7 reasons to eat and drink in Flanders
Beer, fries, waffles and chocolate. Those tasty foods probably spring to mind when thinking about Flanders' culinary offering. And yes, they're fantastic. But there's so much more. In Flanders, you'll find the best food and the world's greatest beers, made and prepared by the best craftsmen. Good food and good chefs, because we're all about the good life.
1. Nectar of the Gods (pt. 1)
Yes, we pretty much invented chocolate. Or at least perfected it; you're welcome. Names such as Godiva, Leonidas and Neuhaus might ring a bell. Aside from those, there are more than 320 chocolatiers throughout the country, selling our historically great product. But our artisan craftsmen don't rest on their laurels, they've been relentlessly innovating in the chocolate world. Some fine examples are the schock-o-latier Dominique Persoone and the artist Marijn Coertjens, who stunned at the World Chocolate Masters. They form the front line of a new generation of cacao craftsmen.
2. Nectar of the Gods (pt. 2)
We also pretty much invented beer, and Belgium is the home of the richest beer culture in the world. Flanders is home to hundreds of different beers, in numerous styles: Belgian ales, cherry beer, white beer, Flanders 'Old' red and brown, lambic, geuze, Abbey and of course the famous Trappist. Other countries have those as well, but nothing compares to ours. That long history turns this region into the beer Valhalla. The new generation of exciting craft breweries such as De Dochter van de Korenaar, De Ranke and Brasserie de la Senne is making sure it stays that way.
3. Top of the culinary industry
Okay, we didn't really invent gastronomy. But still, we're pretty good at it. On this modest patch of land, there are no less than 97 Michelin-starred restaurants. No region is the world can offer that density of top level restaurants, if you follow the Michelin and Gault&Millau guides. The triple Michelin-starred Hof van Cleve and Hertog Jan are surely the culinary spearheads, but the Belgian gourmet restaurants are there for everyone. In more alternative gourmet spots such as Publiek, L'épicerie du Cirque or la Paix you don't even have to dress up. A simple jeans and t-shirt will do.
4. Unique dishes
Flanders is quite small, yet stacked with flavour. We offer a wide range of unique and mouth-watering products such as grey shrimps, endives and asparagus. On top of that there's unique and classic Flemish dishes such as Mussels and fries, the rustic Hotch-potch and the irresistible Vol-au-vent. And if you like your food fast and tasty, go look for a 'frietkot', a no-nonsense spot that serves only fries and such. There you'll find some of the tastiest portions of them all.
5. The artists make the difference
But even more than a region of products, we're a region of craftsmen and women. Our chefs, now and throughout history, refine these products as if they're the purest of diamonds. And that's why you'll find a great meal at pretty much every corner. Whether it's in an eatery, a bistro, a brasserie, a plain restaurant, a gastropub, a friterie, a gastronomic restaurant or even in a bar. You'll taste the passion and the heart of our craftsmen, with respect for tradition, yet at the same time rebellious.
6. The dining DNA
In Flanders, we live to dine. Sitting at the table, eating and drinking, for hours on end: it's part of who we are, it's the pinnacle of our lifestyle. Pieter Bruegel, grand master of Flemish painting, already knew. One of his most famous works is The Peasant Wedding, which describes such a scene. And we're not giving up that age old tradition soon.
7. Mix the arts with grand food
Flanders is stacked with fantastic art cities, who each have their very own style of eating and dining. During the day you can go and look at the masterpieces of Flemish artists such as Bruegel, Rubens, Van Eyck and many more. In between and after that you can try the local specialities. In Brussels it's hard to ignore the waffles, but you should really try the stoemp, a mash of potato and veg. In Ghent you'll find a chicken casserole called Gentse Waterzooi and - for the sweet tooth - the quirky cuberdon. In Mechelen you ought to taste the local chicken breed Mechelen Cuckoo, accompanied by a glass of Gouden Carolus. Every spot, every city has its own flavours.
Story created on May 15, 2017