French fries did not, in fact, originate in France. Just ask the Belgians. They’ll tell you.
Historians have traced the origins of “les frites” back to Belgium, where they say villagers were getting their fry on as early as the 17th century.
At the Frietmuseum in Bruges, the self-proclaimed world’s first museum devoted to fries, tough topics are tackled head-on. What is the secret of making good fries? Where does the potato come from? Is it OK to mix tomato sauce with mayonnaise?
With more than 300 years to perfect the humble hot chip, Belgium now reigns as the shining star of fried starch, the culinary capital of carbs. Statisticians estimate the annual consumption of potatoes at a whopping 85 kilos per Belgian.
The other delicious food groups well-represented in the national diet – chocolate, waffles and beer – give some idea of the pleasure-seeking priorities in this part of the world.
Now, thanks to Michelin-starred chef Sergio Herman, potatoes are posh. The Dutchman’s inspiration for his chain of upscale cafes specialising in gourmet fries was simple. Since so many people already love chowing down on hot chips, it was time to respect the crispy snack and elevate it to a starring role.