When people think of great food destinations, people usually think of France or Italy. However, there is one European destination often gets overlooked. Belgium, although better known for it’s World War I battlefields and Mannekin Pis, is an incredible food destination. When planning my trip, beyond thinking about the beer, all I could dream about were the waffles, chocolate, and the french fries. And I literally ate only those three things in the 6 days I was in Belgium.
Everyone has heard about Belgian waffles. Belgian waffles are everybody’s favourite. Fluffy and thick, they are very popular at breakfast shops across North America. Waffles in Belgium are actually not like that at all. There are two main types of waffles in Belgium: the Brussels Waffle and the Liège Waffle. Brussels waffles are rectangular, flat, and somewhat crispy. They can be found on nearly every single corner for a Euro or two, with a variety of toppings. My personal favourite is slathering it in Nutella, but I like to slather everything in Nutella.
The Liège Waffle is just as good, but in my opinion, needs no topping at all. It is very chewy, with sugar baked in – what can be better? I sampled both of these way more than I should have while in Bruges and Brussels. My taste buds thanked me for it even if my waistline did not.
French fries? Please. Those darn French people are taking all the credit. Fries were actually invented Belgium and, as their culinary home, Belgium still boasts the best ones. I first discovered these gems in Bruges, where the green fry carts in the centre of town (by the famous Belfry). Double-fried in duck fat, they are crispy on the outside, soft on the inside… in short, perfection. I was so inspired I added the Frietmuseum to my itinerary of Bruges, and learned all about the history of these golden sticks of magic. I may sound like I love these fries way too much, but I think it is just enough.
I may love fries and waffles, but my reason for being is chocolate. I love all kinds of chocolate. ALL KINDS. And so, Belgium became my heaven. Every corner had a chocolaterie, with gourmet chocolate, and the best part is the free samples. After I would do the ‘touristy things’ I wanted to do in a day, I would wander from shop to shop, trying samples and buying custom boxes of Belgian pralines (basically just chocolates with some sort of filling, different than North American pralines). I bought several boxes to take back to France with me, but it wasn’t really the same as trying different kinds in a shop filled with my favourite food in the world.
Despite loving the food of Europe in general, it was Belgian food that holds my heart, and I would honestly go back there, if for no other reason than to eat.
Do you love Belgian food as much as I do? Let me know in the comments!