussels waffle. The next morning we wandered around the streets of Bruges in search of a cheaper and funner brunch than our hotel breakfast that cost 21 euros! I came across Books & Brunch, an adorable café on the outskirts of the town. For 12 euros we got a coffee, a freshly squeezed orange juice, and two massive crispy warm brussels waffles with pots of butter, jam and that massive shaker of icing sugar you can see in the foreground. It was definitely a step up from the ice cream waffle. Despite it being a little awkward to spread butter and jam on food with lots of big dents in it it was scrumptiously simple but delicious. The quality of the waffle spoke for itself and we felt full for hours!
Another search for a cheap breakfast led us to The Waffle Factory in Brussels city centre. Now this is an unconventional waffle, and I imagine that some of the waffle purists might not approve of this kind of snack that’s posing as a waffle. It’s essentially dough with herbs thats shaped into discs, filled with savoury filling like cheese, ham, chicken or anything else you’d put in a toastie or a panini and then cooked in a waffle iron.
Not gonna lie it tastes pretty damn good. However if you’re going to try it I suggest going closer to midday. At 10am when we popped in they seemed to have barely any of the different types prepared so my initial choice of ham and cheese had to eventually become chicken cheese and veggies. I can’t complain it still left me satisfied, if wondering whether this waffle poser could really join the ranks of true waffle status.
The Liège Waffle
And finally our holy grail of waffles, the beautiful Liège. These are sold all over Brussels centre, from just 1 euro each. The vast array of toppings cost extra, and these are displayed in the windows with every combination your tiny waffle loving heart can imagine. Nutella, caramel, chocolate, cream, icing sugar, banana, kiwi, strawberry and of course every flavour of ice cream imaginable. You name it it, can be put on top of a waffle. The key difference between a Brussels and Liège is that the Liege is made with thicker batter and there are sugar crystals in it that caramelise when cooked. It’s thick, it’s warm, it’s sweet, it’s cakey. It’s like getting a hug off your snack.
Now you can go crazy with the toppings but I decided to keep it simple and just get icing sugar for extra sweetness. However I would argue that you don’t even need that. The warm waffle on it’s own is just perfection. The sugar crystals add crunch and the consistency is pillowy soft. Trust me and save your money, the liège waffle doesn’t need to be tarted up and in my opinion, simple is more beautiful.
In my opinion the Liege waffle will win the contest every time. Freely available in Brussels from only 1 euro each and without the need to add any fancy toppings to make it great this is the best waffle you can get for the cheapest price. I also found that they tend to be more consistent than the Brussels and a bad Liege will still taste pretty damn amazing. By all means though try out the waffles for yourself, let me know how you get on and what you think about which waffle is the god of all waffles.
Read more: My 5 Favourite Things About Brussels!