Fries, chocolate, and waffles. Name a better trio.

What better way to start off the Belgium blog series than to talk about the three foods that Belgium is known for: fries, chocolate, and waffles.

No matter which area of town you are in, you will always find one or all three of these delights.

So what makes each of these three dishes unique to Belgium?

Fries


Fries was believed to come from the practice of catching and frying small fish. However, during the winter, it was not possible to do this because the river froze over. So, people began to do this same procedure with potatoes instead.

French fries? More like Belgian fries.

Funnily enough, what we have come to know as French Fries, actually originated in Belgium.

The story behind this is that during World War II, American soldiers were introduced to fries in Belgium. But, because part of Belgium speaks French, they thought that they were situated in France. Hence, the soldiers nicknamed these fried potatoes as French Fries.

Holding a cone filled with fries with the backdrop of buildings in Brussels.
Enjoying a delicious cone filled with fries to warm me up during a crisp afternoon in Brussels. Of course, I couldn’t pass up on the sauces and got myself a side of Andalouse.

In Belgium, fries are typically served with a dollop of sauce, either on the side or directly on the fries themselves. To get sauce added to your fries, you will typically have to pay more (ranging from .50€ to .80€).

Traditional flavours include ketchup and mayonnaise, but you can find an array of sauces, such as Andalouse (which is a mix of mayonnaise, tomato paste, and roasted peppers).

These delicious fries are typically no more than 1cm in thickness and are made in such a way that they are not too firm nor too soft. This perfect mix of the two (crispy outside, met with a soft inside) is because they are fried twice at two separate temperatures.

Pictured is a plate half-filled with Flemish beef stew with dried barberries on top and the other half filled with fries. A little bit of herbs are found to the side as well. Coca Cola is paired with the dish.
Flemish beef stew paired with a side dish of fries. In Belgium, fries are paired with many national dishes.
My top recommendation for fries in Brussels: Frit Flagey

Chocolate


Belgian chocolate might be the most well-known delicacies from Belgium. It has been one of its major industries since the 19th century and has played an important role in the country’s economy and culture.

Chocolates with various toppings, such as dried barberry, dried cranberries, and raisins.
A glimpse at the chocolates I learned how to make at a chocolate workshop with Laurent Gerbaud.

Although the cocoa used in the chocolates do not originate from Belgium, the most commonly accepted standard that dictates a chocolate being labelled as “Belgian” is that its actual production must take place inside of the country.

Chocolates being elegantly displayed at Pierre Marcolini.
My top recommendation for chocolates in Brussels: Laurent Gerbaud

Waffles


During my stay in Belgium, I found out that “International Waffle Day” was a thing. So I, of course, had to make up for the last 25 years I had missed it. Which ensued in a lot of waffle eating and anticipated weight-gain.

A variety of waffles on display. Some have strawberries, kiwis, or bananas. Some have whipped cream, whereas others have chocolate drizzled all over.
How can you choose one when they all look so delicious?

The Belgian waffle has been around for a long time – it dates back to the Middle Ages! But, it has evolved over time.

Back in the day, waffles were similar to crackers. They were made with grain flour and water and were eaten with soups.

But, people began to add sweeteners and yeast to their batters, so the sweet treat that we know today came to be.

Taking a bite out of a sugary and caramelized Liège waffle in Ghent.
Taking a bite out of a sugary and caramelized Liège waffle in Ghent.

Fun Fact
It was in 1964 that the world was blessed: the Brussels waffle was introduced internationally! A booth was set up at the World Fair in New York and around 2,500 waffles were served a day!

Pictured is a waffle topped with two poached eggs with a side of salad and a cappuccino.
Some restaurants have taken a twist on the Belgian waffle – making it a savoury meal.

There are two main types of waffles that you an find in Belgium:

1. Brussels waffle

This waffle is larger and rectangular in shape. It has crispy edges and the airy batter that is used lends to its soft and lighter inside.

This waffle is typically less sweet, so it is sprinkled with powdered sugar and toppings are added to it.

A Brussels waffle sprinkled with powdered sugar. Three toppings are to the side: whipped cream, cooked strawberries, and cooked cherries. A cup of cappuccino can be seen in the back with a biscuit.
First morning in Brussels, spent the perfect way: eating waffles! With toppings of freshly whipped cream, cooked strawberries, and cooked cherries on the side.
2. Liège waffle

This waffle is smaller, with rounded edges. It is thicker, dense, and contains little caramelized clumps of sugar throughout.

The Liège waffle is typically best eaten plain without toppings so as to not make it too heavy and rich. But this depends on the taste of the individual eating it.

Pictured is a hand holding a caramelized Liège waffle.
A perfect piece of caramelized heaven: the Liège waffle!
My top recommendation for waffles in Brussels: Maison Dandoy


If you had to choose one out of these three delicious treats, which would it be? Would you go for the fries, chocolate, or waffles?


For more adventures in Belgium, follow the fun here.

xx