I have a big sweet tooth. I like sweet and I like crunchy. Waffles (especially the type in Belgium) fulfill both of these well. We were in Belgium for a week and I was determined to get some good waffles. It was a few hit and miss to get the “good ones,” but we finally found them in Ghent after visiting Castle Gravensteen. These are the Liege Style warm crispiness.
I imagine that “flippy” is not the technical term, but I like it. The machine gets flipped once during the cooking and then the sticky waffle is pried from the hot iron and put on a little paper plate.
The sugar on the outside has caramelized in the heat and is oozing a bit. perhaps steaming in the cool air. The inside is cooked, but still a bit soft while the outside is crispy. Add your chosen topping and enjoy. Seriously, this is the kind of waffle I craved from Belgium.
The dough is very stiff and there are chunks of sugar throughout. And it is very thick, thick enough that it stays as a ball on the pan. There is no ladling or pouring of batter into the machine. You just whack the whole ball there and squish it flat in the waffle iron. This is about as far from a crepe as you can get.
This thickness of the batter is also what makes the unique shape. The waffles are rounded on the edge and never fill out the perfect rectangle of the iron. The ball of dough they came from is remembered. I first saw this last year in Brussels and knew coming back this year I had to find more.
Waffles Around Belgium and Netherlands
We were in the low countries for most of May this year. This is the land of waffles we noticed.
Netherlands has a type called Stroopwaffles. These are two very thin waffled wafers sandwiched together around a layer of caramel syrup. Check out the Albert Cuyp Market there for the stand which makes them fresh or look for the packaged ones in the grocery store. We even found a painting about pancakes and stroopwaffles in the Boijman’s Museum in Rotterdam.
Brussels style waffles are a thinner batter which fills the waffle iron completely giving it the full rectangle and creates a lighter fluffier waffle than the dense Liege style. Check this out for a description of the differences.
I went looking for Liege waffles in the Liege train station. We had an hour to switch trains and I thought it would be neat to find the waffle in its own city. Yeah? Fail. What we got was a fruit filled thing that was full rectangle. It wasn’t actually so bad, but disappointment tastes quite bitter and ruined them for me.
Finding the Good Ones
We finally found the good ones. Follow your nose is a pretty good tip. Look for the sign of the oblong waffle outside of the shop and the heavy flipping waffle machine in the window.
The Liege style is all over Brussels and we even found them at the Keukenhof gardens near Amsterdam. Ghent was still the best though. The place we found was in a small plaza just over the bridge from the castle. I loved the name of the place. Do you get it?