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    The Wonderful World of International Waffles

    International Waffle Day is on its way, and there’s no better place to celebrate than at Isle of Capri Lula. On Wednesday, March 25, Lula will celebrate National Waffle Day by paying tribute to these warm, doughy, uncharacteristically shaped treats.

    International Waffle Day began in Sweden as a way to mark the beginning of spring. The name comes from Vårfrudagen, which means “Our Lady’s Day” and in vernacular Swedish sounds like Våffeldagen which means “waffle day.” It has become a day to celebrate the end of winter and the beginning of spring with a hearty, yet light and airy meal.

    The word "waffle" first appeared in the English language back in 1725. Waffles gained mass popularity in the 1930s when companies like Aunt Jemima and Bisquick began selling dry pancake and waffle mixes. Belgian-style waffles were introduced to the United States in 1962 at the World’s Fair in Seattle, and the popularity of waffles of all shapes and sizes has persisted ever since. While the nooks and crannies make waffles the perfect partner to sweet maple syrup, there are plenty of different styles and preparations to be found across the globe.

    In Brussels, the waffles are lighter and crisper than other Belgian varieties, featuring larger pockets and distinctive square sides. Belgium’s Liège waffle is denser, chewier and sweeter than Brussels’ waffles. They are made of a bread dough similar to brioche, and feature caramelized pearl sugar on the outside. In Belgium, waffles are most often dusted with confectioner’s sugar, although in tourist areas you’ll find street vendors offering fruit or chocolate spreads and whipped cream.

    In Germany, you’ll find Bergische waffles, which are always baked into the shape of a heart. They're typically served with cherries and cream, but are often topped with rice pudding as part of Germany’s traditional Sunday afternoon feast. Heart-shaped waffles are also popular in Scandinavia, where they are topped with whipped cream, jam and berries on top.

    In Hong Kong, waffles are popular street food snacks. The dough often contains evaporated milk, which gives it a sweeter flavor. The waffles are spread with butter, peanut butter and sugar, then folded in half to eat, making them the perfect street food.

    Stroopwafels are a unique twist on the standard dish. Originally from the Netherlands, Stroopwafels are thin waffles that have a syrup filling. To create them, the waffles are cut into two halves immediately after baking, spread with a warm syrup mixture, and then stuck back together.
    In the United States, the most popular complement to waffles is maple syrup. This pairing is believed to have begun in 1789, when Thomas Jefferson brought a waffle iron back with him from France. A new trend of waffle parties began, and sweet maple syrup became the perfect topping since it was easily available from the plethora of maple trees in the northern states.

    The United States also has a proclivity for chicken and waffles, the signature southern dish that combines sweet and savory flavors to form a unique taste profile. This dish joins crispy, perfectly seasoned fried chicken with light and fluffy Belgian waffles topped with melted salty butter, and finished with sweet maple syrup.
    There are also some new trends in waffles that break from tradition in some inventive ways. At Chicago’s Waffles Café, you can enjoy green tea, red velvet and Mexican hot chocolate waffles. You can also enjoy their newest offering, the wonut, which consists of a thicker waffle batter that is deep fried into mini waffle-shaped donuts. They are then glazed with sugar, marshmallow, maple or chocolate glaze and sprinkled with chocolate shavings, pistachios or sprinkles.

    At More than Waffles in Los Angeles, California, you and your date can share The Love Waffle, consisting of two Belgian waffles dipped in dark Belgian chocolate and topped with fresh strawberries, vanilla ice cream and whipped cream. Of course, a side of maple syrup comes included.

    Even Hawaii has a special take on waffles. The restaurant, KC Waffle Dog, created their title dish by taking a juicy, savory hot dog and baking it inside of a sweet, crispy, golden waffle.

    It’s clear that the varieties of waffles available are endless, and everyone is sure to have their favorite. It’s no surprise that there is an entire day dedicated to the sweet treats. Isle of Capri Lula will be serving special waffle dishes all day on March 25 to celebrate International Waffle Day. Guests are encouraged to come try something new and exciting or tuck into their tried-and-true favorites.

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