Belgium’s Finest: Brussels

French fries, chocolate, beer, and waffles: enough said.  I think that should be the motto of Belgium, the next stop on our four-country tour.  I, like many Americans, didn’t know that French fries actually originated in Belgium, not France.  Legend has it that the tasty potatoes got their name when American soldiers arrived in Belgium during World War I and consequently tasted the Belgian fries.  They supposedly called them “French” because it was the official language of the Belgian Army at the time.  Belgian chocolate has a storied history as well, with origins dating back to the 18th century.  However, the world came to know Belgium as one of the premier chocolate producers in the world when Jean Neuhaus, in 1912, created the praline.  Waffles are a little newer tradition.  Originally showcased in 1958 at the World Fair in Brussels, Belgian waffles had their American debut in a fair in Seattle in 1962.  There are actually two types of “Belgian” waffles, one from Brussels, and one called the Liege waffle.  The Liege is most popular, as its inside is laden with tiny sugar crystals.  I mean really, who could resist that?  With salty and sweet on Belgium’s side, I truly don’t think they can go wrong.

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