Naturally, everyone wants to have Belgian chocolate and Belgian waffles IN Belgium. Those are absolute musts. However, like everything else, they vary in price and quality. The same goes for fries, which don’t seem to be as famous as Belgium’s chocolate and waffles. I think it’s because everyone thinks that fries are French because of their name, but the fry is actually a Belgian invention. 😀
I picked up a few tips and tidbits for you during my trip to Belgium and as always, they are things I wish I had known beforehand. All three things – chocolate, waffles, and fries – are part of the Belgian experience. I’m so glad I went to Belgium for a few days, because just a day-trip from London (seven years ago) wasn’t nearly enough. Now that I’ve had all three of these things and of course, seen more than just Brussels, I feel like I have really experienced Belgium.
Let’s start with fries since they are the least known of the three. 😀
True Belgian fries, like any other true fries in the world, are wonderful, but there’s nothing like eating something where it was invented. It’s like eating sushi in Japan, kaya toast in Singapore, or poutine in Canada.
I got the feeling that eating fries in Belgium was unique because of how it’s served. Sadly, you can’t get poutine in Belgium, but after having fries in several different countries, I’ve found that it’s the Belgians’ love of sauce on fries that makes it stand out. I didn’t see gravy anywhere – just a whole array of different sauces.
I recommend going to small, privately owned places, and there are more than plenty to choose from. Their fries, unlike those at Fritland, are FRESH! They’re NOT frozen. They all have a lot of different kinds of sauces; one place had nearly 4 dozen!
If you get a chance, try Belgian stew. I came across this in Bruges (or Brugge). I hate stew, but it didn’t look bad since it looked nothing like the stew I had to eat growing up. Plus, it is served atop a bed of fresh fries. 🙂 It was actually delicious, and only 7 euros with a beverage.
Like most trekkers, I’m not rich. When I see a good deal, I go for it, but I made an exception with Belgian waffles, and I’m SO GLAD I did.
DO NOT waste your money on the 1 or 2 euro waffles! They’re too good to be true. All you’re really going to taste is all the whipped cream, fruit, and whatever else is on top because they’re masking the not-so-great quality (to put it nicely) of the waffle.
It is totally worth paying several euros for a good waffle. It’ll still have toppings, but it clearly won’t be an attempt to hide the waffle in any way.
I paid 5 euros for this incredible waffle in Ghent, and it was totally worth it. What you see atop the banana slices is melted Belgian chocolate, NOT Nutella. 😀 ↓
On that note, let’s move on to chocolate. ↓
Make sure that you’re getting real Belgian chocolate when it comes to toppings and not Nutella. Of course, Nutella is great, but you can get it pretty much anywhere, including in Russia…lol!
One thing I think you need to do in Belgium is get a REAL hot chocolate – a hot chocolate made with actual chocolate instead of powder. It was delightful. This one was about 3.50 at Scott’s Cafe/Bar.
When it comes to pieces of chocolate, you’ll naturally want to buy some from the local chocolatiers, but when you want more than just a few pieces or souvenirs, you can get boxes of Belgian chocolate that are just as delicious and much better priced at grocery stores. Remember, Belgium is the world’s largest producer of raw chocolate, so grocery stores’ shelves are always stocked with high quality chocolate. Plus, a box is a cinch to pack in your suitcase. 😀
A trip to Belgium is incomplete without Belgian fries, Belgian waffles, and Belgian chocolate. Right?