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A brief history of the Belgian fries

The potatoe: brought back from South America to Europe by the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century, today the potatoes are grown nearly everywhere around the world.

In 1589, Sir Walter Raleigh, a British explorer famous for his expeditions was the first to bring the potatoe to England and to make a gift of the potato plant to Queen Elizabeth I. 

The Belgian fries: in the 17th century, during harsh winters as the river Meuse in Belgium would freeze not allowing the locals to get the small fishes they used to, people from Dinant, the Namur region, Andenne, and Huy in Wallonia would cut the potatoes in the shape of fish and fry them. And that is why we say Belgian fries. Belgian national dish “les frites’ was wrongly given the name ‘French Fries’ by American servicemen when they arrived in Belgium at the end of the First World War. They named the fries after the French language spoken in Wallonia creating confusion with the invention’s nationality.

The Belgian Fries called “frites” are part of Belgium’s gastronomic and cultural heritage. You will find frites stalls everywhere while visiting Belgium.

The Belgian fries have their own sharter: the mesure of quality for good fries: first of all, don't use frozen fries. Choose potatoes with a medium-firm consistance. Not too firm not too soft.

A good frite has to be 1 cm square, rectangular, and fried twice. 

The first frying has to be made at 150° C and the second one at 175 ° C. The result is a golden fry that is crispy on the outside and and soft inside. Then you can add on the top some delicious sauces such as the mayonnaise, andalouse, pickels, samurai, cocktail, bolognaise, americaine, sauce riche, sauce chasseur, fromage (cheeze)...

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Belgian Tourist Office Wallonia 217 Marsh Wall London E14 9FJ Tel: 0207 531 0390 info@belgiumtheplaceto.be