Tag: Traditional Foods of Belgium

Legendary Dishes | Pommes Frites (potato fries)


Frites are twice-fried, in oil, then in lard.

In Belgium the choice of lard is unrefined beef tallow – blanc de bœuf – the choice of oil is rapeseed, also known as vegetable oil.

  • 2 litres rapeseed oil
  • 1 kg lard
  • 1 kg potatoes, soaked 30 minutes, rinsed to remove starch, cut 1 cm thick, leave to dry

Heat a deep frier filled with oil to 175°C.

Deep-fry chips for 7 minutes at 140ºC, until al dente with some colour.

Remove to a large plate covered with absorbent kitchen paper. Rest for at least 10 minutes.

Heat a deep frier filled with lard to 180°C.

Deep-fry chips at 170°C until they are golden and crisp, about 3 minutes.

Legendary Dishes | Fricadelles Maison (home-made sausages)


The fricadelle has it origins in Europe in 1837 and 40 years later it was known in America where a recipe called fricatelli was featured in Buckeye Cookery and Practical Housekeeping published by the Buckeye Publishing Company of Minneapolis and Ohio. This was a book of recipes by home cooks. The fricatelli recipe was contributed by Mrs. W. F. W.

Chop raw fresh pork very fine, add a little salt, plenty of pepper, and two small onions chopped fine, half as much bread as there is meat, soaked until soft, two eggs; mix well together, make into oblong patties, and fry like oysters. These are nice for breakfast; if used for supper, serve with sliced lemon.

Mrs W’s recipe resolves the issue over the quantity of bread, which appears excessive until it is compared with the meatball tradition and the answer to the question, ‘what is a frikadelle?’

It is a meatball AND it is a sausage.

In Denmark the frikadeller is a meatball.

In Liechtenstein the frikadellen is a meatball served in a bread roll.

  • 450 ml milk
  • 300 g cooked chicken, minced
  • 300 g minced meat (from beef, pork, veal)
  • 250 g bread, soaked in the milk, drained, squeezed
  • 150 g onions, cut into small dice
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 3 sprigs marjoram, chopped small
  • 3 sprigs parsley, chopped small
  • Nutmeg, 5 gratings
  • Flour, for rolling sausages
  • Vegetable oil, for frying

Fry onions in oil in a small frying pan for five minutes, reduce heat to low, cover pan with a plate and leave to sweat for 15 minutes.

Place the soaked bread in a bowl. Add the chicken and meat, eggs, onions, herbs, nutmeg and seasonings.

Work into a homogenous mass, form into long sausages, roll in flour, fry on all sides in a pan with sufficent oil.

Serve warm with homemade potato fries and choice of sauce or with mitraillette.

Breads of Europe | Baguettes Maison (home-made bread sticks)

  • 1 kg white wheat flour, t650
  • 660 ml mineral / spring water, warmed to 38ºC
  • 25 g yeast
  • 20 g salt
  • 10 g sugar

Dissolve yeast in the sugar and 130 millilitres of water.

Sieve the flour into a large bowl, add the salt, yeast mixture and remaining water.

This mixture requires extensive hand kneading, to produce a soft dough that is not sticky, somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes.

Leave to rise covered for three hours, degas twice.

The dough should be shaped into long slim loaves, and placed between folds of parchment on baking trays.

Leave to rise for at least an hour, preferably two depending on the ambient temperature.

Preheat oven to 235°C.

Place a bowl of hot water in the bottom of the oven to create steam.

When the temperature comes back up to 230ºC, bake baguettes for 20 minutes.

Condiment | Andalouse Sauze (anchovy, onion, tomato sauce)

  • 250 ml mayonnaise / velouté (white sauce)
  • 250 g fresh tomatoes, soaked in warm water, peeled, chopped small
  • 120 ml tomato soaking water
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 90 g shallot, cut into small dice
  • 30 g anchovies
  • 30 ml vegetable oil
  • 1 tbsp dried herbs, chopped small
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 2 tsp green pepper
  • 1 tsp capers
  • 1 tsp dried vegetables
  • 1 tsp mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp spices (from speculaas mixture or allspice, cardamon, clove, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, white pepper)
  • 1 tsp sugar (optional)
  • 1 tsp wine vinegar
  • 1 red chilli pepper (optional)

Soak tomatoes in boiling water, skin, remove core, chop into small pieces.

