CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 8…Belgium

 

Welcome to my new A-Z …World Cuisines…where I will be looking at the countries of the world, their food and national dish or their most popular dish around the world…by this I mean some dishes are eaten in many countries as their fame has spread around the world…I have Chel to thank for giving me some ideas from which this one took shape…Thank you Chel x

Today I am looking at the cuisine of Belgium…

Belgium is situated in the west of Europe, bordered to the north by the Netherlands, to the east by Germany and the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and to the south and the west by France…it was also one of the first places I visited on a school trip many moons ago…I do however have an abiding memory of the frites with mayonnaise…

Belgium as a country may have been overshadowed by its more popular neighbours but the regional cuisine is enough to entice any serious traveller… Belgium has been rather famous for its junk food but Belgian food is not just a mixture of mouth-watering dishes or junk food; it is an exquisite blend of the food styles of France, Germany, and the Netherlands….and anyone who produces such delicious “chocolate” goes up a notch in my eyes…

What about the Swiss chocolate makers I hear you say…Swiss chocolates are creamier and smoother on the palette while Belgian chocolate is quite dark and bitter. A strong bit of this chocolate will delight anyone. Dark chocolate tastes wonderful and it has so many health benefits too when consumed in moderation…a winner in my eyes…

Neuhaus is one of the best chocolate brands in Belgium and has an interesting history…From pharmacist to Chocolatier, the Neuhaus family has always kept people’s well-being and contentment at heart.

Jean Neuhaus was a Swiss with Italian roots. When he arrived in Switzerland, Jean’s family changed its name from “Casanova” to “Neuhaus”. He wanted to become a doctor to help people and so he went to study medicine in Grenoble. He failed twice, mainly because he could not bear the sight of blood.

He then moved and settled in Brussels in 1857. In the same year, he opened a pharmacy in the prestigious Queen’s Gallery. To delight his customers, Jean Neuhaus covered his medicines with a fine layer of chocolate.

The family opened its original Neuhaus Boutique in Brussels’ exquisite Galerie de la Reine in 1857 and the shop continues to thrive there today.

Not only is Belgium famous for its chocolate but it’s famed for the  ‘Waffle”…it was Maurice Vermersch who introduced a simplified version of the Brussels waffle recipe as his research led him to the conclusion that many Americans could not identify Brussels as the capital of Belgium and thus did not recognise Brussels Waffles thus he came up with the alternative name of Bel-Gem Waffles…

There is also a connection with the legendary Belgium Detective Poirot and many waffles and waffle houses are prefixed with Poirot’s name i.e Poirot’s Belgium Waffles…

What Is The Difference Between a Regular Waffle and a Belgian Waffle? Belgian waffles are thicker and often larger than regular waffles because they are made with a waffle iron that has deeper grids. These deep pockets are perfect for holding delicious pools of syrup!…plus Belgium waffles are generally yeast based…with a lighter crisper texture…

Now let’s get back to the Frites..you will never hear a Belgium calling them fries…There’s a lot of controversy around who invented fried potatoes, but most people will agree that the Belgians perfected them. Once you eat fries in Belgium, they’ll never taste as good anywhere else.

While you can get Belgian fries at virtually any restaurant, they are invariably best from a genuine friterie (French) or frietkot/frituur (Flemish). These fry shops can be anything from a small building to a fry truck and the best ones are hotly contested and voted on annually a prize to be coveted.

Of course, most serve other foods (all of them deep-fried), the emphasis is always on cooking the Frites to crispy, golden perfection.

Some friteries or fries shacks still serve their fries in traditional paper cones, while others have turned to the more convenient but less eco-friendly plastic containers.

