May 07, 2012

Guest blog. The petit four. On Belgian Waffles

Reading Emily's post made me want to share her Belgian waffles story.  There are so many bloggers out there who write about the wonders Belgium has to offer.

Emily from the Petit Four is my guest blogger today and her January entry is timely. Yesterday, a cold Sunday in May, the idea of a warm waffle, wrapped in paper, bought at a street shop near the Grand Place in Brussels, made me want to go down there.  Have a look at this mouthwatering article with photographs to match.

The Low-Down on Belgian Waffles

by EMILY on JANUARY 24, 2012
I don’t often do the de rigueur write-ups about Brussels that are part and parcel if you’re a foreigner who lives here. I have yet to do a write up about frites (for the record, the best friterie in the city center is Tabora. The best sauce: samourai) or any of the chocolate shops (Wittamer wins my vote).  I have nothing against these write-ups, it’s more like I sort of forget that these things are exotic sometimes.
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 fifty 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.
You can find waffles in pre-packaged sets at grocery stores, but there are subway vendors and even waffle trucks who deal exclusively in the waffle trade.  However, the best place to go for a Liège waffle is Belgaufra, a Brussels chain specializing in nothing but this many pocketed treat.  The beauty in Belgaufra is the simplicity of having only two options, plain or chocolate covered, at their stands that can be found throughout the city and Belgium.
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?
Bon appétit!


  1. J'adore la première image de reflets ! Et puis la gaufre, miam ! ;-)

  2. Moooiiiii..., Anni, met leuke foto's !

  3. We lived in Belgium for two years when my kids were in middle school and elementary school, and waffles from a street vendor was a regular part of a day out. Probably their favorite part. I always wondered what kind of sugar they used to get that crystally inside. Very good memories!

  4. I just got out of bed and now I'm really starving!! These look and sound delicious and I do love waffles!! Great post to share with us, Anni! Have a lovely week!


  5. I just finished a blog post on a train ride from Milan, Italy to Theux, Belgium. When we pulled into the Liege train station after being on a train for 12 hours and stepped off the train, the first scent I smelled was waffles (or so my daughter told me). Ordinarily, this smell would have been heavenly but, because we had been traveling on a train for 12 hours the smell only made my already nauseous stomach a bit sicker! HA

    My Daughter said they were delicious!! I loved Theux!!

  6. Oui, Fifi, Emily fait des photos magnifiques

    Melissa, I can't help you with the sugar part. Maybe sugar de Tirlemont .. ever heard of that? It's another Belgian specialty :)

    Lies en Michelle, juist, true..

    Sylvia, wish I could throw you one but would be hard to catch.

    Kris, I have to confess, I understand you totally but I can also understand your daughter. I have to make a confession, I do not know Theux at all. I am glad you told me, so one day I will do something about that, hopefully...

  7. Anni,

    I love the smell of Belgium waffles was just the combination of the headache and nausea from the train ride that made me notice it more! :)

  8. de eerste foto is super...

    en van de rest kreeg ik "goesting"


  9. There are few things as Belgian as waffles. It makes my mouth water just thinking about them ...

  10. Strange with this retro style, good idea.


  11. Mon anglais n'est pas suffisant pour suivre ton histoire de la gauffre belge ! mais ton histoire doit être à dévorer ...

  12. Mmm, what bliss. I made a good meal out of a double order of waffles one evening in Brussels.

  13. the first pic is very creative, like a lot:-)

  14. Hallo Anni,
    Zo vroeg in de morgen ga ik er toch liever afblijven, maar t'is moeilijk :-))
    Eigenaardig, in Luik vindt men meestal Brusselse wafels aan de kraampjes!

  15. Hello there!

    My name is Malte Zeeck, and I am with I really enjoyed reading your fantastic blog! I think expats in Belgium and around the world could really gain some great insights [and have a few good laughs] on this page. The quality of the blog in general is very convincing, which is why I would love to feature you and your writing on the Recommended Blog on Belgium section on
    Not only do we feature and link to your blog prominently; we also would like to hear from you directly in our questionnaire! We have also designed a link badge for your blog.

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    Malte Zeeck

  16. Ja, Frans, het is juist, Brusselse wafels in Luik en Luikse wafels in Brussel, wie kan er nog aan uit?

    Willy, dat is zo'n woord dat een beetje in onbruik geraakt, vooral in deftige teksten maar hier staat het toch goed op zijn plaats.

    Linda, souvenirs, mouthwatering ...

    Jacques Robert, l' histoire de la gaufre est la même dans toutes les langues.. important surtout de goûter

    Glad you like Valladolid, Filip and Jana

    Malte, I truly appreciate your comment and extremely encouraging words. How exciting to figure on InterNations ! I will drop you a line.

  17. Wat een knappe reflectie in die eerste foto! Schitterende foto's en verslag over onze andere kleine lekkernijen, hm wafels met zo'n papiertje dat lekker vettig wordt, madeleinekes, waar is de tijd!

  18. Super ton article sur la Gaufre Belge!!! j'aime+++ c'est génial et 'adore ta 1ere photo! bisousssssssssss

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