Top Belgian Eats and Treats
Take a look at some of the most popular eats and treats Belgium has to offer!
This is a simple, yet hearty dish traditionally served in Brussels. Purred potatoes are mixed with a variety of mashed vegetables, including sprouts, carrots, onions and turnip greens. The vegetables are served with bacon and either sausage or stewed meat.
Although Belgian Waffles are now heavily associated with the US, the kind you can get in the States are very different to the several varieties of waffles which exist in Belgium. One variety, the Waffle de Liege, was first made in the Belgian city of the same name in the second half of the 19th century. In the original recipe pearl sugar was used to ensure that the dough of the waffle caramelised in a certain way and that the end result was sweet and chewy. The crispy Brussels waffle is much lighter than its Liege cousin, due to the egg-white-leavened or yeast leavened batter used in its preparation.
The French might claim credit for French fries (skinny chips to Brits) but the Belgians are famed for something remarkably similar – Frites. These potato delights are made from Belgian Bintje potatoes and deep fried twice for extra crispness. They are served with main meals but also sold on their own from snack food trolleys. There are several traditional accompaniments, including mayonnaise and fried onion and samourai, a spicy chilli/mayonnaise combo.
As the nation which invented praline (a chocolate shell with a soft chocolate centre) Belgium is famed for its chocolate artistry. In the nineteenth century Congo was a Belgian colony, and cocoa beans were shipped to Europe from the African nation. But, as the Swiss like to point out, although the man credited with inventing the praline may have been known as a famous Belgian chocolatier, he was born in Switzerland.
Mussels, or moules, are Belgium’s national dish. The mussels are gathered from the North Sea, cooked in a savoury broth (often made up of white wine, butter and parsley) and served in large, sharing style pots. Traditional Belgian accompaniments to mussels are homemade mayonnaise and frites. A modern variation of the dish is to use Belgian beer in the savoury broth rather than wine.
Beer has been an important part of life in the region now known as Belgium since the time of the crusades. Back then Flemish and French abbeys would brew their own beers and distribute them as a method of fundraising. Now the country is dotted with over 170 breweries, producing varieties from Lambic beer and Flemish Red to pale lager.