June 26, 2018

Brussels: Hungry?

by Steve W

A short post about one of the aspects of Brussels.

After two weeks in Paris, with some great food, we found Brussels to have a few local specialties worth mentioning.

Chocolate: some of the world's finest chocolate comes from Belgium. Everywhere we went, we saw numerous chocolate shops of various brands, some of which are international and some of which are local. The first Godiva store opened in 1937 in the Grand Place, the main plaza in the center of town. Other chains, such as Neuhaus, Pierre Marcolino and Leonidas, also circle the Grand Place as well as the galleries (malls) and streets surrounding the Grand Place, sometimes with multiple stores of the same brand within a block of each other. There are also many stores of local chocolatiers, who offer high quality chocolate made in smaller batches.

There is even a chocolate factory with a chocolate covered elephant out front.

Belgian Frites: do NOT call them French fries! Almost every dish we ordered for lunch or dinner came with frites. What makes them unique is that they are fried twice and traditionally served with a mayonnaise based sauce instead of ketchup. To be honest, I didn't see them as all that special, although that didn't stop me from eating them.

Belgian beer: there are allegedly over 300 beers manufactured in Belgium. So many, in fact, that they have their own museum. And the name of one version caught my eye.

The name of this place says it all.

Lastly, Belgian waffles: I'll confess to not being a waffle enthusiast previously, but these are amazing. Light, fluffy, and covered with your choice of different toppings; fruits, chocolate sauce, Nutella, and whipped cream. There seem to be as many waffle shops as chocolate shops. You would see people walking the streets, eating them out of a small, handheld paper container, using a very small fork to try to cut off pieces with gooey toppings, as pictured below. More napkins, please!

Waffle with banana and chocolate sauce.
A replica of the Mannequin Pis outside The Waffle Factory
Picture of a man who has obviously had a waffle or two (or five)
Next up: Bruges.

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