Sweat shallots in oil over a medium heat until they begin to soften, add anchovies, garlic, tomatoes, dried herbs, dried vegetables, seasonings and spices. Cook until the liquid has evaporated.

Add the capers, mustard, soy sauce and wine vinegar, and, if using, the chilli pepper and sugar.

Fold the tomato mixture into mayonnaise or a velouté, blend, reheat gently and serve with potato frites or use as a dressing on a mitraillette.

Alternatively omit the blending stage and serve as a coarse sauce.

Legendary Dishes | Pâté Gaumais (pork pie)


Virton butchers Leroux-Subitte are credited with the invention of this aromatic pork pie toward the end of the 1800s, a tradition that has continued with the butchers of the region.

The pastry, which is often sweetened, is prepared with a yeast dough. Generally the pastry is the domain of bakers and the filling and marinade the speciality of butchers, although some butchers prepare their own pastry.

Recipes for home-made pies are a closely-guarded secret and coveted by family and friends.

The filling is traditionally associated with loin meat with some rib and belly meat. It is cut into pieces no larger than two centimetre cubes, then marinated for at least 48 hours.

The marinade will include red or white wine and vinegar flavoured with carrots, garlic, onions or shallots and various herbs and spices from bay, black pepper, clove, juniper, parsley, sage and thyme plus salt.

Pâté Gaumais is eaten hot, usually an hour after baking, or cold and can be re-heated.

It is celebrated every December 26 in Virton with the King of Pâté Gaumais competition for the highest amount consumed in one sitting.


  • 1 kg pork loin and rib meat, cut into 2 cm pieces
  • 500 g shallots, sliced thin
  • 125 g dry white wine / red wine
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 5 tsp wine vinegar
  • 15 g black pepper
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 tbsp thyme
  • 10 g salt
  • 10 juniper berries
  • 5 sprigs parsley, chopped small
  • 1 sprig sage
  • 5 rosemary spears, chopped small
  • 3 bay leaves

Marinate meat for 48 hours over two nights. Turn the meat from time to time.


  • 500 g white wheat flour, t45
  • 150 g butter, cut into small pieces
  • 2 eggs + 1 egg yolk
  • 100 ml milk, warmed to 38ºC
  • 50 g yeast
  • 15 g lard
  • 15 g sugar (optional)
  • 5 g salt

Dissolve the yeast in the warm milk. Add yeast mixture and eggs to the flour to make a loose dough. Work the butter into the dough in stages, finish with the lard, knead into a smooth dough, about 20 minutes. Leave to rest for two hours.


  • 1 egg, beaten

Remove bay leaves, juniper berries, sage and thyme from the marinade. Drain the liquid, leave to rest for 30 minutes, use paper towels to absorb any moisture on the meat.

Divide the dough into four pieces, cover and set aside. Take one piece and divide into two, shape into balls, one larger than the other, then into rounds.

Place a quarter of the meat mixture on the larger round, place the small round on top.

Fold the edge of the larger round into the edge of the smaller round in the crimp style.

Put the pie on a greased tray, make a small hole in the centre of the surface.

Repeat with remaining dough and meat mixture. Preheat oven to 180ºC.

Brush the egg yolk over the surface of each pie.

Bake for 60 minutes until the pies are golden brown on top.

Pâté Gaumais is produced and sold at these outlets.

BAILLOT Brothers Rue Dr. Hustin, 55 at 6760 Ethe 063/577 246
BIT Xavier Grand Rue, 43 to 6760 Virton 063/577 224
BLAISE Cured meats Place Albert 1er, 4 at 6820 Florenville 061/311 951
DE MATOS Adolfo - EUROVIANDE Place G. Lorand, 3 at 6760 Virton 063/578 870
DROPSY Roland Ruelle Giffe, 2 at 6747 Saint-Léger 063/457 300
FELSCH Didier Rue du Vieux Sart, 2 at 6769 Meix-devant-Virton 063/577 421
HOLTZHEIMER Jean Industry Street, 2 at 6792 Halanzy 063/678 579
LEFEBVRE Yvon Rue René Nicolas, 3 at 6750 Musson 063/675 747
MARECHAL Adelin Grand Rue, 88 to 6769 Gérouville 063/577 538
PEIGNOIS Claude - The heart of the Gaume Rue Dr. Hustin, 51 at 6760 Ethe 063/581 804
ROMAIN Jean-Claude Station Street, 7 at 6820 Florenville 061/311 112
THIERY Frédéric Rue du Moulin, 5 to 6750 Mussy-La-Ville 063/677 738
THOMAS Andre Rue de Neufchâteau, 2 at 6720 Habay-La-Neuve 063/422 139
TOCK Jules Grand Rue, 218 to 6740 Sainte-Marie 063/455 396

Indigenous Ingredients


THE GREAT EUROPEAN FOOD ADVENTURE | Wallonia | Frikadel or Frikandel?

