Статьи  >  Imagine  >  What do they eat: Belgium

What do they eat: Belgium

Автор: 14.05.2021 | Belgium, what do they eat
There is no other country in the world that has suffered so much from restaurant critics as Belgium. Riding superficially on waves of French-Italian mainstream, glossy publications scold Belgians mercilessly for their provincial tastes and universal cult of potatoes. Just think of it: to chase seafood with vulgar French fries and serve potato pudding as a main dish!

Don’t trust snobs – baked potatoes with Witloof endives in béchamel sauce covered in delicate bacon is great on its own and doesn’t deserve a modest role of a garnish. And mussels are served with French fries for you not to be shy to clean remains of the gravy from your plate: you dip soft and crispy stripes into it – and nobody looks awry at you.LisovskayaNatalia-shutterstock1600-dcd705476a9c.jpgPhoto

Though Belgium’s haute cuisine owes a lot to the great France, indeed, it shouldn’t be regarded as a reduced version of French cuisine. Belgian chefs actively foster national culinary traditions that are rooted in the Middle Ages. Bright contrast combinations of sweet and bitter, sour and salty, common for ancient dishes, are inherent in Belgian cuisine. Meat there can be napped with honey, jam and mustard at the same time and eel in green “paling in’t groen” sauce makes an impression even on seasoned gourmets – spring freshness of spinach is strikingly outlined by playful overtones of sorrel, parsley, chervil, mint, watercress and thyme.

After doing some magic on spicery, herbs and flavoring from their grandmothers’ coffret, Belgian chefs turn a simplest dish into a little masterpiece. “Stoemp” can be given as an example – ordinary mashed potatoes with cream, enriched with grated carrot and leek.6967842b897745e7a766e23004400569.jpgPhoto

Since countrymen from Meise valley learned to fry potatoes instead of fish in 17th century, potatoes took up the whole world but only in homeland people know how to cook it intelligently, not to damage health. Belgium is one of the few countries in the world where one can safely have meal at a street kiosk without fearing to get a gastritis attack: quality of fast food is supervised as strictly as the one of products from premium segment. Having snacks on the go on weekdays, Belgians indulge themselves on weekends at their favorite restaurant or at a cozy café. Sound lunch in perception of Poirot’s fellow countrymen involves 3-time change of dishes – otherwise there’s no reason to even sit at table.

Repast commences with an aperitif and a light starter that is bound to have locally-taken shrimps in its composition. Belgian cookery experts know a thousand and one recipes for seafood salads however tomatoes stuffed with grated cheese and shrimp meat should be considered the classics of the genre. Also, North Sea mussels that are consumed both fried (“les moules frites”) and raw (“les moules parquées”), enjoy popularity.le-petit-belge.jpgPhoto

As a soup dish the normally order either a mushroom cream soup or a traditional Waterzooi stew based on chicken broth and if they feel like reveling – it’s fish soup with oysters on celery infusion. Most substantial dishes are offered as a main course: sirloin with dried plums, “Tarte al’djote” cheese pie, Flemish chicken stewed with grapes, filet of beef in Americano sauce, white sausages “boudin blanc”, asparagus in butter with whipped egg whites and parsley, various steaks and trout in the Ardennes style stuffed with cured filet and fatback. As a garnish to meat, “frites” are served – small slices of fried potatoes temptingly golden brown on top.gentse-waterzooi.jpg

By the way, one of essential divergences between Belgian and French cuisines is substitution of red wine with beer in meat delicacies dressings. European gourmets purposely come to Belgium to try beer-stewed rabbit and Flemish stewed beef in beer sauce. In Flanders they even fry selected one-piece products like pork roast and carbonade in the foamy drink.Photo

Belgiuan beer itself deserves amazement, too. With hats off to world-famous brands like Leffe, Maes, Stella Artois, Jupiler, Chimay, Orval, Westmale and Hoegaarden, it is worth to try local fruit mixes. Wheat beer with cherry tint Lambic or Gueuse will do for starters. If those work fine, you can try beer with soused cherries (Kriek) or raspberry juice (Framboise) and save a glass of sweet Faro beer with caramel and sugar as the one for the road.

