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Top Ten Things to do in Lille for Mother’s Day

Lille is the perfect location for a girls’ getaway and, with Mother’s Day coming up, a long weekend with your Mum would make a fantastic treat for her (and you). In a blatant attempt to persuade you to visit, here are our favourite things to do, eat and drink in Lille. Together they add up to make a Mother’s Day or even a weekend to remember.

Top Ten Things to Do, Eat and Drink in Lille for Mother’s Day

1. Personal Shopper at Printemps

39-45, rue Nationale

Printemps, Lille, France

Splash out at this famous department store with your very own assistant guiding you to the latest fashions that will flatter your figure and reflect your personality. You’ll need to book it in advance. Tel: +33 (0)3 20 63 62 76.

 

2. Visit Wazemmes Market

Place de la Nouve Aventure

Wazemmes Market, Lille, France

If markets are more your style than department stores, then a visit to Wazemmes famous Sunday morning market is a must. Pop inside to pick up some fabulous cheeses or wander around the outdoor stalls selling a huge variety of things including flowers, Indian fabrics, antiques and street food from around the world.

Open: Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
Metro: Line 1 to Gambetta

 

3. Morning Coffee (and cake) at Coffee Makers

151 rue de Paris

Coffee Makers, Lille., France

Reputedly serving the best coffee in town, Coffee Makers are also known for their delicious homemade cakes and tasty sandwiches.

 

4. Cycling Tour of Lille

Cycling tour of Lille, France

Perfect for the more active Mum, a cycling tour with Le Grand Huit is a great introduction to the parks and historic sites of the city. You can read about my experience with them on my personal blog, Exploring Lille by bicycle.

 

5. Lunch at Guinquette de la Marine

8 Avenue Léon Jouhaux

Guinquette de la Marine, Lille, France

After all that cycling you’ll have worked up an appetite and this quirky riverside brasserie is the perfect place to refuel. Try their Carbonnade Flamande (Beef and beer stew) or their Tarte au Maroilles (Cheese Flan), both traditional to the area and utterly scrumptious. Arrive early to be sure to get a table. Tel: +33 (0)3 20 39 85 43.

 

6. Afternoon Tea at L’Impertinente

9 boulevard Papin

Impertinente, Lille, France

A fantastic tea room with a warm and friendly atmosphere where the delicious homemade cakes are bound to tempt you.

 

7. La Piscine, Musée d’Art et d’Industrie André Diligent

23 rue de l’espérance, Roubaix

La Piscine, Roubaix, Lille, France

Not far from Lille in neighbouring Roubaix, which you can easily get to by tram, is my favourite museum and art gallery, La Piscine, a former art deco swimming pool with a fascinating history which you can read about in this previous post, La Piscine, a beautiful museum in Roubaix, Lille.

For more information about public transport in and around Lille visit the Lille Tourism website and for more information about opening times and prices visit their website, La Piscine.

 

8. Waffles and chocolates at Méert

27 rue Esquermoise

Méert, Lille, France

A beautiful and historic shop and café, famous for its chocolates and waffles. You’ll also find them in Lille’s Printemps store.

 

9. Champagne at Alliance Couvent des Minimes

17 Quai du Wault

Alliance Couvent des Minimes, Lille, France

Just ten minutes from Lille’s main square you’ll find the city’s only champagne bar. Located in the glass-roofed courtyard of this 17th century former convent, the hotel beautifully combines many historic features with modern design. (And they are currently running a 3rd night free offer which you can find out more about at the end of this post.)

 

10. Dine at Basilic Café

24 bis rue Esquermoise

Burgers

A little further down the same street as Mason Méert, away from the tourist traps of the main square, you’ll find this trendy, reasonably priced restaurant known for their excellent burgers with a twist. They have a number of vegetarian options and I’ve heard they can also offer vegan dishes on request (although talking to them in advance is recommended).