When we crossed the border into Antwerp, the fast food traditions of the Dutch were evident in numerous frituur around the city including frituur centraal in the bowels of the grand railway station with its architectural magnificence.

There was the obvious cultural meld — bitterballen, frikandel, shaslik, viandel, the shoarma we had in Rotterdam, the stoofvlees we would taste in Ghent, served with fries, and the usual cultural influence from across the continent. When we got to Brussels, the Dutch influence was less evident. It was there we noticed the anomally.

It was not the metamorphosis that had changed Dutch frikandels into fricadelles, from sausages into meatballs, and into a frituur food called mitraillette. Somewhere between the Dutch low lands and the Belgian hill lands, the frikandels had lost their ‘n’!

At the time we did not give it any thought, I think we passed it off as a spelling mistake, until some years later when the debate about these fast foods focused the minds of those who wanted to sound the alarm about the dangers of food additives – ‘certain additives present in fricadelles are not recommended for health,’ they said.

Dangers Alimentaires announced that ‘the fricadelle (or fricandelle) is a sausage known to all in the north of France, Belgium and the Netherlands. Traditionally cooked in oil, this 18 cm sausage can be found in all friteries‘.

Of its composition they remarked, ‘everyone knows what is inside but nobody says it,’ that it is a top secret and they lamented, ‘Fricadelles were once made by butchers, now everything is industrialised’.

Did you see it? That ‘n’!

So we decided to resolve the mystery and soon found we were not alone in our quest. Frikadel, Wouter van Wingerden discovered, was a minced meat preparation – a ‘kind of meatball’ – with an old history. It had been in dictionaries for a long time and was still known in modern Belgian dictionaries as a meatball. He discovered something else.

Gerrit de Vries was a snack manufacturer from Dordrecht. In the 1950s he came up with a recipe for frikadel. But there was too much flour in his meatballs. He was told he was not allowed to use the name frikadel, so he changed the shape, put an ‘n’ in and the frikandel sausage was born.

Or was it?

Wouter van Wingerden revealed an earlier mention of the frikandel sausage from a 1943 newspaper?”

It does not really matter. The traditional frikandel will never rival the commercial frikadel among fast food aficionados, all they will do is show the other side of this culinary universe!

Meanwhile the frikandel Gerrit de Vries created lives on in this homemade fricadelle.

Legendary Dishes | Touffâye (fricassee / fricot / stew)

Traditional Touffâye © Florenville.org


Fricot (pronounced free-ko) is the French word for a mediocre, crudely made dish. Polite definitions allow for it to mean popular colloquial cooking. It appeared in cookbooks in the mid-18th century to describe a modest meat ragoût (stew), emerging out of the fricassée method of cooking, to fry and break. By the end of the 19th century it referred to a simply made popular tasty dish.

In the 20th century fricot lost its place as a culinary term and fricassee made a comeback as the term for a meat and potato ragoût. Fricassee then came to denote a dish containing chicken, fish, meat or vegetable pieces cooked in a brown or white sauce seasoned with herbs and garnished with mushrooms or onions, and was associated with those of little means in Belgium, Luxembourg and northern France.

Fricassee and fricot have their origins in the old French, borrowed from the Normans, and are related to festin, earlier feste (feast). The old-style fricassee or fricot is the signature dish of the Fricot Project.

But in the Ardennes and Gaume regions this type of stew became known as a cacasse, a fricassée or a touffâye, history and tradition determining the definition and the ingredients, potatoes and onions becoming the most dominant. Each region has the stew made in a cast-iron pot, to allow for traditional slow-cooking.

This is a version of the touffâye based on Anne and Raymond Draize’s A Gaumaise Grandmother’s Table. It includes the local potatoes called plate de Florenville, still regarded as the essentual ingredient in this very old traditional dish. The smoked bacon is also essential, and the sausages!

Like the Gaumaise we have omitted the flour-based sauce.

