“A moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips,” tradie number one warns, as his mate debates whether or not to get whipped cream with his waffle.
“You’re right,” tradie number two says, rubbing his ample, high vis-encased belly. “I’ll take two scoops of ice-cream and extra Nutella, thanks love.”
You can hardly blame him. The treats at Waffles & Jaffles are something special but you’ll have to drive to Coonalpyn to find them.
The little hole in the wall is a pit-stop for sweet-tooths, drowsy drivers, and travellers making their way to and from the south east.
The family business first started as a little Sunday stall set up by Chabane Ait-Touati (then six) and his dad Rachid.
“It started partly as a fundraiser,” proud mum Claudia says. “And partly for Chabane to have a job so that he could buy himself a computer.”
Six years later, Claudia runs the permanent waffle stop, now open Friday to Monday.
“A good waffle needs to have the sweet crunch but still have a soft inside. Key to this is the right sugar, which we import from Belgium.”
There’s plenty to choose from. Two blackboards on either side of a small service window boast waffles (four dollars a pop) with a choice of toppings including maple syrup, chocolate sauce, lemon butter, fresh fruit, and warm apple or cherries.
Jaffles (toasted sandwiches) are also up for grabs, with a choice of classic fillings such as ham, chorizo, spaghetti or baked beans with cheese. At four bucks, they’re a steal. Six dollar specials are more adventurous and include caramelised onion and Gruyère, and pulled pork with red cabbage, cheese and pickles. Wash it down with a smoothie or a cuppa.
“Our most popular items are the Liège waffle with caramel, banana and whipped cream and our curried vegetable (naan) jaffle. We’ve also started selling Dutch syrup waffles.” That’s Stroopwafels – a thin waffle with a caramel filling. These come in packs of four.
Some people pre-order via Facebook before making the journey.
From Adelaide, it’s approximately a four-hour round trip but it’s worth it. Service comes with a smile – no matter who you are.
“I’ve got a terrible memory for faces so I don’t think I would even recognise the prime minister if he came to the waffle stall.” Claudia laughs. “Perhaps that’s a selling point for famous people who don’t want to be recognised. I guess every person who stops and enjoys a waffle or jaffle is noteworthy for us.”
It just goes to show: you don’t need to be a city dweller to enjoy great food and service. Attention to detail, generous serves, cheap prices, and a genuine smile go a long way – especially when you’re out in the sticks.
It’s a way the family, originally from The Netherlands, give back to the community.
“At times we feel like Heston Blumenthal in one of his fantastical feasts,” Claudia says. “People go out of their heads when they order their waffle creation. It’s pretty special to hear their travel stories, too. We have many lovely regulars who make it the best job in the world.”
Waffles & Jaffles, Dukes Hwy, Coonalpyn, South Australia, open Friday to Monday, 8.30am to 5.30pm.
While you’re there:
Check out the town’s art projects. There’s towering silos splashed with paint (thanks to Brisbane street artist Guido van Helten of Victoria’s Brim silo fame), cup art by Hype & Seek, a giant mosaic, a community garden, and a rural art gallery hidden in an underpass.
Know a food stall, café or dish worth going the distance for? Tell us in the comments, below.