 

3rd Night free offer at Alliance Couvent des Minimes

To make this Mother’s Day a day to remember, book a long weekend in Lille at one of the many lovely city centre hotels. The elegant Alliance Couvent des Minimes currently has a 3rd night free offer for travel completed between 15th February and the 9th March. With this offer the price for 3 nights, including breakfast and travel by Eurostar, is from £187 per person based on 2 sharing a room. And you can travel in style with an upgrade to Eurostar’s Standard Premier from £73 per person each way.

For more information or to book call 01489  866932.

Please note that the price for the Eurostar element is subject to fare availability.

 


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Speciality dishes from different regions in France

As we’re sure you’re already aware, France is a foodie’s paradise. It’s a place where connoisseurs can revel in all kinds of weird and wondrous cuisines, from escargots and ratatouille to soupe à L’oignon and tartiflette. That’s why we’ve decided to give you a whistle-stop tour around this flavoursome country, delving into a selection of different regional dishes, so you can choose which regions of France are to your taste.

South France

Making a start at the bottom in Southern France, this area is appreciated for its seafood, tomatoes and olive oil. Cassolulet (a slow cooked casserole with meat and white beans) is a popular winter dish, and a distinct Spanish influence can be found in their cooking, including spicy sausages and peppers. You’ll also find that lamb is the most popular meat in the south.

On the seafood front, bouillabaisse is popular (especially in Marseille), which is a traditional fish soup with a hint of aniseed, along with Brandade de morue – a starter made up of pureed salt cod combined with cream, garlic and olive oil, served with bread or potatoes.

You’ll certainly find an aromatic mix of Mediterranean flavours in the south, more so than in any other region, so if these dishes ignited your taste buds, it’s time to head down to the south of France.

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Bouillabaisse, image credit: Blue moon in her eyes, Flickr

South-West France

Wonderfully rich foods dominate this region, with duck, oysters and truffles being some of the main specialities. One of the delicacies popular in south-west of France (and arguably all over the country) is Foie gras, meaning duck or goose liver, which has a rich and buttery taste and can be prepared as a mousse, pâté or parfait.

You’ll find a great lobster terrine here too, known in France as Homard Persille, which is cooked with some wonderful herbs, including parsley. Confit de canard (duck confit) is another speciality which comes from the Aquitaine region of France, and to finish it all off, if you have a bit of a sweet tooth, have a look out for Touron – a multi-variety, multi-coloured marzipan roll made with all kinds of sweet ingredients.

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Foie Gras, image credit: Charles Haynes, Flickr

Confit de canard
Confit de canard, image credit:
Quinn Dombrowski, Flickr

North France

Now let’s take a trip up to northern France, where there’s a whole new world of gourmet delights to discover. Although a close neighbour to us in the UK, Truite Ardennaise (pan fried trout with smoked ham and cream) or kougelhopf (a delightful ring shaped cake with sultanas and almonds), are not necessarily dishes you’d find in abundance in the UK. Generally speaking, northern France is influenced by German and Belgian gastronomy and tends to be less Mediterranean-esque. Cold meats and root vegetables are popular, and if you’re a seafood fan then you’re in luck, as there are plenty of mussels and oysters to go round, especially in Normandy.

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Normandy mussels, image credit:
Connie Ma, Flickr

North-East France

As close neighbour of Germany, as you might expect there’s a German influence in north-eastern French cuisine. Quiche Lorraine is perhaps one of the more well-known dishes which originated from German culture (although with a slightly varied recipe). Tarte flambée is another popular dish, especially in Alsace. It can be best described as a mix between a pizza and a crepe, and is traditionally laden with crème fraiche, onions and bacon. And finally, pickled cabbage or ‘choucroute’ is a very popular accompaniment to north-eastern French meals.

quiche lorraine
Quiche Lorraine, image credit:
Olga/ Олька, Flickr

Tarte flambée
Tarte flambée, image credit:
Nicolas Winspeare, Flickr

West France

With such a vast stretch of coastline, you can certainly expect western France to be a seafood lover’s paradise, with everything from crabs, shrimps, cockles, whelks, and lobster, right through to the more unusual delicacy of fried eel, which is a popular dish in the city of Nantes.

