Monday, June 14, 2010

Day 15: Our Main Export is the Våffel

...and by Våffel I clearly mean the delicious treat known as the waffle. A treat since the turn of time, ever since society knew how to cast metal plates. Granted way back when, waffles were not leavened therefore resembling a flat, pathetic waffle. None the less, the waffle has been in existence for thousands of years, even if it was better known as a wafer. Sure that seems a bit questionable to proclaim, but we all know that wafers have been around since Jesus, his favorite treat. From the birth of the wafer, civilization eventually learned about the leavening process in yeast which created the now to be known waffle.

Everyones real favorite treat in the U.S. is better know as the Belgian waffle. The Belgian waffle is easy to recognize due to it's large size, large grid pattern, and its very light batter. Though we only see this one waffle as the "Belgian" Waffle, Belgium actually is home to three different waffles. The first being the Brussels waffle, which is what is well known as the Belgian waffle here. The waffle was introduced to America in the 1965 New York World's Fair and was the turning point for popularizing the delicious waffle.

The Liège waffle, a small and dense waffle that carries a sweet taste in a chewy exterior. The waffle was invented by the chef of the prince-bishop of Liège in the 18th century. It had all started as an adaptation of brioche bread. Using the dough of a Brioche loaf, it features large amounts of pearl sugar, which caramelized on the outside of the waffle when baked. Currently it's the most common waffle you see being sold in Belgium and is generally prepared in either plain, vanilla or cinnamon varieties and sold by street vendors.

Then there is the Stoopwafels, also known as a Dutch syrup waffle. These are thin waffles made from milk, eggs, flour, butter, yeast, and brown sugar. What is unique about them is that when they are cooked to warm, raw stage they are cut in half and smeared with a syrup made from brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. The stroopwafel was first made in Gouda (a small city in the western Netherlands) during the late 18th century. Currently they are popular in Belgium and the Netherlands and are sold prepackaged at many supermarkets.

Though waffles have come from far and are largely served as a popular breakfast and dessert items in the United States, there are some iconic and newly popular unique waffle ideas that have sprung up in this great nation. The first having to be the ever so famous, Eggo waffle. The first appearance of these waffles were in San Jose, California when three brothers (Sam, Frank, and Tony Dorsa) had invented a one of a kind "eggy" batter. They had first marketed the product as Froffles, but due to the "eggy" taste of the waffle, people referred to them as eggos. It was in 1955 when the brothers had officially changed the name to Eggo Waffles and only another ten years till they sold out to Kelloggs. 

The second best waffle icon is not necessarily known for the waffles but for it's trashy allure. Waffle House is a chain of restaurants that are quiet common in southern United States. The appeal of the restaurant was to create a place that would have the speed of a fast food joint with the comfort of a table service setting. I think words are the only thing that sum up a waffle house: greasy food, unpleasant waiters, smoking everywhere, drunk people, cockroaches. Look at that! Everything you have ever wanted in a restaurant. 

The third and last is a new craze popping up in NYC. The Waffles and Dinges trucks that have been scouring the city serving delicious waffles. This truck serves a bunch of delicious goodies along with the popular Belgian waffle and the fore-mentioned Liège waffle. When it comes to toppings, they have it all covered; strawberries, bananas, Belgian chocolate fudge, whipped cream, nutella, dulce de leche, spekuloos spread, walnuts, real maple syrup, butter, and ice cream! The Waffles and Dinges truck is part of the new food truck movement that has been happening all around the city and is one of the best things to happen to the Belgian waffle movement. 

So now that we all have the low down on the Belgian waffle...I think I'm going to go attempt to make some Stroops. Brown sugar, here I come!

No comments:

Post a Comment