  • 2 kg Plate de Florenville potatoes, quartered
  • 1 kg onions, coarsely chopped
  • 500 g fatty pork belly / smoked bacon, diced
  • 6 sausages
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Black pepper, large pinch
  • Salt, large pinch
  • 30 g lard (optional)
  • Water

In a heavy-based pot or cast iron pot, over a low heat, gently fry the bacon or pork until it releases its fat and becomes crispy.

Remove the meat, and begin cooking the onions in the fat (adding extra fat or lard if insufficient) until they brown, about 25 minutes.

Add the potatoes and sausages, pour water to not quite cover the potatoes.

Add the herbs and seasonings. Continue to cook over a low heat for two hours, stirring occasionally.

With 15 minutes until the end of cooking, put the bacon or pork back in the pot.

Serve with a dandelion salad in summer, with boiled eggs in winter.

Legendary Dishes | Flamiche / Flamique (cheese custard pie)

The famous bread-cake tart of Belgium and France with the traditional egg-cheese filling

Flamiche was a Flemish bread tart filled with cheese custard, and then it morphed into something quite different. Traditionally made with leek in Picardy, it is now associated with a quixotic range, from the simple yet satisfying butter, egg and cheese filling to the complex asparagus, cheese and haddock filling.

The pastry is either puff, short crust or the original bread-cake dough of legend.

The choice of cheese makes the difference between a good flamique and an indifferent one. In Dinant they use boulette de romedenne but maroilles is popular. We think chaource is a good choice. Any soft cheese of Belgian and French origin is suitable.

The Royale Confrérie des Quarteniers de la Flamiche Dinantaise celebrate this iconic tart and its relationship with the town of Dinant where the flamiche legend originated with a Romedenne farmer. On the road to Dinant with the products of her farm to sell at market, she stumbled and fell. Her butter, cheese and eggs were crushed by the fall. Alarmed at the potential disaster she ran to a friend’s house. Her friend was baking bread and a solution was found. She rolled the dough thin, placed it in pie tins and filled them with the butter, egg, cheese mixture.

Bread-Cake Dough

  • 150 g white wheat flour
  • 125 g butter
  • 100 g fine semolina
  • 60 ml milk, warmed
  • 1 small egg, beaten
  • 5 g yeast
  • Salt, large pinch

Dissolve yeast in warm milk. Rub butter into the flours, add the salt, egg and yeasty milk. Form into a loose ball, leave to rise at room temperature for an hour. On a clean floured surface roll out the dough to a thickness of 3 mm, press into two round trays, around 20-22 cm, leaving a little of the dough to overlap the rim. Leave to rise, about 30 minutes.

Egg-Cheese Filling

  • 12 eggs
  • 200 g boulette de romedenne cheese / maroilles cheese, grated from chilled
  • 125 g butter
  • Seasonings

Beat the butter into the eggs. Pour this mixture onto the dough in the trays, season. Bake at 200°C for 30 minutes, adding the cheese to each tray 10 minutes before end of cooking.

Haddock Filling

  • 250 ml crème fraîche
  • 200 g chaource cheese, grated from chilled
  • 150 g haddock, poached in 100 ml milk with thyme leaves, cut into small pieces
  • 150 g smoked haddock, cut into small pieces
  • 2 eggs
  • 50 g asparagus / long green beans, blanched in hot water for 3 minutes, drained and dried
  • Seasonings

Beat the eggs into the crème fraîche, then whisk in the soaking milk from the haddock. Arrange the asparagus or beans on the dough in the trays. Follow with the fish pieces. Pour the egg custard on top, season. Bake at 200°C for 45 minutes, adding the cheese 10 minutes before end of cooking.

Leek Filling

  • 1.2 kg (4) leeks, tough ends of green section removed, white section sliced thin
  • 200 ml crème fraîche
  • 2 eggs
  • 60 ml milk
  • 50 g butter
  • 10 g salt
  • 5 g black pepper
  • 1 tsp rapeseed oil

Sauté leeks in the butter and oil over a low heat for about 30 minutes until they are soft, leave to cool. Place the leeks on the dough in the trays. Beat the eggs into the milk and crème fraîche. Pour this mixture on top, season. Bake at 210°C for 35 minutes.

INDIGENOUS INGREDIENTS =  Asparagus | Boulette de Romedenne | Cheese Chaource Cheese | Maroilles Cheese | Crème Fraîche | Leek | Smoked Haddock