Belgium

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BELGIUM

 

Belgium is a genuine paradise for gourmet lovers. (We may as well enjoy it while we can) Belgian cuisine is as good as the French one, and as generous as the German one. In Belgium, beer is more than just a frothy beverage – it is a culture. With over 780 different varieties, many Belgian beers have personalized beer glasses in which only that beer may be served. The shape of each glass enhances the flavour of the beer for which it is designed. This tradition may seem like behaviour reserved for wine snobbery, but Belgians take their beer seriously – and with good reason. The country has enjoyed an unparalleled reputation for specialty beers since the Middle Ages. Connoisseurs favour Belgian beers for their variety, real flavour and character. It is easy to see the depth to which beer has become one with Belgium’s culture. What other country has a driving tour through the countryside called the Beer Route? After a day of castle hopping, we stopped at a local bar to enjoy some chocolate with their local beer. With a choice of geuze, brown, lambic, white, chocolate, and cherry beer, you can’t go wrong. Lambic beer, which Belgium is famous for, is made with an ancient style of brewing, relying on spontaneous fermentation to produce a bone-dry, profoundly tart, and naturally effervescent drink that improves with years in the bottle – much like wine. While visiting Belgium we were also craving for quality chocolate another well-known Belgium product, it has been the food of champions, a lure for lovers, the indulgence of the rich and later, the favourite of the masses. Belgium produces 172,000 tons of chocolate per year with more than 2,000 chocolate shops throughout the country. Pralines in Belgium are sublime chocolate confections. A beautifully sculpted chocolate shell conceals a centre of filling which explodes with a surprising texture and flavour in your mouth. Many chocolatiers still make their pralines by hand. Every town and even small villages have chocolate stores with luxurious pralines. The Royal Household supplier House of Wittamer was joined by Haut Chocolatier Pierre Marcolini and by Belgium’s most famous and traditional chocolate shops: Neuhaus, Godiva and finally Cote d’Or celebrating 125 years of chocolate manufacturing in their first shop where you will find the entire collection. Belgium has a population of 10 million people of which 60% speaks Dutch and 40% French Belgium is a bilingual country 75% is Roman Catholic 25% is Protestant. Brussel is the capital city. A must is the town of Brugge (Bruges) ‘the Venice of the North’. This splendid medieval city is one of Belgium’s crown jewels. In no other European city, the feel and the look of medieval times are so present as in this city close to the North Sea.  Bruges is unique, in the sense that here the town authorities have done the utmost to preserve the medieval-looking image of the city. We feel that international this country is under rated and should be on the list of places to visit when in Europe. It was time for some R&R and found a nice spot on the North Sea Coast. We woke up to a perfect day and it looked if every local had arrived on our beach. Unfortunately, the perfect day disappeared quickly when the clouds came in around 4 PM. It was time to move inside again to enjoy our heater.