Belgium is not one of those places that is
often at the top of people’s bucket list, but for food lovers (aka everyone)
it’s actually a paradise in waiting with a whole host of local dishes that are
all delicious. I’ve rounded up my five favourite foods to try in Belgium and where you
can get your hands on them on your next visit.
Before I went to Belgium, I had never even
tried mussels and had no particular desire to do so but one taste of moules frites and it’s now one of my favourite dishes ever. The literal translation is
mussels fries – which gives you a good idea of what the dish is – a big bowl of
mussels teamed with the legendary Belgian fries (the thin crispy ones that are
the god of all fries). The most common
way to serve the mussels is with white wine,
shallots, parsley and butter, however in many restaurants the mussels can now
be cooked with a variety of flavours including garlic and chilli. To get your moules frites fix, head to Breydel De Coninc in the pretty town of Bruges where
there are a whopping nine different moules frites varieties to choose from!
|Photo by Visit Flanders|
|Photo by sart68|
Perhaps one of the food’s Belgium is most
famous for is its legendary chocolate and you’ll find it difficult to walk
around the streets of any Belgian city without coming across a chocolate shop
before long. The best bit is that most of these chocolate shops will happily
give out samples for you to try meaning you can shop around to find your favourite
to buy in bulk. My favourite is artisan chocolatier Mary’s. Originally opened
in Brussels in 1919, the chain now has branches across Belgium and even a
couple in America. The selection of pralines is amazing, in particular the
Truffee Coco, which is almond praliné dusted with caramelised coconut flakes. The shops are
also absolutely beautiful, making it the perfect place for an Instagram snap!
For hot chocolate lovers, you also have to pay a visit to Laurent Gerbaud in Brussels. Pure Belgian chocolate in liquid form it is thick, gloopy
and one of the best things I’ve ever tasted. It also offers the drink paired
with some of its handmade chocolates too – but that was a chocolatey step too
far, even for me!
|Photo by Nick Postorino|
Okay this technically doesn’t count as a food to try in Belgium, but on average Belgians drink around 84 litres
of beer and the country is home to over 180 breweries, so it’s safe to say it is a pretty big part of their lifestyle. The type of beer served
in Belgium can vary from very pale lagers similar to those most commonly drunk
in the UK to dark stout lagers. One cool thing about Belgian beer however is
every type will usually have its own unique glass which it is drunk out of. To
see an example of this, take a trip to the 2be Beer Wall in Bruges, where they have
nearly every Belgian beer lined up on display along with the respective glasses. Order
one of the taster boards to try a selection (my favourite was the
cherry beer!) and take a seat on the terrace to enjoy a beautiful view of
Bruges by the canal.
|Photo by The Hostel Girl|
Belgian waffles are now found all over the world, particularly in the US where restaurants compete to see who can serve up the biggest most extravagant tower of waffles and toppings.
Traditional Belgian waffles however, known as Brussels waffles, are a bit more of a simple affair. The perfect recipe will see them crispy on the outside but light and fluffy on the inside usually topped with just a sprinkle of sugar. Waffles are available from street vendors all over Belgium, but arguably the best are found in a little tea room in Ghent called Establissement Max. This is also thought to be the first place where Brussels waffles were first ever served back in 1839, meaning you are getting a real taste of waffle history!
|Photo by Calgary Reviews|
The last of my Belgian specialities comes
in the from of Stoemp – a hearty, carby dish that bears resemblance to British
favourite, sausage and mash. Stoemp is creamy mashed potato mixed with at least
one veg such as carrots or leaks – finished off with a grilled sausage and a
meat gravy. If you’re heading to Belgium in winter this is the ultimate comfort
dinner after a day’s sightseeing in the chilly air. Brussels restaurant Fin de Siecle is renowned for their Stoemp,
which is served in huge portions!
Have you ever tried
any of these Belgian foods? What’s your favourite food you’ve tried on your
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