It has been a winding road for Eric and Julie Jansen from their home in Belgium in 1998, to their Liège Belgian Waffle stand at Dubuque’s Winter Farmers’ Market.
Julie grew up in Dubuque; Eric in Belgium. The two met in Brussels where they both worked for Hewlett Packard. Their path led them back to the States, where they lived in New Jersey and New York before returning to Dubuque, after the birth of their first child Jasper; they also have a younger son named Wesley. Eric is employed at John Deere.
Eric’s childhood memories of delicious waffles purchased any time of day from street vendors in Belgium led the couple to choose to introduce Liège waffles to Dubuque, Iowa and Better Belgian Waffles, LLC. They ordered a commercial grade Krampouz iron from France. They also purchase the special pearl sugar imported from Belgium. Now in their second year at Winter Market, the Jansens have expanded their offerings and serve up red velvet, pumpkin spice, apple cinnamon, lemon spice, whole wheat, carrot spice, maple bacon, and even a spicy Aztec chocolate flavor. Their sons are budding entrepreneurs and have started selling dog biscuit “woofles” made out of sweet potatoes.
The Jansens caution not to confuse the Liège waffle with the light and airy Brussels waffle. Liège waffles are made from a yeast-based dough dotted with Belgian pearl sugar, which lightly melts and caramelizes throughout – giving a surprising “pop” or “crunch” of sugar when eaten. These rich, dense waffles are crispy on the exterior and soft and chewy on the interior interwoven with crunchy pearl sugar.
Eric and Julie take phone and internet orders, and they offer delivery in town. You can find them on Facebook, email, phone, or best of all, in person at Winter Farmers’ Market. Stop by. Meet the family. Learn more about these delicious waffles!