Where to start?? Probably with the beer which is synonymous with Belgium. Our blogs in Belgium are full of beer pictures but there’s a good reason for that…..the beer is amazing!
I’m not a big beer drinker but the gorgeous Mr T is partial to a pint every now and again. But in Belgium there is a beer for everyone. I have always preferred a darker beer, and boy, did I find them. In all shapes and sizes. The problem is, the dark beers in Belgium range from a minimum of 8% up to 12% (Belgian barmen will only serve 1 person 3 of these!!). As you may know, I am a cheap date (1 glass of wine and you’ll find me singing and dancing on the tables!), so the gorgeous Mr T had to keep his beady (and somewhat wobbly) eye on me as we taste tested our way from white beer to wheat beer to hoppy beer and from IPAs to blondes to darks and then on to triples, all the time having the choice from sweet to bitter. As I said, the choice is endless.
And all the time that this tasting is going on, you have to try and maintain some equilibrium. The locals do this by ordering “small plates” and every bar, big and small, will sell these. From cubes of gloriously creamy Belgian cheese to plates of mixed local salami & cheese cubes with pickles, to bitterballen (a croquette of smooth mystery meat that is enticingly enjoyable and somewhat along the line of a dirty kebab & chips after a night out!!!). But how do the Belgians maintain their figures? They must work out like demons… or collectively have the best metabolisms in Europe!! Because this is not a regime that you can maintain whilst still feasting on local delicacies like frites (lovely long thin crispy chips served with a generous dollop of mayo), Belgian dark chocolate and rotisserie chickens!! OMW!!!!
So when you make it over to Brugge, avoid the tourist areas and seek out the cafes & bars frequented by the locals. One of our best haunts was a bruin cafe called ‘T Brugs Beertje for fabulous company, great beers and wonderful small plates of snacks and go to Julie’s Chocolate House for handmade Belgian chocolates.