Love it or hate it, the black food trend lives on. Rosebank Mall in Johannesburg is the scene of its latest incarnation, a black Belgian waffle by Van De Waffle.
Launched on the first weekend of July, the dark and gothy-looking waffle sold out very quickly. It’s now available on weekends only, in limited quantities.
Before you ask, Van De Waffle makes the real-deal liege waffles – which means yeast in the dough for a lighter, more pull-apart texture, and pearl sugar folded into the batter for a golden crunch. No dense pancake batter here!
Owned by Belgian brothers Camren and Marco Vandeput, the business makes its golden treats the authentic way using their granny’s recipe with their own secret twist. Prior to the opening of the store in December 2016, Marco, the managing director, did his homework by travelling back to Belgium to learn everything he could about his family’s recipe, and trained with experts in New York.
“The yeast in our dough… makes the waffle rise and become slightly crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside,” explains Marco. “We also use imported Belgian pearl sugar. It caramelises when cooked in our Belgian waffle irons, giving off a delicious sugary gooeyness which sets the liege waffle apart.”
What gives this black waffle its unique shade? Activated charcoal (which it turns out isn’t actually so good for us), with crushed Oreo bits adding more colour and flavour. The waffle can be ordered with black ice cream made by Yococo, too, but only in limited amounts once a month. “The Yococo ice cream has a lemon cheesecake taste to it, says Marco. “It is quite unique.”
In the meantime, Marco recommends the black waffle with a scoop of vanilla ice cream (R50 plain; R57 with the ice cream). Two other favourites at the Rosebank Van De Waffle store are the WMD (Waffle of Mass Deliciousness), which is smeared with Nutella and topped with sliced strawberries, ice cream or whipped cream and chocolate sauce, and the J.C. Van Damme, which is spread with speculoos cookie butter and topped with sliced bananas, ice cream or whipped cream, and chocolate sprinkles.