By Ed Pavleka
www.honeystinger.com Price: $1.39
During visits to France to ride Paris-Brest-Paris I enjoyed a waffle-style snack purchased in groceries. The waffles were about 6 inches (15-cm) in diameter and came stacked in a roll like bagels.
Bet you can’t eat just one! I couldn’t. They were yummy.
I never saw a food like it in the U.S. until the new Stinger Waffle by Honey Stinger, a company with a growing variety of honey-based energy foods.
Recently, Lance Armstrong became a Honey Stinger co-owner and the Waffle hit the market. The wrapper pictures him and has this promo on the back: “One of my favorite things to eat on the bike is the stroopwafel found in northern Europe. I hope you’ll like this organic Honey Stinger version. Enjoy!”
I ordered from Excel Sports Boulder, which sells boxes of 16 individually wrapped Waffles for $18.95 plus shipping. For my order, this worked out to $1.68 apiece, or 29 cents more than the suggested retail price.
Tastes Great, Less Filling
Stinger Waffles are smaller than the European variety I liked, being only about 3.5 in. (8.9 cm) in diameter and quite thin. But they are just as yummy — not too sweet and with a crunchy/chewy texture that quickly liquefies for easy swallowing. Waffles weigh only 1 oz. (30g) and they feel correspondingly light in the stomach.
Honey Stinger says Waffles are made wholly from organic ingredients, mainly wheat flour and sweeteners. If you aren’t a big fan of honey flavor, don’t worry because it’s quite mild.
At 160 calories per Waffle, the energy load is less than most energy bars. Bars typically weigh around 50% more and deliver 50% more calories. Eating a bar could be compared to putting a log on a fire, while eating a Waffle is more like tossing on some newspaper.
Nutritionally, the Waffle is unlike most bars because it contains no protein. It has 21 grams of carbohydrate and 7 grams of fat, a relatively high 3 grams of which are saturated (16% of daily value). There are no trans fats or cholesterol and a scant 55 mg of sodium.
The Waffle is just soft enough to bend a bit without breaking. It can be carried in a jersey pocket but may not survive a seat bag. It won’t hold up under rough treatment that leaves most energy bars unfazed.
Problem: The wrapper is a bear to open. It has a wide seal at each end and no notch or other starting point for tearing it apart. You might pull and tug for a few seconds to get at the Waffle and then find a portion in crumbs from the manhandling. If Waffles are your ride food it’ll help to put a notch in the wrapper before leaving home, or just attack it with your teeth.
In late 2010, word came down that Honey Stinger is responding to wrapper complaints by switching to one that’s easier to open.
The Honey Stinger Waffle is tasty and easy to chew. It’s lighter in calories and stomach-feel than a typical energy bar. It’s nutritious in the sense that all ingredients are organic, but the recipe does not provide protein while having a relatively high 3 grams of saturated fat. Because the wrapper is hard to open and the Waffle can crumble, this is a food that might best be enjoyed during stops than while on the roll.