Belgian Bites

The Take 12 Trips Challenge is a new initiative encouraging would-be travellers to take a trip somewhere each month. While the challenge doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go abroad, we’re going to give you some great ideas for easy, interesting and great-value trips around Europe.

Belgium may not be a famously romantic or exciting country, but it is quietly one of Europe’s most under-rated holiday destinations, with plenty to discover for tourists, and plenty of ideas for the Take 12 Trips challenge.

One of Belgium’s most famous exports is beer; from household names like Stella Artois to popular breweries such as Timmermans fruit beers or the likes of Duvel, Chimay and Delirium, the country has a huge range of tipples for even the most discerning beer drinker. Bruges is home to the De Halve Maan brewery, one of Belgium’s most popular brewery tours, where you can sample fine Belgian beers as you learn all about the art and craft behind their creation. Alternatively, the country’s cafes and bars will be an eye-opener for anybody who thought Belgian beer stopped at Stella, as there are often hundreds of beers to choose from in each bar.

Another of Belgium’s most popular creations is its chocolate. The country has a rich heritage of producing fine, quality chocolate, among the best in the world, and it’s no surprise that it is one of the biggest tourist draws around. Bruges is home to 70 specialist chocolate shops, including stores certified by the Guild of Chocolatiers. There are also countless museums and tours dedicated to Belgium’s chocolate heritage, including Planete Choclat in Brussels, which is a modern museum with presentations on the history of the world’s favourite sweet treat.

Belgian food is also famous, with moules et frites being one of the most popular dishes with tourists. Head to Comme Chez Soi in Brussels, set up by celebrated chef Pierre Wynants and now owned by his son, sells food of the highest standard and quality, inspired by French haute cuisine. Alternatively, why not head for Belgian waffles and other desserts at Maison Dandoy, which has been an institution in the city since 1829? Known for making some of the best desserts around, the small bakery has a big reputation in the capital.

Noordzee (also called Mer du Nord) is a seafood restaurant which merges the concept of both fine dining and street food. Selling seafood fresh from the North Sea from across a stainless steel counter, you can choose to either wolf it down there and then, or find a quiet shaded area, perhaps under a tree in the nearby park?

If you’re looking for a gastronomic or gourmet getaway, then look no further than Belgium, and if you’re looking to incorporate tasty treats into your Take 12 Trips challenge, then why not give it a bash?

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