When you hear Belgium, what comes to your mind is chocolate because this country is known as one of the best chocolate producers in the world. This country, in fact annually produces 172,000 tons and has more than 2,000 chocolate makers. However, it is not only chocolate that is the specialty of this country.
Belgium also has some of the most delicious desserts. Belgian desserts that are hard to find such as mattentaart or hard coque de Dinant, can only be found in Belgian cities. Curious about desserts from Belgium, let’s take a peek at the list here.
- Geraardsbergse Mattetaart
Mattentaart, this East Flanders specialty, is a small puff pastry pie filled with a soft, almond-flavored cheese curd called mattenbrij. Generally, these delicious Flemish pies are made in the town of Geraardsbergen as well as the neighboring village of Lierde.
The production of this pie relies heavily on dairy products from the Geraardsbergen region because the original mattentaarts are made using only fresh milk, butter, and buttermilk that comes from local farms.
Although mattentaart’s origins can be traced back to the Middle Ages, the oldest known recipe for this pie is found in the book Een Notabel Boecxken van Cokeryen. It is the first cookbook in Dutch and was written and published by Thomas van der Noot in 1514.
Later this pie was even depicted by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, the Flemish Renaissance painter and graphic designer, in his 1567 painting The Peasant Wedding.
In 2006, the European Union declared this cake a protected regional product. This means that a cake can only be called mattetaart if it is produced in Geraardsbergen although mattentaart is now well known throughout Belgium and abroad.
- Couque de Dinant
Couque de Dinant is a Belgian dessert originally from Dinant in Wallonia. It is a hard sweet biscuit made using only two ingredients, namely flour and honey. According to legend, when in 1466 the city was besieged, these two materials were the only materials left.
The hard biscuit consistency comes from the dough being cooked at a very high temperature, 300 °C, for up to 15 minutes which makes the honey caramelized. Coques come in many forms such as people, animals, flowers, and even landscapes. This cake can also be stored for a long time and used for Christmas tree decorations or commemorating special occasions.
What’s even cooler is that these tough biscuits are given by Dinant residents to small children so that their gums are stronger. That said, the best way to eat it is to break it into small pieces and slowly melt it in your mouth so that the honey taste can be released.
- Belgian Waffles
Waffles are a typical Belgian dessert that many people are familiar with. The info not many people know is that waffles in Belgium have several variations and Belgian waffles in Belgium don’t exist. On the other hand, there are variants in each region and the two best known are the gaufres de Liège, also known as the gaufres de chasse or hunting waffle, and the Brussels waffle.
Waffle Liège is the latest version of the two variants, but many say that Waffle Liège is better. Liège is made from brioche bread dough which is then mixed with pearl sugar and turns caramelized when baked. These denser, thicker, and sweeter waffles are some of the most popular around Belgium.
In contrast to Liège waffles, which are uneven, Brussels waffles are lighter in texture, crispier, and easily recognizable by their shape. These waffles have the perfect rectangular shape. The ingredient for making Brussels waffles is a dough that uses egg whites or yeast and is generally served plain or with a sprinkle of confectioner’s sugar.
These two waffles can be found in roadside stalls, restaurants, and gauferies or tea rooms throughout Belgium. In addition, there is also a thin and crunchy version of the waffle which generally comes from west Flanders, called boterwafel in Flanders or Galette au Beurre in Wallonia.
Mastel is a traditional Belgian bread originating from Ghent. The bread is similar to a bagel and is generally cut in half, then buttered and sprinkled with brown sugar. Then the piece was placed between the pieces of aluminum foil and ironed. The ironing process makes the sugar caramelize and makes the mastel flat.
In the past, mastels were ironed using a real clothes iron, but nowadays these cakes are generally heated and flattened using a machine that looks similar to a panini press. This sweet treat can be sampled during August at the Patershol celebrations.
Stofé is originally from the city of Wavre in the Wallonian region of France, Belgium. This Belgian dessert is a popular sweet cheesecake. Cottage cheese, also known as stofé in Walloon, is made by mixing bitter and sweet meringue and almonds and then pouring it over a slice of apple.
Jodoigne, a neighboring town also has a souffle-like version called the blanke doréye. In this case, the almonds are replaced with a dash of vanilla and the apple slices with a mash. Regardless of how it is made, the cheese used must be of high-quality cottage cheese because this is what makes this dessert unique.
Like its neighboring country, the Netherlands, Belgium also has pancakes. Pannenkoeken is a typical Belgian dessert, especially in Flanders. These pancakes are made using dough of flour (or buckwheat), eggs, milk, and salt. What sets them apart from North American pancakes is that Belgian pancakes are larger and thinner but thicker than French crêpes.
Pannenkoeken can be eaten sweet or savory and added with toppings such as cheese, bacon, raisins, candied ginger, apple slices, and smoked salmon. These pancakes can be filled with a variety of desired ingredients. The final garnish for pancakes is Stroop, a thick saccharin syrup, usually added to create a dessert version.
- Liers Vlaaike
This sweet and warm cake takes the form of a tart and is one of Belgium’s most famous desserts. This delicious Liers vlaaike is made exclusively in the Flemish city of Lier. This cake consists of a thin crust of pâté brisée and is filled with a thick, creamy puree.
The base of the cake is unsweetened shortbread. Meanwhile, the aromatic filling is in the form of coarse breadcrumbs, milk, candy syrup, and flour. Its warm taste comes from a secret blend of spices including cloves, cinnamon, coriander, and nutmeg.
The original recipe is believed to be over 300 years old, which makes liers vlaaike one of the oldest baked goods from the province of Antwerp.
Appleflap is undoubtedly one of the most popular desserts in Belgium. It is also the best comfort food. Appleflap is also called one of the easiest foods to make. The popularity of appelflap or Chausson aux Pommes is comparable to the popularity of apple turnover in England.
This cake is a pastry filled with a mixture of apples, cinnamon, and sometimes almond paste, raisins, or currants, then sprinkled with sugar. When the dough is put in the oven, the apples turn sweet and sticky. The trick to making the best appelflaps is to bake them using real butter and for the filling use greenish yellow apples.
As a finishing touch, you can add a pinch of grated lemon zest and rum powder for extra flavor. Hot coffee or iced coffee can be friends to eat this cake.
Sneeuwballen or flaming snowballs is a typical Belgian dessert that is only available from September to March. This is a traditional Belgian sweet consisting of a vanilla custard topped with dark Belgian chocolate and sprinkled with icing sugar.
Although the Larmuseau brand still keeps its recipe secret and keeps its recipe tight, it is known that the perfect sneeuwbal will break when you bite it and will melt on the tongue. Invented in the early 20th century, this delicious snack was invented by August Larmuseau of Ghent.
- La Dame Blanche
La Dame Blanche is a Belgian twist to a hot fudge sundae. This Belgian dessert is served in a glass and is in the form of vanilla ice cream topped with fresh whipped cream, cherries, and a special warm au chocolat sauce made from heavy cream, bitter chocolate, and butter.
A special touch to La Dame Blanche is usually a dessert beer like the Cherish Raspberry Lambic. Named after the famous French opera by Scottish writer Sir Walter Scott, this dessert is commonly found in most Belgian restaurants. The perfect accompaniment to this classic dessert is a Cherish Raspberry and a Belgian Lambic beer.
These 10 typical Belgian desserts are so tempting. It turns out that apart from being famous for its chocolate products, Belgium also has delicious and appetizing desserts. Sweet food lovers will be immediately attracted.
There is also one Belgian dessert that is unique because it is deliberately given to children so that they have good gums. Do you know what the name of that dessert is?