Waffles have been a bright spot for the foodservice industry in recent years. As foods trend toward the indulgent and retailers look for products that stand out, the traditional breakfast food has been converted into a gourmet snack item that can be a more affordable product to make a profit.
Many have unlocked the delectable potential of waffles with syrups, candy, breakfast cereal, and other sweet toppings. But what about the waffles themselves? Can the very essence of this dish be turned on its head to create a new way of enjoying it?
Michel Chalon has found the formula for waffle success. When he created Euro Snack in Monterey, California, it didn’t take long for his culinary prowess to earn a stellar reputation in the Golden State and beyond thanks to his signature Le Waf artisan waffles.
Chalon has gone on to provide his flagship product at everything from local street fairs to some of the world’s most prestigious events like the Winter Olympics. The traditional old-world recipe of Le Waf is unlike any other. What truly sets it apart is two factors: yeasted dough and pearl sugar.
Instead of using a liquid batter like most do for waffles, Euro Snack uses a yeasted dough, similar to a brioche. Pearl sugar, which is not easy to get in the US and thus has to be imported from Belgium, is folded into the dough. While the sugar melts during the baking process, it gives each waffle a caramelized and crunchy texture.
In the past few years, Euro Snack’s chefs have come up with new recipes that add variety to the dough and waffles. Several new flavors have been introduced, such as chocolate chips, peanut butter, cinnamon, and strawberry. For those looking for something savory, there are bacon, chili, and chives options.
Le Waf has gained plenty of word-of-mouth exposure, and in 2017 that led to an appearance on the Food Network. During an episode of “Guy’s Family Road Trip,” Guy Fieri visited Le Waf at Northstar Resort in California. The television personality and his son were blown away by the taste of the artisan waffles.
“For the past two years, I’ve really seen an uptick in waffle popularity. People know the product, they travel a lot, they go online, they call each other, and it has become more known,” says Chalon.