History Of The Liege Belgian Waffle
There are actually two types of waffles from Belgium. They are the widely known Brussels Waffle, and
the Liege Waffle. Americans first became aware of the Brussels Waffle at the 1964 World’s Fair. A large
waffle covered with whipped cream and strawberries, introduced by Maurice Vermersch, seemed to be in everybody’s hands. Maurice changed the name to Belgian Waffles because people did not know where Brussels was. The waffle explosion had begun! It is during the Middle Ages that Liege waffles were born. The sweet and crunchy treats were sold outside churches throughout Belgium to parishioners after Sunday Mass. Those waffles, known as “Belgian Waffles” were enjoyed for centuries before they became better known as “Liege Waffles".
Legend has it that the Prince-Bishop of Liège asked his chef to create a special treat with the newly
introduced baking ingredient, “pearl sugar.” Adding pearl sugar (pearl sugar is a specialty sugar which can only be found in Belgium, doesn’t melt easily with moisture, and bursts and caramelizes when it meets the high heat of a waffle iron) and vanilla to a waffle batter resulted in an intoxicating aroma and taste that astounded and delighted the Prince-Bishop. Of course, sugar was EXTREMELY expensive in those days and the unique waffle treat wasn’t available to the general public for another century or so. While some question this legendary beginning, what is truly known is that in 1820, around the time that sugar was becoming affordable, a recipe for Gaufres aux Pistache (using Brioche dough as the base) was published in a Paris paper. Then in 1822 a famous chef introduced waffles with pearl sugar. The date that most accept as the true introduction of the Belgium Waffle (not the Liege Waffle
just yet) was around 1835. It is not for another 75 years or so before the Liege Waffle was born in Liege, known as the “Gaufre de Liège.”