Moules-Frites,  or mussels with fries, is a classic Belgian dish you can find at just about any café or brasserie in Brussels. It’s one of the foods to eat in Belgium. The most common way mussels are served in Belgium is steamed in white wine, in big black mussel pots. In addition to wine, moules marinières also contain shallots, parsley, and butter. Other cooking methods include cream, beer, or even mustard sauce…

And who better to give you a step by step guide to the cooking of a perfect Moules and Frites are “The Hairy Bikers”

These sound absolutely delicious…and next time I cook mussels I am going to serve them with Frites and Mayonnaise the Belgium way …Hubby will be pleased as he loves his frites/chips…

But is Belgium all Frites and Waffles...of course not they are famed for the Meatballs, the wonderful slow cooked Flemish stew, Rabbit cooked with prunes which was once a humble peasant dish and now it has been refined into something else by chefs around the country.

There is the humble sausage and mash ..served by parents and grandparents and cooked with black or white sausages or the blood sausage…Often, the mashed potatoes will be mixed with a vegetable, like carrots, to create stoemp, the typical Belgian kind of filling mashed potatoes.

Eels in a green sauce which reminds me of pie, mash and eels which is a popular dish in the East End of London…but of course here in Belgium, they are served with Frites rather than mashed potatoes…

That’s all for today on Belgium Cuisine I look forward to your comments…xx

37 thoughts on “CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 8…Belgium

  1. Pingback: CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 8…Belgium – Site Title

  2. robbiesinspiration

    HI Carol, this is a most interesting post. I knew about the chocolate and the waffles and even the fries, but the combination with mussels is certainly unusual. I have never eaten eel but I can’t say it holds much appeal for me.

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Pingback: CarolCooks2 weekly roundup… 13th -19th March 2022-Monday Musings, Health, A-Z World Cuisine, Belgium, Glace Cherries and Saturday Snippets where a “Heart” is my prompt. | Retired? No one told me!

  4. Pingback: CarolCook’s Terrific A-Z World Cuisines…Part 8…Belgium! – Bite! Eat! Repeat!

  5. petespringerauthor

    Well, as a chocolate lover, I went straight to the Belgian chocolate video. No surprise there! I like mussels too, so maybe the Belgian way will become a thing worldwide. Excellent post!

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  6. LaShelle

    I absolutely loved visiting Belgium and eating real an actual Belgian waffles. They were by far the most incredible waffles that I have ever tasted to this day and I would like to take my son back there so he can experience it himself!

    Liked by 2 people

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  7. Darlene

    I have neighbours from Belgium. They can speak about 5 languages, French, German, Dutch, Flemish and English as well as Spanish. In Canada, we call them French Fries, although we know they originate from Belgium. They are good with mayonnaise but even better with Hollandais sauce! LOVE Belgium chocolate!

    Liked by 3 people

    Reply
    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I wish I was multi lingual.. I speak a smattering of a few languages but not fluently… Yes, please to a lovely Hollandais with Frites… I also love Belgium chocolate… 😀 x

      Liked by 1 person

      Reply
  8. johnrieber

    Carol, I will be sharing this on my food blog tomorrow…never been to Belgium, but while in Amsterdam I had a newspaper cone stuffed with frites and topped with a large dollop of Mayonnaise…heaven!

    Liked by 3 people

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  9. Pingback: CarolCooks2…A-Z World Cuisines…Part 8…Belgium – MobsterTiger

  10. beetleypete

    Belgium is one of my favourite countries to eat in. As well as the mussels and waffles, they have the wonderful Waterzooi. In Ghent, you can get that with rabbit, it’s delicious! (Also with chicken or fish)

    Don’t forget their wonderful range of delicious strong beers, and be careful if you order frites from a street vendor. They smother them in mayonnaise if you don’t tell them not to add any. (I don’t like mayonnaise that much.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 2 people

    Reply
    1. CarolCooks2 Post author

      I like mayo with my frites… But I agree rabbit is lovely as for beers I didn’t mention the beer but know they do make some great beers… Its been quite a few years since I have visited Belgium but did love the frites and mayo… 😀 x

      Liked by 1 person

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