We Americans love our waffles, and specifically, most of us are crazy for “Belgian” waffles. The irony is that Belgian waffles were invented in New York in 1964!
In Belgium/Europe, there are dozens of waffle varieties. Popularity varies by region, but the two most common are the Liege waffle and the Brussels waffle. The Liege waffle is unlike anything you’ve likely experienced, as it’s made from a yeast dough and cooks-up with a roughly oblong/oval shape in an iron with a 4×6 pocket grid. The Brussels waffle is the father of our Belgian waffle, but it’s rectangular and has a 3×5 pocket pattern.
But back to 1964. It was at the New York City World’s Fair that Maurice Vermersch and his wife introduced America to the Brussels waffle under the name “Bel-Gem” (photos below). A report in Newsday captured this culinary milestone, “And when they arrived in Queens, the name of their product was changed from the Brussel Waffle to the Belgian [Bel-Gem] Waffle. The name Belgian waffle was created in New York.” His waffles made memories at the Queens World’s Fair, Newsday (Queens edition)
Our American use of Bisquick in round irons even takes the Belgian misnomer a few steps further. So enjoy my delicious pumpkin waffle recipe, as it’s just another twist in the deep 45 year history and tradition of the Belgian waffle!