Belgium - Culinary Travel Overview
Waffles, chocolates, mussels and beer are the things that come to mind at the mention of Belgium. There's all that and much that brings culinary travelers to savor this special little country and its unique French and Flemish flavored cuisine.
BRUSSELS - AND ITS STREET FOOD
Brussels, Belgium's historic and hip capital, has more Michelin-starred restaurants per capita than Paris, delightful cafés and a unique street food scene. Urban stalls, kiosks and food trucks dispense the ubiquitous and divine waffles (eaten as to-go snacks), paper cones of the twice-cooked crispy frites with mayonnaise for dipping, and of course there are all those sublime chocolate shops. Its bustling food markets are also fascinating to explore. Walking tours focusing on learning about and tasting chocolate are luscious fun and for true chocoholics there’s a museum devoted to the subject and opportunities for chocolate making lessons.
AND ITS BEER
The city has an extraordinary pub scene, courtesy of the country’s rich, diverse brewing traditions. There are some 450 varieties of Belgian beers and six of the seven Trappist breweries in the world are in Belgium. A beer-tasting tour provides the opportunity to learn about - and sample - many of theses renowned beers like Lambic, Chimay Triple, Faro, Orval, Adelardus Brune and Malheur Blonde in some of the city’s oldest cafés. Just a two-hour train ride from Paris, Brussels is a scrumptious addition to a France vacation and its a feast for the eyes as well. Its architecturally amazing. The city’s iconic square is rimmed with old baroque guild houses and its noted as being the capital of Art Nouveau. Many of these magnificent structures are recognized as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
French-speaking Wallonia is well-worth a trip for its rolling countryside, local restaurants serving regional cuisine (including its own Liège waffle), small breweries, cheeses – and strawberries. Strawberry season runs from May to September and the little town of Wepion is famous for this fruit and baskets can be purchased from a plethora of roadside stands.
In Belgium’s Flanders region, the medieval fairy-tale book city of Bruges with its cobbled streets and canals provides a different experience and taste. They take their artisan chocolate to new heights and honor the beer traditions. Terrific restaurants and cafés abound. Stop in for a dish of rabbit stewed in beer with a chocolate sauce.That’s Belgium.
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