Belgium is a great choice for foodies especially if you have a sweet tooth. Known around the world for its chocolates, waffles and beer, you could spend your entire holiday hopping from one tasting station to the next in search of the country’s best offerings.
But what about dishes that are actually served in Belgian restaurants? Truffles are all well and good but it would be ill-advised to eat them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. So, here are a few dishes to look out for next time you find yourself in Brussels, Bruges or Ghent.
Exclaim that you thought fries were invented in France within earshot of a Belgian native and you may find a few disdained looks directed your way. There is much controversy surrounding who in fact did first come up with the idea of cutting potatoes into thin strips and frying them, but Belgians are sure it was them.
Frites, as they as called in French-speaking parts (they’re called friets in Flanders), are partnered with mussels steamed in white wine sauce to create the most classic of dishes that you’ll likely find in most local restaurants.
A dish from the Flemish side of the country, Carbonnade Flamande is perfect if you are visiting Belgium during the winter months. Making use of the fantastic beer available, it is a rich beef stew with a fabulous depth and the ability to warm you up on the even the coldest day. The meat is stewed in dark beer along with onions until it creates an intensely flavoured, yet simple, dish.
Lapin a la Kriek
From a winter dish made with beer to one which is much more suited to the summer months. Kriek is a flavoured beer traditionally made by adding black cherries to lambic beer (a quirkily produced tipple made in the Payottenland region). The rabbit meat is marinated in the beer overnight and then cooked in the same liquid along with shallots, white wine and thyme. One last flourish of preserved cherries helps to add an extra bittersweet note to the dish.
Meatballs to you and I. Boulets are usually made from a mixture of beef and pork and are served with a wide range of accompaniments depending on where you are eating them. In Flanders, they’re often found doused in a tomato or cherry sauce, whilst in Liége there are both sweet and savoury versions. The former is served with a spiced beef gravy and the latter is prepared using a local syrup made from apples and pears. Head to Balls and Glory when on a Brussels city break to try a range of different boulets.
Translated to mean ‘rice tart’ this dessert can be found in bakeries all over Belgium. Rice pudding is quite popular here, to the point where it is added to a pastry case in order to create rijsttaart. Known as ‘tarte au riz’ in French-speaking parts, it’s given a glaze of egg before being baked to give it a caramelised appearance.
If you would like to search out some of these Belgian dishes, we can help you plan your trip to a wide range of destinations. Call us on 0800 988 3369 for a tailor-made quote.