Top Foods of Belgium and the Beers that Pair with Them
Although we did a lot of beer consuming, we also stopped for some tasty delights during our trip to Belgium. Just like that tasty Toast Cannibale above, we tried a lot of local dishes.
For those Americans taking a trip to this amazing country, please note, beer bars in Belgium do not serve the array of bar snacks and platters we are accustom to having. If your lucky and we mean, REALLY lucky you might be able to get your hands on a meat and cheese plate, general salami and gouda. So just keep that in mind as you swing ’em back on an empty stomach.
Chocolates: Its true, Belgium makes unbelievable chocolates (Brown Sugar in Bruges might be the fan favorite). Chocolate is an art form over there. You have hand painted individual chocolate delights on display in small windows on cobble stone streets. Hazel nut, violet, ginger, cappuccino, orange, coconut, caramel, dark chocolate, white chocolate, nibs, milk chocolate…its all there and its all earth shatteringly good. During the entire trip, we carted around boxes of chocolates, to pair with beers of course! Guezes and Lambics complemented the richness of the chocolate with a dryer, tart flavor and the nutty, sometimes fruity flavors of the Briuns or Dark Ales, were emphasized alongside these treats.
Mussels and Frites: The dish that is forever associated with Belgium. The night we indulged in this local fare, we stopped at a restaurant (can’t remember the name) located along the side of Antwerp’s main cathedral. Here, we enjoyed Rodenbach and Corsendonk’s Bruin on tap with mussels cooked in the popular Belgium style beer, Triple. The wheatiness, slight sweetness and citrus components of the Triple make these shellfish sing. Absolutely ‘delish. Cooking with beer, can’t go wrong!
Chickory (Witloof) with Ham and Melted Gruyere Cheese: Outside of Ghent, at one of our top places, De Ganes (the Goose), we ordered this dish. Unique to Belgium, this dish consists of Witloof, which is chicory, which is like an endive, a root vegetable to say the least. After this root is cooked, it is wrapped in ham and smothered in a melted Gruyere cheese sauce. It is comfort food at its best, while presenting rich flavors and thick texture. The perfect dish to pair with almost any style of beer, and that, is what we did. At De Ganes we sampled, Cantillon Grand Cru, Crudde Bruin Bier and Buffalo Stout (among many, many, many more).
Aside from the three foods mentioned in this post, Belgium has waffles, stews, gelato, toast cannibal (raw ground meat with herbs on toast- so good, we swear), Stoemf (potatoes and carrots) meatballs and lots of beer. Prior to traveling to Belgium, we were unaware of all the local dishes, so we made it a point to sample them all.