When Belgian-born Olivier Lebeau first came to Vancouver Canada in 1995 with his wife Penny Lebeau, the two professionally trained pastry chefs noticed that something was missing in Vancouver; Belgian waffles. Along with Belgian waffles, Penny and Olivier brought European pastries to Vancouver. They wanted to bring childhood Belgian favourites to Canada. So when they opened Patisserie Lebeau together on November 3rd, 1995, they knew that Liège and Bruxelles waffles would take North America by a sweet storm.
Belgium has two types of waffles; the Bruxelles waffle, named after Belgium's capital city, and the Liège waffle, named after a city in Belgium.
Instead of a paragraph listing the differences, let's compare and contrast the two waffles.
BRUXELLES WAFFLE LIÈGE WAFFLE
no sugar - pearl sugar (special type)
batter - brioche-like dough (with yeast)
no butter - butter
best served with light toppings - best served as is (or with a little bit of chocolate)
more of a meal - more of a snack
light & fluffy - dense & more cake-like
Belgians eat waffles, both kinds, at any part of their day. You can eat them for breakfast, as a snack or you can dress them up for dessert!
They are also a fantastic alternative to protein bars. We even sponsored the Ride to Conquer Cancer consistently for several years, as well as the Penticton Granfondos. Our liège waffles provide the perfect amount of protein, sugar and other nutrients for a healthier, less heavy exercise snack, with ingredients you can pronounce!
While both waffles can be enjoyed however you want them, we always recommend the original way; as plainly as possible. However, sometimes it's nice to have a few extra components to enhance your waffle experience. In Belgium, there is the Fair Waffle, which, as the name explains, is commonly eaten at fairs and are the Belgian equivalent to funnel cakes, although they're healthier! With a thin spread of freshly whipped cream, handmade custard, tart local berries and a light dusting of powdered sugar, the focus is still primarily on the Bruxelles waffle and it doesn't get lost in the flavours of its companions, but rather boosted and complimented. But sometimes you don't want everything on the waffle and that's where our waffle combos come in.
At Patisserie Lebeau, we've been doing our waffle combos for years, since we opened to be exact. Bruxelles waffles with a side of fresh, professionally made crème patissière (custard) , our own whipped cream and sweet, local BC berries and fruits.
Even though we like to stay pretty traditional with our Belgian waffles, we also like to invent our own traditions. Here is a short version of what we've created:
THE FILLED WAFFLE: one of our most popular creations, with both sweet and savoury options, like ham and cheese, peach and custard, rice cream and apple and custard.
MINI WAFFLES: a fun, bite-sized snack available in packs of six
WAFFLE DOUGHNUTS: A newer invention we came up with in the past year! A healthier version of doughnuts, which are baked in a special waffle iron instead of deep-fried. We experimented with many mouth-watering flavours, like vanilla custard, lemon custard and salted caramel. Our favourite flavour is yet to be decided.
WAFFLE SANDWICHES: brioche baked in waffle irons, create the perfect, soft but crunchy sandwiches and can contain a lot inside!
Chances are that whatever new trend you see with proper Belgian waffles in North America, their roots can be traced back to our retail store on West 2nd Avenue. Mini waffles, filled waffles, waffle doughnuts, waffle sandwiches, Liège waffles, Bruxelles waffles, the list goes on! At Patisserie Lebeau, we don't just excel at making waffles; we invent and create other ways to enjoy Belgium's favourite snack.
NEXT WEEK: 2023 Greater Vancouver Hot Chocolate Festival - What We're Doing