11 August 2018

Weekend Cooking: What to Eat and Drink in Belgium

What to eat in BelgiumBefore today is over, I'll have completed the first leg of my upcoming trip to Brugge. This won't be my first visit, and I sure hope it's not my last. The town is one of the prettiest I've been to.

There's more to Brugge than just a pretty face. It's one of the major lace centers of Europe, and in fact, lace is the raison d'etre for my trip. My friends and I will be attending a lace congress hosted by the local lace center.

Although we'll be based in Brugge we plan to travel around Belgium, cross the border to France, and maybe even spend a day in Luxembourg City. All the while, we'll be snapping photos and, of course, eating and drinking the local fare.

Here's what's on our to taste (or to taste again) list. We also plan to investigate some of the regional adult beverages.

French Fries: French fries should more properly be called Belgian fries, after their true point of origin. I especially love the fries from the guy who sets up a stand just below the Brugge bell tower in the main square. I, however, don't go completely native . . . keep that mayonnaise far, far away from me and my spuds.

What to eat in BelgiumChocolate: I'm simply not going to bother to get into an argument with you. Belgian chocolate (made there, not the imported stuff that might actually be made in the USA) is by far my favorite. Don't get me wrong, I won't turn down German or Dutch chocolate, but given a choice, I go Belgian all the way. My favorite chocolate in Brugge is Dumon. (photo from their website)

Mussels: You know the saying: One has to eat mussels in Brussels. In Belgium, they are generally steamed with fresh herbs, garlic, and wine and served with, of course, French fries on the side. One of my friends is a mussels freak, so I'm sure they will make several appearances on our table in Brugge and elsewhere.

Beef: Meatballs (usually a mix of beef and pork) in a sour cherry sauce is a simple, traditional Flemish dish. I don't know why I haven't tried this yet, but I plan to rectify this lapse in my culinary experience. I have, however enjoyed the Belgian beef stew, which is made with beer (naturally).

Rabbit: I adore rabbit (on my plate, that is), and Belgium is known for two particular rabbit dishes. One is rabbit with prunes and the other is rabbit with beer. I prefer the beer-infused stew, which is usually made with potatoes and mustard. YUM.

What to eat in BelgiumEel: Another regional dish is eel served in a green sauce. The sauce, if I recall correctly, is like a fresh herb and garlic puree. I'm not a huge eel fan because of all the bones, but one of my friends will order it at least once. It's a yummy dish, just fussy to eat.

Beer: Did you know there are more than 800 breweries in Belgium? It seems as if each town has at least one local beer that's worth trying. I'm partial to the darker, stronger beers, and stay away from the fruit beers. De Half Maan is one of the breweries in Brugge, known for it's Brugge Zot beer. I like the dubbel. (photo from their website)

Other sweets: Speculoos, ginger/spice cookies made in decorative molds, are popular in the Netherlands and Belgium. Although traditionally served at Christmas, they are now available year round. Waffles, of course!

Jenever: This gin-like spirit has a long history in Belgium. I first discovered Jenever in Brugge, but I have since learned there are regional variations across the Flemish region, from France to southern Belgium. We plan to visit the Jenever Museum and to do a serious tasting of the different varieties as we travel through the area. (Hey! somebody's gotta do it!)

Important Note: Because I'll be out of the country and my husband doesn't want to be responsible for maintaining my blog (and who can blame him?) Weekend Cooking will be hosted by Deb from Kahakai Kitchen on August 18 and August 25. She will be posting at her convenience, so just keep on eye on her blog. And while you're there, check out all her terrific book and food posts and don't forget to join in on her Souper Sunday linkup! Thanks so much, Deb, for giving Weekend Cooking a temporary home.
Weekend Cooking hosted by www.BethFishReads.comWeekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book reviews (novel, nonfiction), cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, quotations, photographs, restaurant reviews, travel information, or fun food facts. If your post is even vaguely foodie, feel free to grab the button and link up anytime over the weekend. You do not have to post on the weekend. Please link to your specific post, not your blog's home page.

NOTE: Mr. Linky sometimes is mean and will give you an error message. He's usually wrong and your link went through just fine the first time. Grrrr.


rhapsodyinbooks 8/11/18, 6:04 AM  

We trie different beers in Belgium, although we did not make it up to 800.... But it's fun to see so many different kinds!

Marg 8/11/18, 6:23 AM  

Have an amazing trip! I have been to Brugge for an afternoon and it was a beautiful place.

Mae Travels 8/11/18, 7:04 AM  

Godiva chocolate used to be Belgian, but now is made in the US and not at all what you are describing! I completely agree with the items on your list that I've eaten, but definitely learned some new delicacies.
All sound great.

Have a wonderful trip!
best...mae at maefood.blogspot.com

bermudaonion 8/11/18, 7:54 AM  

Oh, what a wonderful trip! Belgium has some awesome breweries. Even though they brew lambics and not dark beers, you should try something from Cantillon if you have the opportunity. I can't wait to hear more about your trip!

Tina 8/11/18, 8:11 AM  

Fabulous trip, I can’t wait to see the photos and hear about the meals. Mmmmmm.

Jackie McGuinness 8/11/18, 9:01 AM  

Beth, have a beer for me. Have been to Brussels but not Brugge, would love to.

We often have mussels here.

Claudia 8/11/18, 10:17 AM  

Your tasting list sounds seriously delicious. Have a wonderful trip; we're looking forward to hearing about it and seeing the photos.

Deb in Hawaii 8/11/18, 12:49 PM  

I am so envious of all that wonderful eating you are going to do--especially all of the chocolate, fries and mussels--all of my favorites. Here's to safe travels and having the best time. Enjoy!

I look forward to hosting Weekend Cooking and will do my best! ;-)

Vicki 8/14/18, 2:43 PM  

I'd pass on the mussels and eel. Not going anywhere near my mouth.

I hope you all have a safe and amazing trip!

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