2012 was my personal Revenge of the Big-Ass Year, so I’ve been somewhat hesitant to visit Wannawafel.
I knew once I had tasted their waffley goodness, I’d be hooked. It seemed a slippery, dangerous slope, one I should postpone, given the heavenly aromas that float from their shop.
So, that I did, avoiding it for many months, but now I’ve seen the foolishness of my ways.
Ready to walk the waffle talk here in Victoria, I gave in and visited the Market Square waffle dispensary of Wannawafel. Upon ordering, she produced a frequent-waffler card with my first stamp. Oh, my. Hello, Slippery Slope.
Now, I won’t pretend I’m a master of waffles or their many applications, because, well, they’re addictive so I’ve avoided making them at home, and, in restaurants, well, who needs a 10×10″ Belgian waffle to start the day with? Hello, food coma! If you’re not pantsless and on a sofa, a 10″ waffle is just asking for trouble. “Help. I ate a waffle and I can’t move.”
But REAL waffles are unlike anything else. In true European fashion, they’re fabulous treats that are appropriate portions. REAL waffles are a treat one should get to enjoy now and then, as opposed to freezer-section Eggos.
Yes, real waffles. Made-by-Belgians toasty, buttery, carby awesomeness that few people can match.
Lemme tell ya. When I want a waffle, I’ll Wannawafel. Period. About 5-6-inches wide, these are just filling enough. A bit bigger than an Eggo Waffle, and way-way-way-way better-tasting.
These guys have a small little shop, seats maybe 15 people. There’s an itty-bitty counter, behind which you’ll see three folks banging out amazing waffles. Enter the Marchand family. From Belgium, they brought their love of their national dish to Victoria and opened this cubby-hole waffle-counter next to Market Square on Johnson in 2009. Now, they have franchised locations across the country.
I’ve only enjoyed their Market Square location, but it’s where the greatness began. They also have a cart that offers waffles on Victoria’s Inner Harbour in the summer and at some festivals, and that wafting smell of fresh-made waffles is unmistakeable on a summer day by the sea.
Wannawafel offers two varieties, the Liège and the Belgian. The Belgian is the variety you see at pretty much any breakfast joint, and theirs is likely a cut above, but I decided I’d go with the hard-to-perfect Liège waffle. If you’re in the mood for anything else, then you’re out of luck. This is a waffle shop, period.
The Liège waffle rings in at $3.58, and I decided to give into the dark side and get whipped cream and Belgian dark chocolate sauce, bringing the tally to $6.80 after taxes. At $1.50 for a couple tablespoons of chocolate sauce, it initially feels like they’re being on the stingy side, but then you taste it. This ain’t no Hershey’s syrup, kids. This is real dark Belgian chocolate chocolate sauce. It’s high-quality awesomeness. The whipping cream’s the real deal, too. None of this “whipped topping” shit.
I did see them doing waffles with bananas after I’d ordered, but it’s not on the menu. I think one of these Liege bad boys with chocolate and banana would be delicious too, and a little less sinful. Ask for info.
From their website, the ingredients tell the story: “Our Liège waffles are authentically Belgian, and made from scratch using flour, butter, milk, yeast, eggs, and beet sugar.”
BEET SUGAR. YEAST. Know what that means, friends? Good stuff. Made authentically. That’s what.
The joint’s a really small place, so if you’re not getting our classic waffle sprinkled with icing sugar to go, you might find a tight fit here. There are some covered tables out front, though, and Market Square is a lovely place to sit outdoors for a bite.
It was a chilly February afternoon when I popped in, and the place was hopping. The staff at the counter were concerned for my comfort and actually approached a customer on my behalf to try and scoot his bag off the next chair for me, but I opted to sit outdoors and I was the lone diner out there.
A few minutes later, someone popped outside to check on my happiness level. Oh, just a 9/10 because it’s FEBRUARY, is all. Waffle? CHECK. Yum-factor? Off the hook.
I couldn’t believe how beautifully chewy the Liege waffle was. The chocolate was delectable. The whipped cream, perfect. The guilt factor so high, so worth it.
I’m a believer that I’d rather have less of something done perfectly than more of something done with mediocrity, and that’s why I’d rather settle for a nice unimposing-sized Wannawafel versus some ridiculous, honkin’ IHOP bigger-than-a-plate waffle that has none of the true texture a great waffle should have, that comes with the skill of a master waffler.
Next time you’re looking for a quality treat made by a Victorian fixture, it may just be that it’s the siren call of Wannawafel you’re hearing on the wind. Don’t think about it, do it.