Farci Poitevin, traditionally a stuffed herb and pork pâté is a popular starter in the region of Poitou-Charentes, and Rillettes de Porc, a rich pork terrine which is usually enjoyed with crackers or bread.

A classic French sauce titled ‘Beurre Blanc’ also originates from the western region of Pays de la Loire; however both Nantes and Angers lay claim to the recipe. Being deliciously buttery, smooth and of course very popular, it’s no wonder that both towns would want to claim it as their own. Find the recipe here.

seafood plate
Seafood platter, image credit:
Archangel12, Flickr

Central France

The ideal place for both meat and cheese lovers alike, central France is home to some real culinary treats, including Potee Auvergnate, a warming casserole from the Auvergne region with pork, cabbage, bacon, sausages, carrots and potatoes. There’s also some top quality meat to be discovered in Limousin, as its pork, lamb and beef are acknowledged throughout France as being second to no other.

Pâté aux pomme de terre Limousin is a traditional dish of the region which puts their fine produce to good use, being a pastry or bread filled with potato, sour cream, bacon, sausage meat and parsley, usually served with a green salad.

With cheese in abundance, especially in Auvergne, make sure you stop by on your travels to appreciate the sensational tastes and smells this region has to offer. Strong blue cheese titled ‘bleu d’Auvergne’, and one of the oldest French cheeses ‘fourme d’Ambert’ can be found here, and if you’re really into your dairy delights, there’s an Auvergne cheese trail, where you can learn about the PDO (Protected Designation of Origin) cheeses.

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Bleu d’Auvergne, image credit:
Coyau, Wikimedia Commons

If these culinary delights have prompted you to head to France for a gastronomic getaway, then visit GreatEscapes.co.uk for more information and to book a trip to the ultimate foodie’s paradise!


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Foreign festive foods

With Christmas nearly upon us, the supermarkets are now well and truly laden with traditional treats and food that we all know and love – mince pies, Christmas puddings, chestnuts ready for roasting, turkeys, sauces – the list is endless. But if you’re off on a Christmas getaway or short break abroad this year, or want to know where’s good to go at Christmas for a bit of a culinary overhaul, what might you expect to be eating this December 25th? We’ve looked at different traditional cuisines across Europe and a little further afield, to see what feasts appear on their tables…

France
Christmas eve is the main event for the French, as they celebrate le réveillon (or ‘wake-up’ meal) after attending midnight mass. Here, the aim is go all-out trying new, fancy recipes and impress the family with creative culinary skills. Meats such as goose, duck and partridge are popular, but also refined dishes including filet mignon garnished with truffles can appear on the table in a French household. Christmas day sees entrées include escargots, (cooked land snails) and oysters, and mains can be anything from a traditional turkey, to fish, lobster or boar (depending where you are in France). Thinking of taking a short Christmas break to France? Visit www.greatescapes.co.uk for more information.

Holland
Holland sees food fairly similar to ours grace their tables, including roast pork and game meats, although interestingly, part of their festivities can include grilling and cooking your own meat and veg at the table together. ‘Kerstkrans, wreath shaped pastry decorated with glacé fruits and filled with sweet almond paste, ‘speculaas’ – spiced cookies, and ‘Duivekater’ which is sweet bread, are also gorged on during this time of the year. If you’d like to find out more about short Christmas breaks to Holland, visit www.greatescapes.co.uk.

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Image credit: Agnes Kantaruk, Shutterstock

Italy
Festive dishes in Italy vary across the different regions, so if you’re visiting this year, you could find some very unusual food at Christmas time. Basilicata, a region in the south of Italy, traditionally sit down to a dish called ‘Baccalà Con Peperoni Cruschi’, or in English – salted cod with fried peppers.

