One of the best parts of travelling is trying new and delicious foods. One of the worst parts of travel is not being able to find these new and delicious foods once you return home. There is nothing better than a freshly baked croissant in Paris, or a delicately spiced coconut curry in Thailand, but it sucks to come home and spend the rest of your life craving something that you are completely unable to access.
While some foods are rather difficult to replicate oneself (like the aforementioned Paris croissant and also my favourite Wu Se vegetables from So Good in Ottawa), others are worth giving a try, like some of the delectable delights we were introduced to on our most recent trip to Europe.
I am determined to learn how to make these new delicacies at home – Belgian waffles, speculoos, pierogies, and zapiekanki.
Today I bring you…..Belgian Waffles
Every visitor to Belgium ends up stuffing themselves with waffles. It’s a rule. You have to do it. Warm or cold, plain or topped with whipped cream, fruit, or Nutella they are really the most delicious of snacks, meals, or treats. That’s the trouble with them really, they can be anything. Breakfast? Waffles. Afternoon snack? Waffles. Reward for climbing the 200+ stairs up a bell tower? Waffles!
On our last full day in Europe we stopped in Ypres to visit the In Flanders Fields Museum and were treated to the most delicious freshly made waffles being sold on the street by a delightful Flemish lady. They were soft and warm and the edges were tipped with just the right amount of caramalised sugar. I have since learned that these are not mere waffles, these are Liege Waffles, or Gaufres de Liege.
I was quite shocked to learn that Belgian waffles are actually yeast risen and made from a dough, not the thin pancake like batter that I’ve always used for waffles. They are also studded with sweet nuggets of pearl sugar, something that you can’t even buy here in the UK. The sugar melts just slightly in the batter, imparting the perfect level of sweetness and giving a slightly crunchy texture to the finished product.
Warm waffles straight from the griddle are heaven and it is probably best that I do not have regular access to them.
In my pursuit to make the perfect waffle I am in need of three main items – a waffle iron, pearl sugar, and the perfect recipe.
I am currently without items one and two (sad face), so I have invested my time in finding the perfect recipe. So far the hunt has produced three that will be studied, amalgamated, and tested.
Authentic Belgian Waffles from Made By Pink
This recipe seems quite straight forward, which both appeals to and concerns me. I would like it to be simple but I’m pretty sure it won’t be.
Liege Waffle Recipe from Liege Waffle Recipe Blog
Unlike the first this recipe seems quite complex and somewhat intimidating. It includes lots of good tips though.
The Best Waffle You’ll Ever Eat from The Kitchn
The recipe was also inspired by wanting to replicate a travel discovery. It seems like a potential winner.
Now I just need to find a waffle maker (anyone want to donate one to a good cause?) and a supply of pearl sugar. Word has it that crushed sugar cubes work too but in the name of authenticity I will strive to procure the real deal.
Have you ever learned to successfully replicate a foreign delicacy at home?
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Ohhh, you are speaking my language here! I always obsess about trying to recreate my favorite dishes from my travels, with rare success. But the research is always fun! I’ve been collecting some waffle recipes, too, after my trip to Belgium earlier this year in preparation for The Great Waffle-Off 2012 I’m about to unleash on my family. I’ll let you know what I find. I know you can find pearl sugar on Amazon – I have a link to it on my site if you have trouble finding it.
The Great Waffle-Off 2012?! You have one lucky family! I can’t wait to hear about the results! Before pearl sugar I need to get myself a waffle maker – I think I might be waiting until Christmas for that one!
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