“Syrup? We don’t need no stinkin’ syrup!”
It’s the motto of Waffatopia, the liege-style Belgian waffle company owned and operated by Brian and Andrea Polizzi. But wait…you’ve gotta have syrup with waffles, right? Nope, not these waffles. Waffatopia, which operates out of a state-of-the-art production kitchen in West Chester, PA, specializes in caramelized waffles – a unique, centuries-old European street food that’s more like a portable snack than the hot-ironed, Waffle House cakes we’re used to here in America. According to Waffatopia, liege waffles are a popular Belgian breakfast item and snack that are sold at many roadside carts and shops in Europe. Brian and Andrea combine the sweetness from real Belgian pearl sugar along with their scratch-made, natural, yeast-fermented dough to create an amazingly hearty product with a brioche bread-like texture and baked-in flavor.
I first became acquainted with Waffatopia last year, just before they were featured on the Food Network show “Great American Food Finds” (you can watch the segment HERE). I was somewhat familiar with liege waffles after eating a few at the North Market in Columbus, but Waffatopia promises that they’re different from a lot of other waffle places because they use authentic Belgian pearl sugar (instead of Swedish pearl sugar, which is more readily available and less expensive) as well as other premium ingredients. Since moving to Philadelphia, I have had the chance to talk with Brian and Andrea several times about their highly-demanded products, but I had yet to try their goods. To remedy the situation, Brian recently contacted me to see if I’d be interested in sampling a box of their signature waffles. Umm…yes. Yes, please.
My box was shipped from their facility on Monday, and was at my doorstep on Tuesday afternoon. Brian had advised me that “the experience starts as soon as you see the box!” Indeed, as soon as the box was in my hands, my mouth was already watering for a taste of Waffatopia.
The box itself was, in fact, part of the experience. Aside from the attractive, colorful presentation, it started this man/waffle relationship off with a few chuckles. Every side and flap included a bit of lofty wit.
Inside were bundles of terrific information about the company and the Polizzi’s themselves, along with several wax paper sleeves to hold your waffles, for that authentic Belgian experience.
Brian & Andrea make a personal connection with their customers by telling their story with each shipment of waffles that goes out. They explain how they started the company back in 2013, after travelling to Belgium and experiencing these waffles first hand, and returning with a vision of sharing the deliciousness of what they had discovered. It took months and months of perfecting their recipe, but they finally presented their waffles to family and friends at a holiday gathering, where their handmade, caramelized treats were a huge hit (no big surprise there).
In addition to all of the “good to know” stuff, Brian & Andrea hooked me up with an 8-count sampler pack of their famous waffles (YAASSS!!). Waffatopia creates customized boxes for each order, based on the flavors that are selected by the customer via their Create Your Own Waffle Pak or the Half & Half Variety Pack. Customers can also purchase an 8 or 12 pack of pre-selected flavors in the Seasonal Deluxe Pak or the Food Network Pak.
I decided to go about my sampling by trying the waffles strait from the package first, and then adding toppings for the second round (no, I didn’t do this all in one day). The great thing about Waffatopia waffles is that there is no preparation necessary. They are fully cooked and individually sealed right out of the box , which leaves you with no work but to tear open the package and devour. I do recommend warming them or toasting them before you eat them though, which will only enhance the experience and your enjoyment (heating instructions are included).
I immediately zeroed in on the Maple Bacon waffle. I mean, anything maple bacon is going to command my attention. Strait from the plastic (I’ll use the term”naked” for this method of consumption from here on out just because I like saying it) this waffle was delicious. The sweet and savory combination of the real bacon pieces (they don’t use bacon bits or any of the fake stuff) and natural maple extract was like a maple & bacon dance party in my mouth. Toasting the waffle gave it a perfectly crisp exterior, while still remaining soft and doughy on the inside.
