It must be said, I am a big fan of Belgian food and for me the whole country is a foodie paradise. There are top restaurants with plenty of stars but on this trip we found great quality food just about everywhere, from the more expensive establishments right to the humblest roadside frituurs where we ate lip smacking chips. Son was amazed and more than impressed to find frites on the menu in virtually every restaurant we dined in. Always light as a feather, my favourites were from a street corner in Ostend, topped with homemade mayonnaise and beyond delicious. Moules frites seems to be the national staple – that works for me. We ate seafood in different places, always fresh and delicious but the mussels – especially in Brussles get my vote every time. Available with all varieties of sauce they were just divine.
We were all in agreement that Belgian handmade chocolates are the best in the universe. The Swiss might want to argue that point, but having tried a very large quantity of chocolate in just about every town we visited in Belgium, my waistline and I feel qualified and expert enough to comment on this. Leonidas are my top pick, you buy them loose, apparently they are made with fresh cream and don’t keep well – who on earth would ever want much less be able to keep them.
The beer went down very well with Husband and me. We sampled a variety of different types, my favourite is Kriek but I am also partial to a Hoegaarden, he enjoyed Duval and Chimay but remains undecided. His argument is that he needs to return and recommence the sampling process with a larger number of items before casting his vote. Who am I to argue with that? There are more than seven hundred varieties of beer and Belgium is justifiably proud of its brewing tradition. A tiny country with more than one hundred breweries, the majority seem to be local beers and specialities of a region, city, town or village with some made by monks. The other great thing about the beer is each has its own distinct and beautiful glass. You can instantly tell by the glass what everyone is drinking, I love that.
Chocolate and beer did it for us but Son wins the award for waffle eating. Thick, fluffy waffles with chocolate sauce (you could have other flavours and whipped cream or powdered sugar) but this boy knows what he likes and it was chocolate sauce all the way. We bought them in Brussels, Bruges, Ostend, Ghent and De Panne – winners every time, he never tired of them.
The beef stew is delicious, the bakeries sell intricate and mouth-watering treats, I could just go on forever singing the praises of Belgium’s culinary offerings. We came home without any foodie souvenirs, just a few extra pounds on our waistlines (except for Son where infinite quantities of chocolate and sugar make no difference) but again, we were all in agreement that it was well worth it.