Monday, June 8, 2015

Café Liégeois and the Great War

  Café Liegeois in Liege, Belgium

Have you ever enjoyed a Café Liegeois? They are a delicious dessert made with coffee, ice cream and whipped cream. You can think of Them as Sunday for adults. I enjoyed one last night on a quick trip to Liege, Belgium.

Here is a recipe that uses espresso and coffee ice cream ...

One might be pardonned for supposing Café Liegeois to be Belgian. It is a French dessert. Prior to World War I, the cafe's of Paris would prepare this dessert and call it a Café Viennois.

Meuse River
Liege, Belgium
Then in 1914 the guns of August broke out and it became unfashionable for French restaurants to feature desserts that saluted the Austrian capital.  The lights went out all over Europe and even gastronomy would not be unaffected by the war.

Liege Tower
In the early days of the Great War the Germans invaded the fortress city of Liege, Belgium, which lies on the river Meuse less than twenty miles from the German border. The Belgian forts were made of concrete strengthened by earthworks. Each fort was armed with machine guns and track-mounted artillery in casemates and steel cupolas.

Belgian Soldier WWI
Liege Belgium
One hundred and fifty thousand of the Kaiser's soldiers pressed in upon Liege Who Was Defended by forty thousand Belgian troops. The initial German assaults Were repelled and the Belgian government Issued year overoptimistic announcement: "We are completely victorious.
All the German attacks have been Repulsed. "  (Source: Catastrophe 1914, Europe Goes to War, Max Hastings, 2013).

By August 7, 1914 General Ludendorff led the German soldiers into the heart of Liege capturing the city and earning himself a decoration For Merit from the Kaiser.

To the Defenders of Liege
The defence of Liege had, however, slowed the German advance and cost about 12 days. This would later be credited with helping to "save" Paris from the German onslaught in 1914. French chefs Would honor for the plucky Belgians Their courageous defence of Their homeland.

Patrie Belge 1914-18
Le Grand Curtius, Liege
And so now you know why a German invasion transformed Café Viennois into Café Liegeois!  Raise a glass in honor of the brave defenders of Liege.

Travel notes:  If you are fortunate to visit Liege in 2015 be sure to visit the Exposition on World War I in the Liege train station.  Here is the link...
I stayed at the Pentahotel which is very decent and a good value for money...  The Grand Curtius is a wonderful eclectic museum in Liege and a must for anyone with an interest in weaponry or Belgian history...

WARNING: Don't drink two Café Liegeois after dinner unless you want to stay up all night!

You can now purchase Check out Kelly's 
first book,    America Invades 
here ...    gold on Amazon ...

My latest interview for  America Invades ...  

1 comment:

Buck Thys said...

I enjoyed the Cafe Liegeois mostly for 2 reasons. First my father in 1914 lied about his age at 15 to join the Belgian army from Antwerp and fight the Germans. The second reason is that later after being wounded near Ypres he was sent to England where the Brits being thankful for the Belgian resistance sent my father to Eton courtesy of their government. After graduating from Eton he attended the University of Liege and graduated from there as an electrical engineer. I know I could now easily handle 2 of that very delicious dessert.