And in conclusion give a wave of the hand to healthy lifestyle and order a desert! Cordial owners will be wounded in their deepest affection if you ignore trademark candied fruit pie with custard, famous Liège waffles in golden caramel syrup and spiced shortcrust Spekulaas that, should you believe a fairy tale, Santa Clause like to treat himself with. In Bruges they adore sponge cakes and gingerbread with almond, in Malmedy – creamy meringue, in Ghent – miniature “gentse mokken” cookies.belgian-classic-brussels-waffles.jpgPhoto

And Belgium is probably the only place where true chocolate, produced in compliance with every rule, can still be found – contents of cocoa powder is regulated by law there. In Europe it is considered good manners to give friends and relatives Belgian chocolate handmade candies by Neuhaus, Godiva and Leonidas.

It is hard to remain faithful to vegetables and mush while scanning tempting lines of a menu at a Belgian restaurant. So forget all your diets and recollect advice of Oscar Wilde more often: the only way to get rid of temptation is to yield to it!belgian-chocolate.jpgPhoto

Cover photo

Вам это будет интересно:
Belgium with the eyes of Marina Orlova: How the belgians live
Marina Orlova is a project manager in a cultural and public organization. Working on one of her international projects, she met her love - Wim, a guy from Belgium. She succeeded to visit his country only when Ukraine obtained visa-free regime and Marina shared with OUTLOOK her observations about how the Belgians live, what they eat for breakfast and how they relax.
What do they eat: Algeria
OUTLOOK is pleased to present our "most delicious section", the texts of which will be interesting not only for gourmets and chefs but also for those who like to keep up and learn new stuff. Today we’ll have a look at Algerian kitchens and tell about traditional and most popular dishes from this great country.
What do they eat: Portugal
Having been to Portugal, at the very edge of Europe, the OUTLOOK could not help paying attention to the local cuisine. Read below about gastronomical predilections of residents and tourists of this once one of the greatest empires in the world.
What do they eat: Rome’s cuisine
OUTLOOK often tells about the kitchens of the peoples around the world, but when it comes to Italy, writing about the country should be a crime. Each of its twenty regions has its own culinary world with the subtleties and specialties. Let the title of gastronomic capital of Italy be Bologna, its official capital - Rome, too, has something to boast about. We are telling you what is remarkable about Roman cuisine...
Borders cannot make harm: The most famous enclaves of the world
Today OUTLOOK travels along the cities and countries that are considered as the most interesting from the point of view of geography and administrative management. Moreover, they are enclaves as they are located within the territories of other states.
Spa: Great fame of quiet Belgian town
Throughout its history, the town has seen many famed guests: Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Descartes, Peter the Great of Russia... And now everyone can easily join a number of these outstanding personalities just by visiting a cosy town of Spa, which since the 18th century is the most popular in the highest circles European health resort and the ancestor of all spas in the world.
Water gates. Impressive world harbors
Airports, railway and bus stations are almost always erected at a human whim, while ports and harbours are joint creation of homo sapiens and nature. In this article OUTLOOK presents you the most beautiful port destinations with their own unique character worth exploring.
What do they eat: Albania
Flavorous Çömlek, refreshing Tarator and warming Skanderbeg – what is it that we’re talking about? If Balkan countries are far from you and you didn’t spend your latest vacation by Adriatic Sea, today we’ll fill in the gaps and invite you to Albania but not for a simple tour but to the kitchen so if you manage to come back without extra kilograms, you can be safely awarded a self-mastery medal.
What do they eat: Ukraine
Spoiled with home-made borshch, holubtsy and cotlets, we are under an illusion that we know Ukrainian cuisine like the tips of own fingers and there is nothing distinctive about it while in fact gastronomic heritage of our country is far richer than a grandma’s ingenuous menu. Time has come to recall original Ukrainian dishes that were undeservedly forgotten in the era of semi-cooked products and fast food.
