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Are Belgian Waffles Really Belgian?

It’s the perfect breakfast food. The perfect combination of fluffy and crisp, with deep pockets to hold butter, syrup, and whipped cream. That’s right, we’re talking about the Belgian waffle. We all know them as a delicious weekend breakfast treat, but are Belgian waffles actually Belgian? When you’re on the hunt for some Winchester food to sweeten your weekend, you probably aren’t thinking about your breakfast’s country of origin. But that’s okay, our team at Swanton Street Diner is here to answer that question for you.


Let’s find out if Belgian waffles really are Belgian.

So are they really Belgian?

The short answer is yes, Belgian waffles are from Belgium. That was easy. But let’s get into the long answer, anyway. It’s unclear whether waffles themselves come from Belgium or France, but the kind we call Belgian waffles are certainly from Belgium. Food resembling waffles has been part of European street food for centuries, but Belgian waffles with their crispy outside and fluffy insides and big, deep squares, came to America in the 1960s.

Let’s go to the World’s Fair.

In 1962, the world’s fair was held in Seattle. A Belgian named Maurice Vermersch and his family were there, serving waffles. They served them two ways, plain and with whipped cream and strawberries. Attendees to the Fair enjoyed them, but they wouldn’t really catch on until two years later, when Queens, New York, hosted the fair. People couldn’t get enough of them and the Vermersch family has to hire 10 people just to slice strawberries!

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There’s another Belgian waffle.

While it is correct to call Belgian waffles Belgian, that name is imprecise. Originally, the Vermesch family called their waffles Brussels waffles, after Belgium’s capital city. They called them this to differentiate them from another type of Belgian waffle, the Liege waffle. This waffle has a chewier dough, similar to Brioche. It also has pearl sugar in the batter, which carmelizes into bites of brown sugar when the waffle is cooked on the iron. As delicious as that sounds, it didn’t catch on the way the fluffier, Brussels waffles did, so they get to claim the name of Belgian waffles in America.

Belgian Waffles, Winchester Food

Fun fact: you are supposed to eat Belgian waffles with your hands. No forks and knives allowed! However, you may want to break that rule if you order them on a weekend at Swanton Street Diner. It could get a little sticky the way we serve them. But no matter how you choose to eat them, they are always a delicious treat when you’re in search of Winchester food.

Join us at 72 Swanton Street in Winchester for breakfast and lunch daily and for dinner Monday through Saturday.