This article originally appeared in Divine Lifestyle in August, 2016.
VISITING BELGIUM BRUSSELS
This was my first trip to Belgium and will definitely not be my last. A must do when arriving in Belgium is walking around Grand Place, the central square of Brussels. Grand Place is encircled by beautiful gilded historic buildings dating as far back as the 12th century. It is one of the most significant landmarks in Belgium and attracts thousands of tourists each year. We were thrilled to be Visiting Belgium Brussels with Visit Flanders.
Following a trip to Belgium, President Barack Obama stated “It’s easy to love a country known for chocolate and beer.” I think few would argue with this opinion. Over 172,000 tons of chocolate is produced each year in Belgium and more than 2,000 chocolate shops flourish throughout the country.
DRINKING BELGIAN BEER
Typically, I stick to drinking wine and champagne, but when in Belgium… I discovered that Belgium is a beer-lover’s paradise, with over 1,500 different original beers. Many of the beers here have their own personalized beer glasses in which that beer, and only that beer, is served. The shape of each glass is made to enhance the flavor of the beer for which it is designed. Needless to say, Belgians take their beers very seriously.
THE LITTLE PEE MAN
One of the most popular attractions in Brussels is the Manneken Pis (little pee man in Flemish). The peeing boy is a small (24 inches) bronze fountain statue. It is located near Grand Place. Several legends surround its origin but it was put on display in either 1618 or 1619. Tourists flock to this statue similarly to the popularity of the Mona Lisa at The Louvre. I talked to one tourist and she was on a bike ride through Europe and her only stop in Brussels was to see the Mannequin Pis. She wasn’t even stopping for bite of chocolate or a pint of beer! I couldn’t relate to her situation.
Drinks in the bar of the Dominican hotel are a must do when in Brussels. This fabulous hotel is located behind the famous theater and opera house Le Monnaie. Medieval grandeur meets contemporary splendor in a sweeping, high-style homage to Dominican abbeys, Old-World Europe, and artistic invention.
FOOD IN BRUSSELS
Had a wonderful dinner at Bonsoir Clara. Bonsoir Clara is located in downtown Brussels and offers classic and modern Mediterranean cuisine. I had the very tasty sashimi of salmon marinated gravlax style, kunzumiyuzu and poppyseed vinaigrette for an appetizer and the fillet of sea bass with anchovy and ginger brandade topped with lemongrass and raisins. Great service and delicious food!
Hotel Amigo, a former prison, became a hotel in 1957 and hosts royals and celebrities. It is the only 5-star hotel in Brussels.
What is a trip to Belgium without a tasting a Belgian waffle? In Belgium, an authentic “Belgian Waffle” is served warm and lightly dusted with confectioner’s sugar. In the tourist areas, the street vendors sell them with a variety of toppings varying from whipped cream, fruit, to chocolate spread and caramel sauce. I tasted the authentic version and it was sooooo good!
We were hosted by Visit Flanders on this trip to Belgium and not compensated to write this Visiting Belgium Brussels Visit Flanders post. We loved Belgium and really appreciate their hospitality.
Please see our other post: Visiting Belgium, Antwerp