Only a town that is so perpetually gray could offer such great snacks. How else are people to cheer themselves up here? For those of you who fully researches a city before visiting it, you would already know that Brussels is very wet and damp, all the time. It rains in the summer, the spring and the fall, pausing only to turn into snow in the winter. Since I failed to do such a thorough study ahead of time, I decided to seek comfort in food: and that is very easy to do here.
To make up for its gloomy disposition, the “Bruxellois” have come up with some fantastic ideas: snacks in cones, snacks in trucks, snacks available all over the city. I don’t think I’ve ever seen quite so many kebab shops per square meter anywhere else in the world (besides maybe the falafel stands in Berlin). You can even order a “cornet de pates” (pasta in a cone) just for the sheer novelty of it. And let’s not forget the chocolatiers… about 1 to every 50 people.
Gaining weight here is very easy to do, and these four things will help speed up the process.
1) Chocolate, duh
The entire country is famous for it, rivaling the Swiss. Yet, when you walk down the streets of Brussels, you see as many Godiva (French) and Neuhaus (German) shops as you do Leonidas (Belgian, although bearing a Greek name). The Belgians invented pralines (!!!) which makes them true experts in my eyes.
Although I appreciate chocolates, I can’t just snack on them like other people do. On a walk through the small back streets of Grand Place, right across from the “Pissing Boy” statue, I found a Godiva shop that offered the perfect alternative fix. A cone of chocolate covered strawberries. HEAVEN. A half dozen costs EUR 5, which was money well spent to me.
Although a wine fan for life, beer here is surprisingly good. The best place to try a variety of beers, Belgian and otherwise, is at Delirium Cafe. This constantly packed brasserie boasts 2400 varieties. Although I haven’t tried too many, I’d like to believe that that my new favorite Belgian beer is Duvel… even though no one else seems to like it.
This weekend, I discovered the cause of my own undoing: waffle trucks. Now, waffles are available just about anywhere in the city. If you are opting to sit inside, except to pay at least EUR 5, extra for fancy toppings like nutella and strawberries. If you’re picking one up from a window kiosk on rue Neuve, a popular shopping area, EUR 3. Just let all that sugary goodness drip all over your jacket. But a waffle truck… now that’s something special, especially since food trucks are banned in Montreal. For EUR 2, you can get a sweet, soft waffle while wandering the mega cool Sablon area. For 50 cents more, you get chocolate sauce. Splurge and spend a euro for creme fraiche.
4) Les frites
How the entire Belgian population doesn’t struggle with obesity, amazes me. Everyone eats fries, all the time: salty, deep fried potatoes, almost everyday. Wrapped up in a paper cone, paired with a mini fork, the “cornet de frites” really does make for an excellent snack. The best part of it? You get to choose one of 8 different sauces to go with (mostly flavoured mayonnaise). So bad for you, but oh so good! La Friterie de la Grand Place is very, very popular. A large cornet, which could likely serve two, is only EUR 3.