Famed for having the best cuisine in Europe, there’s much more to Belgium’s food and drink scene than just aromatic gueuze, kriek beers, fluffy waffles and rich chocolate. From Michelin-starred restaurants to laid-back cafes and street food vans, the country’s gastronomical offering caters for all tastes and budgets. Most dishes are based around meat or fish, with seafood playing an important role in Belgian cuisine thanks to the close proximity of the North Sea.
From late November to early January, Grand Place in Brussels is transformed into a winter wonderland. Complete with an impressive Christmas tree, beautiful Christmas decorations, a life-sized nativity scene with real animals, fairground attractions, traditional chalet stalls, an open-air ice rink and live music, the central square is bound to get locals and tourists alike into the festive spirit.
Home to over 2000 beers, Delirium Café had the longest beer menu in the world back in 2004 and they have a Guinness World Record to prove it. The blues/rock bar is situated a short walk from the Grand Place, and across from The Jeanneke Pis statue, making it easy to find.
Inside, you can choose from the Trappists, famous Belgian Abbay, strong brown beers, fruits or lighter from Belgium and the world. Or, if you’re feeling adventurous, you’re more than welcome to try some of the more unusually flavoured beers that contain notes of chocolate, banana, hot pepper or gingerbread. Delirium Café also offers gluten-free beers, and boasts over 500 Dutch gins and delicious pure malt whiskies.
The Markt is a huge square in the centre of Bruges that draws in thousands of tourists every day. You’ll find plenty of stalls and cafés serving up cheap snacks here so be sure to line up outside the vans if you need a pick-me-up. Frites with mayonnaise and waffles drenched in cream are the ideal refreshment, especially if you’ve already had your fill of chocolate.
Situated in the heart of Bruges, The Old Chocolate House is a charming family-owned shop and tearoom. It prides itself on being ‘the place to be to drink the best hot chocolate’ and is home to over 65 different drinking chocolates, but also boasts an extensive assortment of the cocoa goodness, a fine range of handmade biscuits and gingerbread and a collection of pralines that link the two.