Belgians are bon vivants. They like to eat and drink. However, Belgian cuisine is about far more than the traditional mussels and fries. The range of Belgian flavours is broad and varied, from sweets to savouries.
In the morning, you can start your day with a delicious slice of cramique (raisin bread) or craquelin (sweet bread). For those who love tradition, there is also the so-called “Greek bread”, which isn't in the least bit Greek but a 100% Brussels specialty!
Later in the day, a Belgian person will of course want to start the aperitif with a good beer. Whether it's lager or dark, or perhaps amber, white or fruity, beer reigns supreme in Belgium. Particularly if you taste one of the six Trappist beers, brewed in an abbey where monks carry out or oversee the production process.
As a starter, Flemish-style asparagus is much appreciated: who can resist the delicious combination of asparagus covered in melted butter, minced hard-boiled eggs, parsley and lemon? If you are at the seaside, you should try shrimp croquettes or tomatoes stuffed with shrimps. In the south of the country, you are more likely to enjoy a Liège-style salad with beans, bacon and potatoes or rabbit sauce meatballs, with Liège syrup and brown sugar.
In Brussels, there is more than just cabbage! People like whelks, sea snails eaten at food stalls, or stoemp, a dish of mashed potatoes with vegetables.
Traditional Belgian dishes are hearty: rabbit cooked in Gueuze, Flemish beef stew, waterzooi with chicken or fish, stewed eel in a green herb sauce, a meat roulade dish called “headless birds”, chicons au gratin, “américain” with fries… There are so many delicious dishes, with occasionally strange names, to discover and savour.
Afterwards, you can taste one of many Belgian cheeses, you will be surprised by their quality and diversity. To finish off, a good waffle from Liège or Brussels. Waffles from Liège contain lovely, crunchy pearl sugar. Waffles from Brussels are fluffier and perfectly rectangular. Unless you let yourself be tempted by some Belgian pralines, two or three cuberdons, speculoos or babeluttes from the coast.
And why not drink a small glass of jenever to aid digestion….