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Like a Liege citizen coffee

Le Véritable Café Liégeois, a great favorite of gourmands!
We know that, in the beginning, it was a café viennois, but this is
also difficult to identify… because it does not exist in Vienna!
Did you know that?
For Parisian restaurants in the 1900s, evoking Vienna was a way of associating their own establishments with the luxury of Vienna’s eateries, which boasted a sophisticated décor of mirrors and chandeliers, a charming style of easy living in venues where customers were served by waiters in smoking jackets and bow ties… Even if the customers mainly went there to talk, read or philosophise rather than to drink a coffee.
Lacking a historical recipe, the century-old tradition now says that the café viennois/liégeois is a hot sweet beverage topped with whipped cream, while it is an iced preparation enhanced with cream for others…

History

On 2 August 1914 at 7 pm, World War I commenced for Belgium following the German ultimatum addressed to the Belgian authorities. The diplomatic note demanded that the Belgians let the German troops pass through their country in order to fight against France. The government refused the ultimatum, intending to preserve the country’s neutrality, imposed by the major European powers at the London Conferences of 1831 and 1839. On 4 August, Belgium’s borders were breached by German soldiers.

For twelve days, Liège achieved resistance unexpected by both the Germans and the rest of the world, forcing the invader to commit eight divisions when it had only been planning to use one and costing it more than 5,000 men, stalling its advance towards France.

The Battle of Liège made an impression throughout the world and France immediately saluted the sacrifice made by Liège, enabling it to prepare its defences: On 7 August, Liège became the first foreign city to receive the Medal of the Legion of Honour.

In 1914 Paris, public opinion was decidedly anti-German. On 15 August, Rue de Berlin and its station changed their namesake to Liège and German shepherd dogs were rechristened to… Belgian shepherd dogs.
Any name that sounded German or evoked the aggressor was therefore held in contempt. In Parisian restaurants, café viennois was on the menu. However, Vienna was the capital of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which waged war alongside the Germans. Who would want to taste a «Kraut» coffee? Immediately, the restaurants rechristened the dessert to café liégeois.
Such is the origin story of this culinary speciality which is still served in Paris, but also in Le Havre, Marseille, Saint-Tropez, London, New York, Los Angeles or La Réunion… 

The recipe of the Genuine Liege Coffee

Ingrédients (8 people) :

  • 300 g of freshly ground coffee
  • 750 mL of boiling water
  • 600 g of sugar cubes
  • 1 L of boiled milk flavoured with vanilla
  • 500 mL of fresh cream » Whipped cream

Preparation:
  • Following the usual method, prepare an infusion using the freshly ground coffee and boiling water.
  • Place this infusion in a bowl with the sugar cubes. Let the sugar dissolve and leave the infusion to cool.
  • Next, add the boiled milk flavoured with vanilla to the fully cooled coffee and the fresh cream.
  • Cool strongly in an ice-cream maker, keeping the texture slightly liquid.
  • Serve in cups Cover with whipped cream.

Note :

This recipe includes the semi-liquid consistency of the iced preparation that Escoffier proposed in 1907 in his Guide culinaire under the name of iced coffee.
Since cooling it in an ice-cream maker took plenty of time, some restaurants took a simpler option by contenting themselves with pouring sweet cooled coffee over a scoop of ice cream topped with whipped cream… Commercial reasons were also behind the addition of several drops of strong liquor to the café liégeois, since all alcoholic drinks were sold at a higher price, giving a different taste, but still as delicious!
Competition The best Café Liégeois 2014-2018
Some venues with the Genuine Café Liégeois label have joined a prize contest organised by the Liège Tourist Office and the Liège Hospitality and Tourism School. The jury, chaired by chocolate maker JeanPhilippe Darcis, awarded the prize to the best café liégeois of 2018–2019 to the restaurant Le Bistrot d’En Face, which had already won the original edition of the prize in 2014.
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