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New statue unveiled to kick off Fry Week in Belgium

14:43 29/11/2021

It’s Fry Week in Belgium, which is why Flanders’ agricultural minister and Prince Laurent were at the same event – the unveiling of a statue – in Bruges at the weekend. The new statue De Frieteters (The Fry Eaters) is at the foot of the Belfry on the Markt in the heart of the city centre.

De Frieteters – a dude sitting on a bench eating fries – is located smack dab between two chip stands. Now tourists (and you, let’s be honest) can take selfies sitting with your own pack of fries next to the Fry Eater or pretending to nip a chip out of his cone – illustrated by minister Hilde Crevits above. (Standing behind her is Prince Laurent, who, with his facemask under his nose, is contemplating the many political gaffs that have led him to this precise moment.)

That is pretty much all that the ‘Week van de Friet’ in Flanders has to offer, aside from some Instagram influencers going out on a “fry adventure,” according to the press statement. On the other side of the language border, ‘Semaine de la Frite’ – hosted by Wallonia’s own agricultural ministry – is sponsoring a contest to win a pack of fries for a year. (Wow face)

Last week one lucky caller a day to Nostalgie Belgique radio station had to say the word frite for as long as possible – like friiiiiiiiiite. At the end of the week, the one who could say it the longest won. This week, another contest for free fries for a year is apparently taking place on Nostalgie’s Facebook page.

Fries in Belgian friture

In addition, both websites offer some interesting figures about the traditional Belgian fare. Wallonia gets down to the nitty gritty of the types of potatoes that make the best frites and boasts that the biggest processors of potato products are in fact in their region.

Across Belgium, there are about 20 producers who together process five million tons of potatoes a year for frozen products, like fries and croquettes, as well as potato flakes, crisps and more. Belgium is the largest producer of potato products in the world and ships frozen fries to 150 countries.

As for us, we walk among nearly 5,000 fritures in Belgium, and one in four of us visits one at least once a week. A whopping 80% go to a chip shop several times a year. The friture has been recognised as cultural heritage by both Flanders and Wallonia, and together they have submitted a request to Unesco for Belgium’s fry tradition to be recognised as Intangible Cultural Heritage.

Photo ©Kurt Desplenter/BELGA

 

Written by Lisa Bradshaw