Recollecting Pegi Waffles’ success story in the Philippines
Liege is a city along the Meuse River in Eastern Belgium and home to the well-loved Liege waffle, a popular snack made from thick dough mixed with pearl sugar. These fun treats are known for having extra-deep pockets, which can hold generous fillings of butter, jam, and maple syrup.
Filipino diners have been enjoying the rich authentic goodness of the Liege waffle thanks to the presence of Philippine-based company, Gaufre-Wafels, Inc. Established in 1997 the company has been manufacturing authentic Liege-style waffles under an exclusive license agreement with Pegi Waffles, Belgium.
Gaufre-Wafels President Anna Roman-Katigbak, discovered the waffles while studying in Nottingham back in the ‘90s. Her research project on European Union-Philippine Trade Relations required her to fly to Brussels to conduct interviews and procure sufficient research data.
“Belgium has good affordable chow. In spite of my student meal budget, I was still able to eat well from street food and al fresco restaurants. My unforgettable discovery was the Belgian waffle. One time, I brought Liege waffles to some of my classmates, who were thrilled. It was then that I knew in my heart, what I would do next, to set up a Belgian waffle kitchen in Manila. Yes, it was totally impulsive!”
In 1997 with partially borrowed capital from family members, Anna and Chef Melissa Sison-Oreta, entered into an agreement with the mother company of Pegi Waffles in Brussels. Initially, they thought of importing waffles from Belgium but because they want to serve them freshly baked, they decided to make them from scratch. Suppliers, distributors, and ingredients were carefully selected, however, equipment and the main ingredients are still imported from the mother company in Belgium until now.
Pegi Waffles began in the early ‘50s, by Francois Doyen, a pastry chef on the coast. At that time, he produced between 150 and 200 waffles daily, which he sold in grocery shops, schools, and cafés.
By the late ‘70s, his son Jean and his wife Odette took over the waffle factory. Through their own hard work, they acquired their first automatic oven and increased their production. In 1985 Jean Doyen developed a packaging that allowed the storage of frozen waffle dough. Pegi became the first waffle house to export its waffle batter.
“We learned how to bake Liege waffles at Sir Jean’s old factory, and the rest is history. Pegi Waffles Manila is in its 25th year and in full-throttle. Today, I manage the company while my sister looks at the company’s finances. In 2019, my family visited the waffle factory and according to my son the Pegi Belgian waffle is just as delicious,” she said.
The production system in Belgium is now fully automated, a major shift from how the waffles were made when Anna first visited the company in the ‘90s. The Manila office is also gearing up for future expansion. “We are FDA-accredited and the commissary and QA team are preparing for the ISO and hopefully, its eventual certification in 2023.”
Pegi Waffles come in original Liege, Cheese, and Chocolate flavors. The waffles can be enjoyed in several ways; as a fun coffee snack, a delectable a’ la mode dessert, or a light waffle meal served with salad and omelet. Aside from waffles they also sell scones with cream, gaufrettes (thin and crisp biscuit wafers) waffle pops, and waffle pudding.
Diners can enjoy the freshly baked waffle with coffee from their small café and pick-up counter located at 333 P, Guevarra, San Juan. It is also available online via Frozen Mnl, www.pegiwaffles.com, and Pegi waffles’Facebook page via AUB Botty’s messenger.
For the holiday season check out Pegi’s delightful Christmas packs, which include Scones with clotted cream (P500), Christmas Gaufrettes (Php 35 per piece) Christmas Waffle Pops (P55 per piece), Pegi Waffles in a Christmas Bag (P500 for a pack of 8, and P375 for a pack of 6) Cranberry or Rocky Road Waffle Pudding in a box (pre-ordered at P175 per piece). Bulk orders of Dutch Stroop wafers, Scones, Waffle Pops, Cranberry, and Rocky Road Waffle Puddings, must be placed in advance.
Call +632 8 866 5132 or 0995-6246391or 0927-7720819.