Taste the Difference: Belgian Waffles or Dutch Pancakes?
Perfectly golden brown on top and light and fluffy inside, smothered in white and dark chocolate chips and fresh strawberries and served with a dainty cup of freshly whipped cream. They were quite simply the best pancakes I’ve ever had. Where was I? Amsterdam, of course - home to traditional Dutch pancakes. And I ate the whole thing.
If you’re a fan of breakfast fare, you’ll fall for the traditional European foods that, while served mainly in the morning, are great any time of day. My particular favorite: Belgian waffles and those delicious Dutch pancakes. While you’re on your northern Europe river cruise, sample as many as you can, from Brussels to Amsterdam. Here’s all you need to know about these decadent delicacies.
Belgian Waffles, the Backstory
Waffles are Belgium, and Belgium is waffles. While there are plenty of other wonderful tastes for foodies here - the cheeses! the chocolates! the fries! the beer! - it is the waffles that steal my heart. Topped with whatever suits your taste, they can be enjoyed any time of day - and they’re easy to find throughout the country.
The Dutch waffle was first referenced in the 13th century, and yet didn’t make it to the United States until the World’s Fair in the 1960s. These beloved treats have been a mainstay of Belgian diets for centuries, with dozens of variations. An “actual” Belgian waffle is known by its lighter batter, larger squares and deeper waffle pockets made from 1-1/2-inch depth waffle irons. You can find them on the streets - they’re easy to carry around - and dine on them in traditional tea rooms known as gauferies.
Dutch Pancakes - or Pannenkoeken
Believe it or not, Dutch pancakes did not originate in the Netherlands, but instead in China and Nepal. The original buckwheat recipe dates back to the 12th century. When buckwheat started being cultivated in Europe, particularly the Netherlands and Belgium, a buckwheat pancake recipe was formulated. Originally, the recipe called for buckwheat, water, milk and melted butter, but the Dutch added flour, milk and eggs. Today’s Dutch pancakes differ from the traditional American pancake in that they are larger and thinner than the thick, fluffy version you’re used to. They can be served with sweet or savory toppings and fillings.
Prefer sweet? Try whipped cream and strawberries, or nutella and bananas. Prefer savory? Try bacon and cheese, salmon or creme fraiche and chives. The best part is that the Dutch truly enjoy their pannenkoeken anytime of day - brinner, anyone?
Hungry? Let’s chat about culinary-focused river cruises in northern Europe and you’ll be able to determine for yourself whether you prefer Belgian waffles or Dutch pancakes!
Reach out by booking a consultation through my Services page.