Belgium is Flavours

Some people just eat to live while others, like Belgians, live to enjoy food. Belgium is a gourmand’s paradise - good food, good chefs and a good time are the main ingredients in the Belgian way of life.

We know our classics and we know that Belgium will naturally be associated with beer and chocolate. Our brewers and chocolatiers are some of the best examples of cutting edge craftsmanship. Building further on a rich heritage and traditions, they allow their creativity free reign, always seeking to innovate and surprise you in the process.

But there is so much more to Belgian cuisine! Located at a crossroads in Europe, Belgium is well placed to capture all international trends. Picking the best of each trend, our chefs excel at creating exceptional dishes of high quality and are appreciated internationally. Bear in mind however, that delicious and original meals can be enjoyed at many places, not only at 3-starred restaurants.

The Chocolate Line ©www.milo-profi.be

The must-try foods and drinks in Belgium:

  • Beer: gueuze, trappist, wheat, red ale, golden ale… it’s impossible to name all the varieties of Belgian beers - there are more varieties than days in a year! We are certain though, that you will find one that suits your taste (take your time discovering your favourite from what will seem like a never-ending list). Every beer comes served in its own special glass and each sip you take will be a unique experience. And you know what will enhance your enjoyment of that beer even more? A typical Belgian cheese - it’s the perfect accompaniment!
  • Chocolate: the famous Belgian praline was created in 1912 by Jean Neuhaus, founder of the iconic Neuhaus Chocolatier. Only natural products are used for the pralines, and they continue to be made by hand.
  • Fries: Belgium invented the French fries! The origin of “Belgian” fries dates back to the 18th century in the Ardennes region, where people used to catch small fish in the River Meuse and fry them. In winter, the river froze over making fishing impossible so people would cut potatoes into fish-shaped pieces and fry those instead.
  • Mussels: Belgian mussels come from the North Sea and are available in all the months that have the letter R in their names (from September to April). Moules-frites/mosselen met friet, a popular main dish of mussels and fries, is sometimes considered the national dish of Belgium.
  • Waffles: A waffle is not simply a waffle. You have to make the distinction between the Brussels waffle - rectangular in shape with a light golden-brown exterior and deep wells - and the Liege waffle - made with chunks of sugar to form a crunchy coating. Want to be a true Belgian? Then remember that waffles can be a snack or a dessert, but they are never served for breakfast!
  • Speculoos: a true Belgian specialty, these spiced crunchy biscuits are traditionally baked for St. Nicholas Day (6 December). Usually served with coffee, it is believed that a speculoos a day can keep the doctor away…
  • Cuberdon: this cone-shaped candy is made out of gum arabic and is the local specialty from Ghent. It’s traditionally raspberry-flavoured and purple in colour, but over the last few years, new flavours and colours have become available.
  • Brussels sprouts: cultivated in Belgium since the 16th century, these baby cabbages are delicious when roasted, stir-fried or steamed. Try them in stoemp, a typical dish made from pureed potatoes and mashed vegetables. Another typical Belgian vegetable is the endive, often referred to as “Belgian salad”. A typical Belgian dish with endives is witloof in de oven or chicons au gratin. This dish consists of endives wrapped in ham slices, then covered in a creamy béchamel sauce and baked in the oven to perfection. Wholesome and excellent comfort food for those chilly autumn or winter days.
  • Meat and game: Belgian cuisine is often described as “tasty and rustic”, and meat is definitely part of it. Ever heard of carbonade flamande/vlaams stoofvlees or Jambon d’Ardenne/Ardeense ham? The first dish is a beef and onion stew made with Belgian beer and served with fries, while the second one is an air-dried, salt-cured, uncooked ham from southern Belgium, similar to Italy’s prosciutto di Parma. The hunting season usually runs from October to end January which is when you can try the pheasant à la Brabançonne/fazant op Brabantse wijze. Not too keen on game? Then have a filet Américain (despite its name, it’s a must-eat in Belgium!) or meat balls in tomato sauce (perfect for children).

Belgian Flavours ©Kris Jacobs / Hopmuseum Poperinge / www.milo-profi.be

The must-dos:

  • Visit one of over 150 active breweries, learn about Belgian beer culture in one of the interactive visitor centres, take part in one of the beer festivals (many take place in September as part of the Belgian Beer Weekend), or visit a stunning Trappist abbey like the monasteries of Chimay, Dinant, Maredsous or Rochefort. If you’d rather try all the beers in one place, you’ll want to visit the Delirium Café (Impasse de la Fidélité 4) in Brussels. With close to a record-holding 2,500 beer varieties, this bar is a Valhalla for beer lovers.
  • Get some chocolate directly from over 320 chocolatiers or even try making it yourself at a workshop. You can also visit a Chocolate Museum in Bruges and in Brussels. And of course, remember to check out a few of the more famous Belgian chocolate shops like Neuhaus, Godiva, Corné Port Royal, Léonidas, Marcolini, Wittamer… But if you’re looking for something a bit more adventurous, you’ll love The Chocolate Line shops in Bruges and Antwerp by Dominique Persoone, Belgium’s most eccentric chocolatier. At his outlets, you’ll find unconventional flavours such as popping candy or lemongrass paired with chocolate. If you really want to try something unique, try the chocolate shooter, a device invented by Persoone to enable customers to ‘sniff’ cocoa powder.
  • There are more than 5,000 friteries/frietkoten in Belgium where fries are served in paper cones with many varieties of sauces and dips. If you are really hungry, you can have a mitraillette, a half baguette filled with fries, meat, salad and sauce. Among the more famous friteries/frietkoten are Maison Antoine located in Place Jourdan, Brussels, or De Gouden Saté in St Peter's Square in Ghent.
  • Don’t try only moules-frites! There are restaurants that serve mussels prepared in more than 30 ways, as well as a lot of other delicious seafood. Seafood is served everywhere in Belgium, even by street vendors. For an ultimate seafood experience, go to the Belgian coast and enjoy the unique atmosphere of the North Sea. Head to De Mosselbeurs in Ostende (Dwarsstraat 10) for over a dozen types of mussels or simply enjoy the best seafood of the region at Ostend Queen (Westhelling 12).
  • Most waffles are served warm by street vendors and dusted with sugar or topped with whipped cream, soft fruits or a chocolate spread. They are so good that they will make your face light up even on a rainy Belgian afternoon!
  • In Belgium, there are more than 100 Michelin-starred restaurants. This little country has the highest density of haute cuisine in Europe. Whether you like meat or you prefer fish, whether you are a vegan, a vegetarian or an organic food lover, in Belgium, you will be sure to get good quality food whatever your budget.

Of course it’s not only what’s on the plate or in the glass that counts, but also the venue and the people you share it with. A meal becomes a wonderful all-round experience when we share it with others. Tempted? Then become a real foodie and enjoy a gourmet trip to Belgium with your family and friends!

And on your flight back, bring Belgium's acclaimed cuisine with you thank to our Belgian Star Chefs menus served in Business Class on our long haul flights out of Brussels.




Ready to enjoy good Belgian food? Don't hesitate and book your tickets now!

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