Delving into Bruges – All about Frites!!!

I’m happy to identify with the cliche – I’m Irish and I LOVE my spuds!   So on a recent trip to Bruges,  I had to take myself off to the FRIET MUSEUM – the only one in the world dedicated to fries!

The building itself dates back to the 14th century and displays are spread over a few floors – going through the history of the potato,  showcasing farming techniques and tools and moving on to the preparation of frites – with the option of sampling the product in the medieval cellars before you leave.

friet

So what can one possibly discover in a Friet Museum ?

Read on and learn my friend!

 

1. There are more types of spud in the world than I ever imagined!

 

IMG-20191030-WA0011

 

Won’t see many of these in Tesco!

20191006_151906

 

Luckily this potato was never introduced to Ireland!!!

20191006_152022

 

20191006_152005

 

2. A very brief history of the potato

First cultivated by Peruvian Incas around 8000 – 5000BC

Introduced to Europe by the Spanish in 16th century.

Sir Walter Raleigh owned vast tracts of land in Ireland and that is why he is accredited with the introduction of the potato there.   Irish climate was perfect for cultivation.  Eventually Ireland was to become almost totally dependent on the potato as a primary food source.  In the 1840’s,  a catastrophic famine occurred when a fungus wiped out the crop.

Today the potato is the world’s 4th largest food crop after rice,  wheat and maize.

In 1995,  potato plants became the first food grown in space.

 

3. So did fries originate in Belgium?

There’s no historical evidence alas that this is where they originated.   The most popular story is that residents along the River Meuse used to catch small fish and fry them before eating.  In the 1750’s a series of harsh winters meant there was no fishing on the frozen river.  So the residents cut potatoes into small slices resembling the fish and fried them …. and the rest is history!!!

 

4. There are fries … and there are fries….

Friet-Museum-Types-of-Belgian-Fries

 

5. But why do we say French Fries?

The story goes that during the First World War,  Belgian Soldiers shared their frites with US troops.  The US soldiers thought the others were French and so called the frites ‘French Fries’.

 

6. There’s more than one way to chip a chip!

20191006_153556

 

20191006_153550

 

7. What makes the Belgian frite so special?

Belgian fries are unique in that they are cooked in two separate phases and served in a paper cone with sauce – usually mayonnaise – on top and eaten with a small wooden fork.

20191006_153847

 

IMG-20191030-WA0007

 

8. Ideally they should be eaten on the go rather than sitting down…

 

20191006_160210

 

20191006_160614.jpg

 

9. Frite Stands

The first frite stand can be traced to Liege in 1838

Today there are over 5000 stands in the country!

In Leuven – about 30km from Brussels –  you can enrol in an academy and spend a year  devoted to all the tricks of the frite vending trade.   You even have to write a thesis to graduate!

 

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

Small Stuff

 

Friet Museum Brugge is open daily between 10.00a.m. and 5.00p.m.

Entrance Fee – €7

♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦

10 thoughts on “Delving into Bruges – All about Frites!!!

    1. I think the first time I tried chips with mayo was in Germany – 1979!. I was very wary about ordering them …. we had very little money so this was probably going to be my dinner…. I thought then that it was one of the best things I’d ever tasted!!!

  1. In a warming pie or a spicy stir fry; we love potatoes too, although while in Bruges instead of Frites we opted to sample sweet treats! Had no idea there’s a Friet Museum in Bruges! Have a good day and thanks for sharing. Aiva

  2. I missed the Museum but will catch up on that on next visit, but I’m a big fan of frites anyway. In fact, a dinner isn’t a dinner without spuds of some sort, but frites I save for ‘special’ occasions due to their ‘moreish’ taste.

  3. So interesting there is a museum dedicated to fries. We have a museum here in Tassie dedicated to ‘poo’ of all things. It’s surptisingly interesting but I haven’t been game enough to do a post on it.😁😁😁

    1. I brought back paper from Sri Lanka made from elephant poo….
      Looking forward to reading all about your museum some day!!! I promise I’ll ‘like’ anyway!!!!

    1. Well as a museum, if its going to succeed anywhere then it has to succeed in Belgium because everyone who visits the country is going to try frites at some stage. Bet half the population are kicking themselves that they didn’t think of it first!!!

Leave a Reply to WanderingCanadians Cancel reply