7 Incredible Belgian Desserts That Are Worth Trying
Image Credit: Unsplash

Your best travel companion in Belgium will be your sweet appetite. The nation is renowned for producing some of the world's greatest chocolate is all about sweets and desserts throughout the day. With their true belief that their sweets travel right to your heart rather than your stomach, you'll always have space for one of their mouthwatering treats.

Using the best local ingredients and drawing inspiration from French and Dutch cuisine, Belgian pastry chefs have perfected sweets that subtly entice the senses. These carefully made sweets are a delight for those with a sweet tooth. In addition to their outstanding taste, Belgian pastries and sweets are frequently visually appealing.

Gaufre/ Waffles

Waffles are the most well-known culinary icon from Belgium, and they are delicious and aromatic. The cakes are baked in a waffle iron that has been particularly built to produce a distinctive checkered pattern on the top and bottom of each cake. The cakes can be made with thick dough or thin batter.

This national dish of Belgium comes in two flavours: the lighter Brussels waffle and the thicker Liege waffle. The Liege variation uses a thick, brioche-like dough that results in a cake with uneven edges and a dense texture; in contrast, the batter for Brussels waffles is thin and runny.

Liège Waffles

One of the two types of waffles that are most popular in Belgium is the Liège waffle. Made with a thick, brioche-like dough, flavoured with pearl sugar, and cooked in a specially designed waffle pan, these oddly shaped, chewy delights are a pleasure. The waffles get a distinct caramel flavour from the melting pearl sugar that occurs while baking.

Liège waffles have a somewhat hazy history, but it's said that French culinary customs had an impact on them and that the talented Liège bakers are responsible for its fame. Usually eaten plain, these waffles in Liège can also be garnished with chocolate, whipped cream, powdered sugar, or a variety of fruits.

Belgian Chocolate Cake

It should come as no surprise that cakes made in Belgium contain this ingredient as Belgium is renowned for making the greatest chocolate. Chocolate cakes are a favourite treat in Belgium, enjoyed by both locals and visitors. Even if you've had Belgian chocolate cake elsewhere, nothing compares to the real thing in terms of flavour.

Typically, creamy buttery sponge and rich, dark chocolate are used to make these cakes. They frequently include layers of chocolate ganache filling, fresh whipped cream frosting, and berries on top. It is the ideal chocolate-loving Belgian treat.

La Dame Blanche

A warm chocolate fudge prepared with chocolate, milk, and vanilla extract, along with vanilla ice cream and whipped cream, make up the Belgian delicacy known as "la dame blanche." The dessert is a staple in most Belgian restaurants and gets its name from a well-known French opera based on the writings of Scottish author Sir Walter Scott. This traditional dessert pairs well with Cherish Raspberry, a Belgian Lambic beer.

Antwerpse Handjes

Traditional Belgian hand-shaped biscuits, known as "antwerpse handjes," have their origins in Antwerp. The cookies have been around since 1934 and are created of flour, sugar, butter, eggs, and almonds. After shaping the dough into little hands, the cookies are cooked until they turn brown.

Sold at bakeries all across the city, Antwerpse handjes are a quintessential representation of the city. The hand-shaped design alludes to the myth of Brabo, a Roman soldier who severed the hand of the enormous Antigoon, and demanded a fee from any ship wishing to enter the harbour.

Liers Vlaaike

This tart-shaped pastry, loaded with sweet and spicy ingredients, is one of the most well-known sweets in Belgium and is made only in the Flemish town of Lier. A thin, pâté brisée crust, filled with a thick, creamy purée, makes up the delicious Liers vlaaike. The filling is a fragrant mixture of coarse breadcrumbs, sugar syrup, milk, and flour, topped with a standard, unsweetened shortbread pie crust.

But the secret spice mixture that gives vlaaike tarts their fiery flavour includes coriander, nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves. Liers vlaaike is one of the oldest baked pastries from the province of Antwerp; the original recipe is said to date back more than 300 years.

Geraardsbergse Mattentaart

The East Flanders are known for its mattentaart, a little puff pastry pie filled with a soft cheese curd that tastes like almonds and is called mattenbrij. Since authentic mattentaarts are made with only fresh milk, butter, and buttermilk from nearby farms, the production of these delectable Flemish pies is primarily dependent on the dairy produce of the Geraardsbergen area. Traditional locations for making these pies are the city of Geraardsbergen and the nearby village of Lierde.

Even though mattentaart dates back to the Middle Ages, the oldest known recipe was discovered in Een Notabel Boecxken van Cokeryen, the first Dutch cookbook, which Thomas van Der Noot wrote and published in 1514.