The One Food You Must Try in...Belgium!
Belgium is a fantastic country to visit, but my general impression is that most people just see it as a destination that they may as well stop in on the way to their grander plans elsewhere. Poor, forgotten Belgium, right? On a tight itinerary, that's perfectly fair, but I also think it's a country that deserves a lot of credit for being a place well worth visiting for longer than a few days. I've been to both Bruges and Brussels, and I've loved both (particularly Bruges), but my list of places to visit has certainly grown to include the likes on Antwerp, Ghent and so on. I'm definitely one of those people that I mentioned that needs to spend a bit more time there. I think that, generally speaking, the culture suits my style pretty well. There's a lot of emphasis on finding enjoyment in what you're eating and drinking and not worrying so much about the consequences on the waistline (at least as a tourist). I certainly adopted such an approach.
Beyond the frites and the waffles (which were, I must admit, pretty darn delicious), there's also the beer. Most European nations have a tendency to make absurd declarations about the brilliance and quality of their beer, but I think Belgium has a fair claim to fame (The Czech Republic too for that matter). There's a unique flavour that permeates many Belgian beers that you can't taste elsewhere. I tried to indulge in a different Belgian beer with every meal, and I still came up a few hundred short of trying them all.
But, believe it or not, I'm not going to be choosing any of the aforementioned famed Belgian traditional delicacies. What I'll be choosing is of the seafood variety and is daydream worthy. In fact, as I was writing this, I had to pause and harken back to the moment when they arrived on the table. In my humble opinion, the one food you must try in Belgium is...mussels!
What was special about these bad boys was that the flavour of the mussels was allowed to shine, as opposed to being drowned in oil and butter, as I've tasted in the past. I would, in fact, recommend the place that we went, which is on a cobble-stoned street in the heart of things. It's called Chez Léon, and I promised I wasn't paid to mention them. My mussels were resting in a mushroom and white wine broth, a recipe I would likely commit murder to obtain. Bri's mussels sat in a glorious bath of white wine and celery, and while it was a delight, we both decided that my choice the "poulette," the name of my sauce, was a touch superior.
I'm rarely full from mussels, but it turns out eating a kilogram has a way of smashing such a misguided preconception. I was, shall we say, satisfied.
Well, now I've written about Romania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Morocco in the One Food Series, but I'm struggling to think of a better meal than the one above. That being said, I have some posts for the series coming up that I'm sure will rival anything. I'll admit, it's been fun to write this series, and the response I've gotten has been great. Let me know if there's a country in particular you're curious about, and I'll see if I've been there, and can add a little something about it!
Thanks for stopping by! What did you think about the food choice? Do you agree or disagree? Is there a place you've been for mussels in Belgium that you'd recommend more? What are your thoughts on the "One Food Series?" Let me know if you've got a moment!