WARNING: This blog post may cause hunger pains and an intense urge to drink beer.
Let’s start with the obvious here, beer! Belgian beer can be traced back to the 12th century. It is believed that St. Arnold saved his people from the plague by telling them to drink beer instead of the contaminated water supply. While walking around Bruges we found 2Be Beer by accident and I’m forever grateful.
Here we learned about their perfect method in serving each beer. First they take the glass and hold it upside down in a fountain to wash and chill the glass, they then fill the beer and and use a beer comb to scrape off the excess foam, lastly they rinse the stem and – voila!
Located inside the 15th century mayor’s house, this place is so fun and quirky! Be sure to check out the massive beer wall and the goldfish aquarium counters and sinks in the restrooms. Beer flights are also available if you’re undecided and want to try as many flavors as possible.
Eat chocolate… lots and lots of chocolate. There seems to be an endless amount of chocolate in Bruges, you’ll never go far without finding a great shop. Chocolate Line is a neat store. You can watch the entire chocolate making process starting from the beans, and they have a large assortment of chocolate items for sale. Dumon is a modern beautiful store and when you walk in this store the smell of chocolate will hit you in the face – it’s awesome. La Belgique Gourmande has a lot of chocolate and fun treats like pineapple, anise, and lavendar flavored marshmallows.
Don’t you dare call them French fries, you won’t get a good response. There is an ongoing dispute whether fries were invented in Belgium or France. The fries at Chez Vincent we were told are some of the best in Bruges, and I have to agree. There is indoor and outdoor seating, plus it’s affordable with other menu items available too. Are you team ketchup or mayo?
There are places to eat waffles everywhere from quick in and out street cafes to sit down waffle restaurants, you seriously can’t go wrong. The Best Belgian Waffles has waffles to go, with so many flavors, plus there is a topping bar for you to create your own – I had a lot of fun with that! House of Waffles has dessert waffles, and also savory waffles and waffle sandwiches. You can get your waffles to go or get table service, the interior is really modern and beautiful too. All these amazing waffles had me seriously doubting my usual low carb lifestyle.
Don’t stop drinking beer now or the beer Gods will be angry with you. We were told Belgium has over 1,000 beers so you actually have quite a ways to go. You can find pubs all over the city but be sure to check out Vlissinghe, the oldest pub in Bruges, the inside is very charming and there is a nice patio in the back. We had the chicory wrapped in ham, fish stew, chocolate mouse – and a lot of beer!
When you’re needing a break from waffles, fries, and chocolate, Bruges has great seafood, but the mussels are something special. It was very common to see people eating big pots of mussels. The food at Poules de Moules is a little pricey but it tastes amazing. They also had amazing shrimp curry and the outdoor seating had great people-watching action.
Another local dish that’s great to try. Flemish stew is made with the Belgian beer which gives the stew a rich, dark flavor that can’t be achieved from stews made with wine. You can find this popular dish on the menu at many restaurants, Flemish Stew House is just one of the many places you can try this great dish.
Fish soup is absolutely delicious and this fall I’m going to learn how to make it. The fish soup at Vlissinghe is made fresh and is bursting with flavor, if you love seafood you must try this. Brian and I share a lot of our vacation meals and we had to fight each other for this!
I’ll be writing more on the perfect town of Bruges soon but I thought I’d start with the good stuff… FOOD! Belgium, and Bruges specifically, was a food paradise for us. Brian says regular waffles are now dead to him, and I happen to agree. Hungry yet?