Sometimes when you go to your favorite coffee shop you want more than just some caffeinated joy. A light snack of some sort is in order. Perhaps something sweet to reward yourself with. Plus, who doesn’t like local and hand-crafted?

For ADEC’s Gaining Grounds Coffee House, adding Nappanee’s Dutch Waffle Company’s delicious stroopwafels to the snack menu was a simple decision. The tasty treats are the second locally-sourced addition to Gaining Grounds’ lineup recently joining a switch to Goshen-based Refinery Coffee Company for the featured product of any coffee shop – the coffee.

“We have a real focus on trying to do local partnerships,” ADEC President and CEO Donna Belusar said. “We just changed our coffee to the Refinery out of Goshen and it’s absolutely delicious. This Dutch Waffle partnership really blends in with our attempts to bring the community in and get more interaction for our clients.”

Stroopwafel translated to “syrup waffle” in English and is a pair of wafer cookies bound by a caramel filling. They work perfectly with a hot drink or event just on their own. It is a unique treat from the Netherlands which has been recently introduced to this area by the Dutch Waffle Company and the husband-and-wife team of Bianca Elisabeth Letens-Van der Gaag and Patrick Letens.

“Once people try them, they like them and they often have them again,” lead barista Scott Fowler said of the reaction to the caramelly treats since their debut shortly before Gaining Grounds had to close down in March amidst the pandemic. “They’re fresher and softer than people expect and have a homemade taste. It’s also great that we’re helping another local business and that local business is helping us.”

Dutch natives who returned to the United States this past fall after living in Germany, the Letens’ embarked on making their niche treat an area snack staple and found one of its first customers in ADEC’s Gaining Grounds. The concept reminded Patrick of a chain back home.

“In the Netherlands, one thing that’s very big for people (with IDDs) to get into restaurants as help,” Patrick said. “They have a whole chain where people (with IDDs) are the waiters and learn job skills. They always have a buddy that helps them, but they take the order and stuff. They are always busy. They aren’t tucked away somewhere. My former employer always had his meetings there.”

Many may think they know stroopwafels from when they are served on early morning United Airlines flights, but they haven’t tried the fresh chewy ones available at Gaining Grounds. The Dutch Waffle variety has no artificial flavors or preservatives so they aren’t cracker-like stiff like the airline variety with which most Americans would solely be familiar. Gaining Grounds sells single, two and eight-packs of the treats in regular and gluten-free varieties.

So, as if helping support a great cause while having a delicious coffee drink wasn’t enough, there is now one more tasty and local reason to visit ADEC’s Gaining Grounds.