The crisp crunch of caramelized sugar. The pillowy texture within the ridged exterior. The aroma of fresh bread. That’s just a sampling of what the Liege waffle has to offer. The Liege is no ordinary waffle. It’s a Belgian variety that was created in the 1800s but is now gaining traction across America as a sweet, hand-held treat that makes for drool-worthy street food.
Most purveyors and food trucks that offer this unique delicacy know to take advantage of the possibilities in terms of toppings. A fan favorite at The Waffle Lab in Fort Collins, CO is the European Waffle; it's topped with Nutella, berries, bananas, and plenty of whipped cream.
Pictured above is a savory waffle from the Waffle Lab food truck. It's a Liege topped with bacon, egg, cheese, tomato and avocado.
It’s a “completely different animal” than your standard American diner waffle according to Sean Lee, the president of The Belgian Kitchen in New Jersey, a supplier of Liege dough and irons.
Lee says that the pearl sugar really distinguishes it, and it’s only made in Belgium. Pearl sugar is “made with beets and not cane sugar, so it melts differently, caramelizes faster,” giving it a flavor similar to creme brulee.
Aside from the sugar, these waffles are yeasted, unlike other batters. They have to rise overnight before they're punched down to rise some more. This makes them more similar to a pastry and gives them their wonderful taste, smell, and texture.
Six years ago, the waffles were little known to the public. “When I started there was maybe one food truck in the San Francisco area selling them, now there’s at least three or four,” which just goes to show that good things catch on.