Have you made a passion out of enjoying the finest cheese in the most unexpected combinations? Are you crazy about French fries or simply adore pastry desserts? Or maybe you prefer oriental cuisine? Then it is a must to take a few days to visit the capital of the European Union.
Brussels is such a colourful combination of nationalities, sort of a modern version of the Tower of Babel. And this is reflected in the local cuisine as well: there are French and Flemish influences, as well as oriental ones, due to the numerous Arab communities. And if you’re lucky enough to be there during the mussels festival, you can also enjoy the Nordic cuisine influences. But let’s take them one by one.
The mussels festival is held in early August and, as Belgium has access to the North Sea, the seafood is found and prepared fresh. The attraction of the festival are the white wine cooked mussels, which are served, surprisingly, with French fries and butter toast.
Speaking of French fries, it would be an understatement to say that they are the Belgians’ favourite dish, since most of the residents, especially those from the Flemish area, have the fries as a snack, main course or even breakfast.
Brussels has no shortage of cheese and this is due to the French influences in cuisine. From classic recipes to the ones with pesto, chilli, mint or even Brie, the cheese can be found in almost any store: in the large retailers’ locations, as well as the fairs where the producers sell it themselves.
The Arab community in Brussels is responsible for selling fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as spices, in the city’s main market. So, if you want to buy fresh food at affordable prices, you have to go there. Moreover, in the area you will find small, family restaurants with delicious oriental dishes.
Oh, I almost forgot about dessert! I couldn’t imagine that the famous Belgian waffles can be served in so many combinations of tastes and colours. Whether served classic or with honey, ice cream, chocolate and lots of other toppings, this dessert seems to be delicious no matter what’s on top. I’m starting to think that the recipe is a cultural secret, strictly preserved from generation to generation. I recommend the waffle with ice cream and fruit topping: it is a cool and warm mix and the contrasting flavours are a special delight.