What do they eat: Latvia
It is commonly believed that Latvia is all about Riga’s seashore, ancient cozy cities and perfect climate. All of it is true, but somehow many forget local cuisine. Having visited the country, Outlook cannot but share a story of delicious and sometimes very unusual dishes.
Let flowers bloom! Top flower festivals in the world!
The best gift for ladies is flowers. The truth is, it is incredibly romantic and beautiful, suitable for any age and status. Especially nice it is when there is plenty of flowers. Dozens upon dozens! And where else can you admire floral beauty if not at the festival? We selected five the most famous and flowery fests from around the world.
Belgian lace: Waltz of a thousand threads
At the sight of Flemish lacework it is hard to shake the feeling that miraculous flowers, artfully braided into a wreath of a pattern, were born from loose sparks that had escaped a magic wand. On the inside of the beauty there are efforts and days of jetsam girls, stolen from life by labyrinth of openwork loops.
Shrimp fishing at Oostduinkerke: Horses for courses
If early morning you walk along sandy beaches of Oostduinkerke, located in one of Belgium western provinces, you can see several suns. One, of course, is in the sky, and others are bright yellow spots riding horses carrying heavy wicker baskets, while plying the shallows along the North Sea coast for shrimps. Oostduinkerke and shrimps are hand and glove, so horseback shrimping is still practiced here.
What do they eat: Peru
Today Iya Zaitseva shares her impressions of Peruvian cuisine that is rightfully considered one of the most diverse and delicious in the world. The word is that even meticulous researchers from Guinness World Records lost count when including Peruvian cuisine as the richest in terms of number of dishes.
What do they eat: Malaysia
It is easier to try teasing odor of Malay cuisine than to describe it. Give a shot at throwing into a boiling kettle a thimbleful of India and a pinch of China, spice it up with pungent infusion of Indonesia and sultry spirit of Morocco, add a couple of drops of Siam and stew on slow fire for several hundred years watching scattering of Portuguese influence melt in checkered amalgam of culinary traditions of peoples of Malaysia – and you will taste bliss.
In search of gastronomic Eldorado
I admit, this is not an easy topic - to describe the kitchen, which has recently become the main one for me. Now I live in Ecuador and have not tasted cabbage rolls, dumplings and even black bread for a long time. Although, I confess, I cooked borsch several times. Someone else's kitchen initially surprises, then becomes cloying and only at the third stage of acquaintance with it, begins to open its secrets.
What do they eat: Greece
Traditional Greek cuisine is full of paradoxes. The menu of Greek taverns contradicts all the laws of healthy eating: the descendants of the Hellenes loved fried meat, sheep cheese and sweets, dine late, honor the god Dionysus - and remain slim and fit up to having gray hair. Do not be afraid to make a mistake when counting calories: national Greek dishes - a joy for body and soul!
What do they eat: the United Kingdom
Cuisine of the United Kingdom is a nightmare for nutritionists, gourmets and other healthy food experts. A typical Englishman doesn’t honor art of cooking much and for the sake of saving time often grabs a snack on the go with fresh vegetables and fruits present in the diet purely technically. We know exactly where to look for and will be happy to share with you!
What do they eat. The Netherlands
First thing that stirs up a newcomer in the Netherlands is food vandalism. It is customary for citizens of this small northern country not to handle dishes with kid gloves, even if those are bacon or hot ribs richly seasoned with berry sauce. Therefore anything that a stomach can't accommodate over lunch or dinner gets thrown away by Dutchmen with ease...
Mediterranean diet: the nutrition system as the cultural heritage
Pleasant sea breeze, silky whish of olive leaves, tasty cheese, fish, pasta, glass of a good wine from the local vineyard. Mediterranean feast is the true savor. By the way, it is worth it because Mediterranean diet keeps unique reputation. This is the only system of nutrition that is recognized by UNESCO as the national cultural heritage.
Outlook facebook page