Beer, fries, waffles, and chocolates are probably the first few things that spring to your mind when thinking about Flanders and yes, they are one-of-their-kind here! But did you know there is so much more you can add to your culinary platter here?
1. For the munchies on the go
Fries are part of Belgian culinary and cultural heritage. Even though they are referred to as 'French Fries' there is nothing French about them! The name is alleged to have originated due to a linguistic misunderstanding, because in old English ‘to French’ meant ‘to cut into sticks’.
The other favorite are of course the waffles! In Belgium, most waffles are served warm by street vendors and dusted with confectioner's sugar though in tourist areas they might be topped with whipped cream, soft fruit or chocolate spread
2. For the food connoisseur
On this modest patch of land, there are close to a ton of 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 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 one need not have to dress up a simple jeans and t-shirt also works.
3. For the vegetarians
Ghent serves the largest number of vegetarian restaurants in the whole of Belgium. It is considered as the organic haven for vegetarians with dozens of unique little restaurants, shops and even an organic market at Groentenmarkt. In 2009, Ghent also introduced the concept of Thursday Veggie day, a campaign developed by EVA (Ethical Vegetarian Alternative). This campaign made Ghent the first city in the world to officially stimulate people to go vegetarian one day in a week. It is also the first city in the world to have an official veggie day.
4. Beer lovers
Flanders is the home of the richest beer culture in the world. With over 1500 different original beers, the list is quite exhaustive to last more than a year. 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 the Belgian varieties. That long history turns this region into a 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.
5. For the ones with the sweet tooth
Did someone say Chocolate? Yes, the Belgians pretty much-invented chocolate or at least perfected it. Names such as Godiva, Leonidas and Neuhaus might ring a bell. Aside from those, there are more than 320 chocolatiers throughout the country, selling a historically great product. That product is the basis of innovation. Some fine examples are the Shock-o-latier Dominique Persoone from the renowned chocolate store - The Chocolate Line and the artist Marijn Coertjens, who stunned at the World Chocolate Masters. They form the front line of a new generation of cocoa craftsmen.