I wanted to do something other than the expected (i.e topping it with breakfast foods) with this waffle, so I took Brian’s suggestion of going the chicken & waffles route. Instead of fried chicken, I opted for some of the best chicken I’ve found so far in the area – the absolutely delicious broasted chicken from Speck’s in Collegeville. I also drizzled both chicken and waffle with a little honey, which catapulted it to EPIC status!! The toppings just brought out so much more of the flavor of this waffle it was close to ridiculous. I HIGHLY recommend this one to any bacon lover.
The Cinnamon & Vanilla waffle is the waffle that started it all. It’s got a really unique flavor, developed by the Pollizi’s over months of trial and error, with whispers of both cinnamon and vanilla throughout.The caramelized Belgian pearl sugar plays a big roll in the crunchy sweetness of this waffle, and the other premium ingredients, its delightful supporting cast.
When I tasted this waffle naked, one thought popped into my head – “this would be awesome with some ice cream!!” I decided to play off of the delicate sweetness of the Cinnamon & Vanilla waffle so I topped it with a scoop of vanilla, a sprinkle of cinnamon sugar, and a drizzle of caramel syrup. Now, with all of that you’d think the sweetness would be overpowering, but thanks to the signature brioche-style dough that Waffatopia uses, this treat was deliciously balanced and was the perfect nighttime dessert.
Waffatopia has teamed up with local microbrewer, Victory Brewing Company, to offer this one-of-a-kind Sweet & Stormy waffle for the fall and winter seasons. Victory Storm King Imperial Stout is blended with chocolate, lavender and waffle dough with the Belgian pearl sugar to create this unique and tasty waffle. From the plastic, this waffle had the most intriguing flavor of the bunch in my opinion…the stout flavor and aroma was definitely there, but it didn’t overpower the other ingredients. The pearl sugar was really noticeable in these too, like little sweet pockets sprinkled throughout the dough. This was the toughest of the four flavors I sampled for me to get into, but Mrs. Grub Guy really enjoyed this one.
Although eating this with a scoop of rich, chocolate ice cream wouldn’t be completely out of the question, I really thought that sweet and savory was the way to go here. If there’s one thing I love to enjoy with a good beer, it’s BBQ, so I chose to top the Sweet & Stormy with some barbecued spare rib tips…NOM NOM!!. This combination completely elevated the flavors of this waffle, IMO. It was like I sat down at a Carolina rib shack and saddled up to a complete, finger-licking meal of ‘cue and brew!
The last flavor I sampled was the first of their limited edition waffles that is only available for the month of February, the Raspberry & Chocolate Stuffed waffle. Ok, so here’s where I completely dropped the ball: it took me about 2 weeks to sample waffles and write this post due to some family stuff, so unfortunately, by the time you read this, February is almost over, and the Raspberry & Chocolate waffle will be gone. My advice – ORDER IT NOW!! This waffle is absolutely delicious! Waffatopia hand-pipes a silky smooth blend of raspberries into their signature dough, which is also stuffed with dark Belgian chocolate, to form this exquisitely unique flavor.
I did go breakfast sweet with this one, adding a fresh raspberry puree, a bit more dark chocolate, and some whipped cream on top of a warm, toasted waffle. It was simply divine. The raspberry flavor in the dough was light, but definitely there, and the stuffed chocolate lent a sweet note without being overpowering. I wanna petition Waffatopia to make this a permanent flavor. Any one want in??
Waffatopia has most certainly sold me on the liege waffle for all occasions. Whether naked or piled high with toppings, these waffles are perfect for any time of day. And they make a great hand-held snack which will drive your dog insane with envy.
Many, many thanks to Brian & Andrea for their generosity in allowing me to try their waffles. But that’s not all….they’ve got a gift for YOU TOO!! For the next two weeks, Waffatopia is offering FREE SHIPPING to any of my readers who order online and use the promo code: TBGG. I highly recommend you take advantage of this offer, and remember they’re good for up to 6 months in the freezer!!
For all other info about Waffatopia or to place your order, make sure to visit their website HERE.
Waffles were provided for sampling by Waffatopia. All opinions are my own.