Friday 2 May | 2014
Easter Monday: that very special annual event where it’s culturally acceptable to wake up and stuff yourself with chocolate. Specifically marshmallow eggs, chocolate hot cross buns, Cadbury Crème eggs, and… wait a minute. We can’t get any of that in Germany? What sort of twisted Christian establishment is this?!
In fear of a skinny Easter, we considered our options. From experience, baking a batch of hot cross buns is easier said than done, while making marshmallow eggs ourselves was only going to lead to another Pinterest fail. Then it hit us. The world’s capital of chocolate – Belgium – is next door!
What do you eat in Belgium for Easter? Waffles, covered in famous Belgium chocolate of course. And where do you go in Brussels to get authentic Belgium waffles? Avoid the street stalls beckoning you with their canisters of spray-cream and artificial sprinkles, because where you really want to be is Maison Dandoy.
The store is luxurious yet modern, with lots of glass and natural light, offset by dark wood, crystal chandeliers and golden accents. “We want to make your senses twinkle and dance”, reads the glamorous Maison Dandoy branding, a promise reflected in the décor and further fulfilled by the original Liege waffle and more familiar Brussels waffle.
The 185-year-old establishment began as a biscuiterie, and it is the divine butter biscuits and speculoos that have carried this family’s heritage through almost two decades.
The biscuit side of the store operates like a deli, with biscuits weighed and packed before you, while the waffle zone is equally as important with separate bar area, and table seating outside or upstairs. The waffle menu is extensive, and we spent our 10 minute wait in line trying to exclude options like hot cherry sauce with real vanilla icecream, and debating the merits of caramel vs chocolate sauce.
The more familiar Brussels waffle (left) is made with batter, and has a light and almost crispy crust with a fluffy interior. At Maison Dandoy, this so-called common waffle is exceptional, boasting a wicked contrast between buttery crunch and pillowy soft interior. A Liege waffle (right) is made with dough instead, and has a softer stickier crust while being a little sweeter, denser and perhaps chewier than a regular waffle. We order ours with a generous serve of warm dark Belgium chocolate, a real treat in itself. As waffle rookies we realise sometime after licking the plate that the Liege waffle needed nothing other than a dusting of powder sugar, and to confirm our hypothesis, we commit to a second round.
Waffles from another universe.