One of the absolute best things about travelling is trying new foods. Here’s a run down of the delicious Belgian foods we tried while in Brussels and in Bruges!
First off, we tried BELGIAN CHOCOLATE! Because how can you go to Belgium and not get chocolate? The best thing about Belgian’s approach to sweet treats has to be the warm and creamy mugs full of melted chocolate topped with chantilly cream. Tip; how to say extra whipped cream in Dutch, ‘extra slagroom’ (only Dutch word we learned and all you need to know). No matter where we went, if we ordered a hot chocolate we got the full blown experience, there was no messing around with these cups of heaven. There was always a choice between milk, dark or white chocolate and some places even allowed you to pick what type of chocolate bar you want melted into your milk (toblerone and malteser hot chocolate, here we come).
As well as that, there were chocolatiers galore. It felt as though every second store in Bruges was a chocolate store! There was an endless selection of truffles; almond encrusted, cocoa covered or alcohol filled – take your pick! One recommendation is to try a ‘speculoos‘ truffle, a marvelous mix of a layer of chocolate encapsulating a creamy, spiced shortcrust biscuit filling. Belgians seem to love their speculoos!
Next up is .. Belgian waffles! YUM. Hot, sweet and doughy – they are an irresistible treat to tuck into as you tour the streets of Brussels. After going on a Sandeman walking tour (which we highly recommend by the way! Thanks to our amazing guide Adrien), we were advised not to get any toppings to fully appreciate the waffle, and we agree! Totally delicious. But if you fancy something super extravagant, so many waffle spots serve waffles with cream, ice cream, chocolate bars, you name it and they have it! A click top tip we were given by our tour guide was to go to the smaller waffle places, and if you can find a van selling waffles, even better!
Belgian Fries or ‘Frites’
If we weren’t unhealthy enough already – we also dug into Belgian fries! This is basically chips covered in ketchup, mayo and onions or many of their other delicious condiments. If you like spice, we recommend the Samurai sauce. It’s a spice mayo dipping sauce that goes so well with the tasty Belgian fries. Simple, but oh-so-tasty! You must find yourself a ‘friture’ and try these when you go to Belgium, even if it’s purely just to say you had Belgian fries. Also if you go during the colder seasons, it’s a great way to warm your hands and feel satisfyingly full on the cheap. We went to what can only be described as a chip ‘shack’ called ‘Friture Pitta De La Chapelle’ as recommended by our Sandeman tour guide. Warning for vegetarians though – some places fry their chips in beef fat, so be careful!
Another must-try is Belgian beer! I think it’s one of the first things a lot of people think of them they think of Belgium. They are known for their fantastic beer! In Bruges, we went on a great little boat tour around the canals, which we definitely recommend. It’s a great way to see Bruges, and it’s only €8! After you’re finished touring the city, you can find little pubs and craft beer stores all over the place, http://gulfbay.com/opportunities/application1.asp?PositionID=25 or you can go for a 12 beer tasting in a little spot called ‘T’brugsch Bieratelier’. The beer tasting was such a cool way to try lots of different popular Belgian beers in the coolest little pub in the beautiful Bruges.
As for Brussels, we recommend heading to Delirium cafe! They offer over 2000 different beers so even if you’re not a huge beer fan you can always find a couple that you’ll like! One beer that Eilis ordered was the Floris mango beer, and as she waited for the pint to be served, the bar man placed a coconut in front of us! So, yep. That happened. The beer was served in a coconut! And Aisling tried a Coconut Beer and Delirium Red. We really recommend the Delirium cherry beer, there are 2 but our favourite is the Delirium Red which at 9% could get you very tipsy without even realising as it tastes so good! Everything about Delirium cafe is cool, quirky and fun!
Pizza, Aperitifs & Belgian Butterscotch Liqueur
We also went to a cute little restaurant in De Haan, called Piccolo which was Italian style. We were greeted with an orange alcoholic aperitif but our limited Dutch meant we didn’t exactly know what was in it! It was sweet and fruity and was a great start to the meal – I love this about European countries! We also got unlimited homemade bread and ordered amazing pizzas and can confidently confirm that Belgians know how to make a good pizza! Afterwards for dessert we had the most adorable dessert I’ve ever seen made up of an assortment of after dinner treats. There was a little cup of coffee, a biscuit, two ice cream pralines, one scoop of ice cream and a shot of butterscotch liqueur.
Over all, Belgium is an amazing country for feasting on indulgent foods! Between chocolate, waffles, beer and fries.. what more could one ask for! So if you ever find yourself visiting Belgium, we totally recommend anyone to test out all of these delicious eats at least once because the food is an experience in itself!