One thing that I am both proud and ashamed of is that I am a gourmand. I am proud because I get to try all these different tastes and have amazing experiences related to food (like that one time I drove from California, across the border into Mexico, just to have some proper seafood :P) and ashamed because I do not exercise that much so, basically, all the calories stay where they find some place to fit 😀 Never mind those calories, though… apparently when on vacation, they do not count – or at least so I’ve been told! 😀 with that in mind, I set off on a nice little road trip in Belgium and tried to find a foodie’s 3 reasons to visit Belgium 😊 And…rest assured! Not only did I find them, I tasted plenty of them 😛
First reason: Chocolate!
Who doesn’t love a bit of chocolate? It can cure everything! (you can even get your strength up after a Dementor’s attack! – if you are a Harry Potter fan, you’ll surely get it!) If you are looking for some good ol’ fashioned chocolate, then Belgium is the place to find it. With a history of more than 400 years of producing different types of chocolate, this country practically lives off chocolate! In any city of Belgium there are for sure a few chocolate shops to cure your chocolate addiction.
If you are more of a figures person, try to calculate this: almost 600.000 tons of chocolate per year – that’s how much Belgium produces. The famous pralines are included here, as well – they were invented by a Swiss guy who lived in Belgium, at the beginning of the 20th century. Talk about history, eh?!
In Belgium, chocolate comes in all shapes and sizes, sugary or not so sugary, white, dark or milky, for children or for grown-ups. Nothing compares though with the smoothness of the Belgian chocolate. And you might understand why since Belgium is still producing its chocolate with 100% cocoa butter, which gives it the unique taste that other chocolate producers do not have anymore.
A tip for the traveler in you: if you did not manage (though I definitely don’t understand how!) to indulge in some bit of Belgian chocolate, take some for home at the Brussels airport – that’s the top chocolate seller in Belgium and the place of various chocolate figures, like the one in the photo below (the chocolate house Neuhaus really outdid themselves, creating a chocolate figure to symbolize the Atomium (one of Brussels’ landmarks), in connection to Belgium’s participation at the World Cup 2018!).
If your sweet tooth still hasn’t been satisfied yet… you’re in for a bigger treat!
Reasons no. 2 to visit Belgium: the waffles
Belgian waffles are worldwide known. We try to make them at home, but somehow, they taste different when we enjoy them directly in Belgium.
Not really known is that you have two types of waffles: the Liege ones and the Brussels one. The foodie here has tried both of them and the verdict was…
But first off, some facts on the waffles! The Liege waffles are made out of a thicker batter, similar to a cookie dough and they have uneven edges. On the other hand, the Brussels waffles are made out a lighter batter, which makes them thinner and crispier. The shape is also rectangular, with even edges.
Both types of waffles are usually served in restaurants around Belgium but, if you go for example in Brussels, you’ll have more options on Brussels waffles than on Liege ones – go figure!
All waffles can be topped with everything your heart (or rather your stomach!) desires – I preferred the ones with Nutella chocolate cream and bananas. Add a bit of whipped cream on top and you’ve got yourself a winner 😊
Oh yeah…. And the verdict was … the Liege waffle is my favorite 😛
After all this sweetness in your life, you really need to drink something! And what better option for this than..
Reason no. 3: the Belgian beer
Now… I consider myself a sort of beer aficionado – as in, I drink beer 😊 😊 Tried the Irish one, the Bavarian one… why not the Belgian one.
Must confess, nothing will ever throw Augustiner off the first place in the top of my beer preferences, but I admit, Belgian beer comes shortly after. OK, OK… let’s say close on 3 – Guinness still brings back fond memories 😛
Getting back to the Belgian beer – Belgium has almost 160 breweries on its territory. If you just do a basic math, you’ll see that there is plenty of beer to go around. Over a billion liters to be more exact – I know this figure sounds completely bonkers, but it is soooo true 😊 😊 Most of it goes to other countries, so check out your local supermarket for some Belgian beer to enjoy asap.
And if these figures do not convince you, this one might – there are over 1000 types of beer produced in Belgium. Say whaaaat? It is literally a beer lover’s heaven. As with chocolate, beer in Belgium also comes in all shapes and sizes. All colours also, depending on the type of beer. And not only that, but in Belgium you really have dedicated bars – meaning… they do not serve any other type of alcohol other than beer 😊 you’re welcome!
If you are also interested in how beer is made (you might be, but only after the first taste!), there are also beer museums – entire buildings dedicated to beer as a unique experience, where you can not only learn about how beer is made, but also taste signature beers of various breweries.
So… the only question that remains is… When is your next trip to Belgium? 😛