So this time last year I was exploring the delights of Moscow, where the food was amazing! Actually, by this time last year I had already been to Slovakia, Austria and Russia, sampling all the local cuisine, so I am slacking this year! However I did manage a quick Easter break to Belgium; Brussels and Antwerp. It was a quick trip so I had to pre-plan the necessities. I already had my guide of "Must Tries Foods" compiled by friends and luckily I had time to fulfil the list ;-)
Belgium, known for its beer and chocolate? Two definites on the list. When I was walking around Antwerp all I could smell was food. In particular it was the wafting scent of waffles and chocolate. Not a place to go if you are trying to diet, it is all too tempting.
Every street corner seemed to have a chocolate shop, so being a chocoholic I couldn't resist but window shop.. who am I kidding I did sample some too!
The chocolate shops I visited were quirky, probably why I was attracted to them.. I ended up buying concoctions such as peanut and wasabi flavoured dark Belgium chocolate, the traditional chocolate truffles and rum flavoured chocolate bars!! Along with the chocolate bars I also sampled a few miniature treats, such as a pistachio and chocolate cake with a dark Belgium hot chocolate. For me food heaven, well it was Easter after all so chocolate is the norm right?
If that wasn't enough chocolate I also sampled chocolate topped waffles. Yes the traditional waffle covered in dark Belgium chocolate from one of the must visits in Antwerp, the "Waffle Factory". A famous little spot to get the best waffles, but a good tip, go early as once they have sold out that is your lot (I learnt the hard way)!
Although the chocolate waffle was amazing, I really wanted to go and try the savoury waffles. They had waffles stuffed with veggie and meat options! I had the Med Veg inspired one: Pesto, Goats Cheese and Sundried Tomato. It was great.. I was so happy to try it as the first day I went, they were sold out- so I made sure I got there early the next day! I went with Dasha so even better for me, It meant we could have half and half, so I got to sample the sweet and savoury and not feel too stuffed. They have so many savoury options, if I was there longer I would want to try more! I defo preferred the savoury to the sweet, it made a nice change (and meant waffles were acceptable for breakfast, lunch or dinner).
Another must on the list a friend suggested to me was chips and mayo? I know, It sounds like hangover food (to me too), but actually it was a popular all-round. "Frites Atelier", the most upmarket chip shop I have ever seen! I was a chip convert! With their homemade mayos to accompany the variety of chip combos served, I was torn between truffle or nuts chips?
I opted for chips topped with cabbage, old mimolette cheese, truffle and roasted hazelnuts, with truffle mayo. Never a combo I would consider but this was genius, honestly the best chips I have ever eaten.. Dasha had chips topped with pulled pork, jalapenos, rocket and cheese (not for me but it did look good).. we shared samples of all the mayos too, from jalapeno to truffle to curry... I would recommend a visit here if you go to Antwerp! Be prepared to queue though, this place is popular!
Along with the traditional eats I also found the Vegan alternatives.. a chain, but "EXKI" was a handy lunch spot serving healthy, gluten free and vegan goodies.. Homemade soups, GF sarnies and salads, plenty of combos to choose from. I also stumbled across a little Japanese cafe. The family run cafe was a great find. On a sunny spring day, finding a spot that served iced Matcha latte was the place for me. The staff were so friendly, we spent time chatting whilst I was watching her make and bake Matcha cookies.. I waited around for them to bake as she suggested I try them, they are so popular they sell out fast. Gooey white choco and Matcha cookies with a Matcha latte? Yes please!
Seeing as one of the main reasons I was visiting Belgium was to attend the World Acrobatic Championships, which team GB aced at winning plenty of medals.. (which you can read about on my other blog) It would have been rude not to sample the Belgium beer right? And my new found love of Gin and Tonics of course ;-)
Stepping away from the Belgium beer and moving towards the German. Monday brings me a new city, Hamburg. I wonder what delights I will get to sample there? More beer I would say is a must! ;-)