In Part 1 of this post, I took you (Pirouline lovers) with me (Pirouline’s new social media baker) on a trip to Madison, Mississippi. I experienced the magic of Pirouline in person at the bakery for the first time. Now, we’re diving in for more behind-the-scenes scoop on what goes on inside the birthplace of Piroulines.
I hit the bakery floor running – keeping my hands to myself, of course. There was so much to see (and smell!), I didn’t know where to start. Luckily, Herwig DeBeukelaer, the guy who runs the place and the son of Pirouline founders Mr. Peter and Mrs. Mireille, took me on the tour himself. How special is that?
We started on the warehouse side of the bakery, which is a temporary home for our wafers before they move into your pantry. Space was bursting at its seams with the cookies that will occupy holiday tables all season long. The bakery was in full swing, with Piroulines fresh out of the oven being transported to the warehouse constantly. On occasion, the forklift drivers had to honk to move us out of the way! Herwig couldn’t resist sharing a personal story about each team member we came across. It was obvious that everyone who works here is part of the Pirouline family, and they all know – and care – a lot about each other.
Next, we traveled into what I’m calling the ‘powder room’ – not to be mistaken for the restroom. This is where they keep five-foot cubes of all the delicious ingredients that are used like sugar and flour. This area of the bakery was custom built with a wall that will easily collapse if any of the ingredients cause an explosion. Safety first!
As we transitioned into the next area, we passed giant mixing bowls of chocolate that were being stirred by large machines. Then, we arrived in a special part of the bakery, where the ovens that bake every single wafer reside. The air literally smelled like chocolate hazelnut, and I watched each wafer slide down the conveyor belt to receive its magical swirl. Of course, the machinery behind the swirl is top-secret, so that’s one bit of Pirouline magic I’m keeping to myself.
As I followed the conveyor belts where the perfectly fresh wafers carried along from the oven into an airtight bag in less than a minute, I was met with smiles from the wonderful ladies who run quality control. They hand-pick only the most imperfectly perfect wafers to share with the world. This is where all the action happens! Cans of all sizes were being filled, red lids applied and packed up ready to be shipped out to your local store. I was fascinated to see every single detail of the process.
On my final leg of the tour, I entered the mad scientist’s lab. A handful of team members built the custom apparatuses they use with the help of 3D printing. That’s right, not only does Pirouline bake the freshest rolled wafer in the world, they also build the equipment that does it by hand. This was another one of Peter DeBeukelaer’s passions. It’s hard to describe the magic happening in this area of the bakery, but I promise you- what’s going on here is special.
My journey to the Pirouline Bakery was short but extra sweet, a once in a lifetime experience. It will continue to shape my work as I share our wafers with the world on social media. Want more? Follow Pirouline on social media @piroulinewafers to learn more magical behind-the-scenes details.
Pirouline’s Social Media Baker