Belgian waffle is a type of waffle popular in North America. Compared to the standard American waffle, it is identified by its larger size, lighter batter, larger squares, and a higher grid pattern that forms deep pockets.
What is known in North America as the 'Belgian waffle' does not exist in Belgium. No single type of waffle is identified as a 'Belgian waffle' within Belgium itself, where there are a number of different varieties, including the Brussels waffle and the Liège waffle. As opposed to a traditional North American waffle, the 'Belgian waffle' traditionally uses yeast
instead of baking powder
, although contemporary Belgian waffles are often made with baking powder.
Originally showcased in 1958 at Expo 58 in Brussels, Belgian waffles had their American debut at the Century 21 Exposition in Seattle, WA in 1962. The waffles were further popularized in the United States during the 1964 New York World's Fair at Flushing Meadows Park. The waffle was introduced by Maurice Vermersch of Brussels, Belgium, and was named the Bel-Gem Waffle. Largely based on a simplified recipe for the Brussels waffles, Vermersch decided to change the name upon observing that many Americans could not correctly identify Brussels as the capital of Belgium. These waffles were served with whipped cream and strawberries, and retailed for a dolla.