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Trends vs Traditional - Belgian Waffles

Belgians really love their waffles. There are so many different types and each Belgian has their own favourite type. Whether it's the Liège waffle, the Brussels waffle, or a compote filled waffle, it is obviously a staple to Belgian culture.

For Patisserie Lebeau, we believe in keeping our Belgian waffles traditional; just like the ones we grew up with. And while some trends can be exciting and fresh and new, we think that too many of these 'trends' have caused North Americans to forget what the traditional Belgian waffle is like. There's nothing wrong with a few trends and trying new things but at the end of the day, it is the waffle itself we care about, and it's the waffle itself we want to showcase.

Any Belgian will tell you that if you see a place that's selling waffles with loads of toppings, you should probably avoid them if you want an authentic waffle experience.

In Belgium, both types of waffles are enjoyed simple. Best put by Kitchen Acorn's blogger Tosh Lubek,

"Instead of thinking about the waffle as a means of holding toppings that you enjoy eating, think about enjoying the waffle. If you hide all the flavor and texture beneath other foods, you might as well just eat the toppings. It is key to focus on getting your waffle recipe perfect, rather than just piling food on top that will mask the flavour. If you want to go down the traditional route for topping your waffles, the key is to minimize. You don’t need bacon, maple syrup, or mounds of sugar. Waffles were a street food meant to be eaten with your hands – so don’t cram on the toppings.

You can even eat Belgian waffles totally plain, and this is often done in Belgium because the batter is a treat in itself. However, if that doesn’t appeal, try them with a little bit of butter and a touch of confectioner’s sugar" (Lubek).

Just like in Belgium, we keep our waffles nice and simple. With good, high-quality ingredients, the focus in on the waffle; it doesn't need fancy flavours and complicated combinations to help it shine. The only super dressed up waffle is the Belgian Way, an homage to Belgium's Fair Waffles. We've talked about them before, but these fancier waffles are enjoyed at fairs and were kind of like the Belgian version of funnel cakes, but not deep-fried. Sure, we have some waffles dipped in chocolate with nuts but at the end of the day, you still get more waffle than toppings. With our combos, we have the fresh fruit, whipped cream and handmade custard available on the side, that way you can enjoy the waffle with a little extra goodness. As Lubek says, after all, you want to the waffle, not just the toppings.

Waffles can be enjoyed at any time of the day, whether it be in the morning, as a snack or as a dessert but in Belgium, they are more commonly viewed as a snack. Both types are quick, on-the-go options that you can easily devour with a minute. And in Belgium, there is no heat requirement for either waffles. For obvious reasons, they are delicious warmed up but they can be equally delicious cold!

We've seen a few places around North America get lost in the trend of making waffles 'look pretty' and over decorate them. They get lost with complicated flavours that hide the flavour of the waffle and overpower them. Hopefully, with this blog, we can remind people that sometimes we have to bring things back to the basics!

Stay tuned for next week's blog!



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