In Sicily, you might be enjoying ‘Timballo Di Pasta Al Forno In Crosta’ – which is macaroni pasta in pork sauce baked in a breadcrumb-lined pan.

But perhaps the most similar to our traditional dinner can be found in the Lazio region in the central peninsular of Italy, where they like to dig into ‘Abbacchio Al Forno Con Patate’, which is roast suckling lamb with potatoes – now that’s more like it!

Germany
A goose with red cabbage and dumplings can be found on the table in a German household at Christmas, stuffed with a meat or dough filling and served with gravy. Another traditional meat which makes an appearance during the festive season is duck, filled with a variety of fruits, and again served with red cabbage and dumplings. If you fancy dining on a German inspired Christmas dinner, you can find an easy recipe for roasted stuffed duck here.

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Image credit: Dar1930, Shutterstock

Goa
If you venture slightly further afield to the western region of India, you’ll be met with an even more intriguing Christmas menu. ‘Sorpatel’ – a traditional Goan curry made with pork meat and liver, pork vindaloo, and ‘bebinca’, a Goan coconut flavoured layered dessert, typically served with ice cream. Christmas is a magical time in Goa celebrated by both Hindus and Christians alike. The day is commemorated with feasting, fireworks and many festivities all over the state. If you’d like to book your traditional Goan Christmas break, you can visit www.goaexperience.co.uk.

Hopefully we’ve given you a little insight into what some other countries might be tucking into this Christmas, so if you start to see new and intriguing festive foods entering our UK supermarkets, you might be more tempted to give them a go and embrace an international Christmas.


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24 hours in Brussels – Eating, drinking and shopping at the Christmas Markets

With Brussels being only a couple of hours from London on the Eurostar, it’s a great place to visit for a short break or even for the day! So what can you do in 24 hours in Brussels? I found out for myself with a whirlwind visit to this lovely city.

Hot Chocolate at Wittamer, Sablon

Having checked-in to our hotel, we headed straight out to explore and soon we were walking down quaint cobbled streets, passing beautiful historic buildings, quirky shops and a lovely park in Sablon.

Wittamer chocolate, Sablon, Brussles, Belgium

The area is known for its night life, restaurants and surrealism and is many people’s favourite part of the city but I had one thing on my mind… hot chocolate! Not just any old hot chocolate but a Wittamer hot chocolate. I’d been told by a few people that this was the very best in town. I knew it was on the Place du Grand Sablon and had a bright pink awning, which made it very easy to find.

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As I stared in through the shop window my heart did a somersault as my eyes beheld the exquisite cakes and pastries on display. I managed to tear myself away and we made our way upstairs to the charming café with its beamed ceilings, dramatic chandelier and oodles of character. Having ordered our drinks, we soaked up the atmosphere. A sense of serenity filled the air as everyone in the room indulged themselves in their favourite Wittamer treat. A couple sitting opposite, in unison, each picked up a white jug and slowly poured melted chocolate all over a delicious looking ice-cream creation decorated with an over-sized macaron. Then in front of us appeared our drinks, with a couple of Wittamer chocolates each and a large dollop of Chantilly cream. They tasted as good as they looked!

The Grand Place (or Grote Markt in Dutch)

From Le Sablon we walked on through more cobbled streets and I caught my fi rst glimpse of the Grand Place, Brussels’ main square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and reputed to be the most beautiful square in Europe. I had high expectations. As I turned the corner I caught my breath. Beautiful is not quite the right word… awe-inspiring, breath-taking, stunning… neither my words or my pictures do it justice. Every building that opened onto the square was an absolute gem. Grand and imposing with the most intricate of decorative adornment, these buildings almost sent me into a blind panic, as I wanted to capture it all in my camera, but in which direction to point it first? In the middle of the square a huge Christmas tree added to festive atmosphere.

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Throughout the weekend we walked into this square a number of times and each time I gazed at the square not quite believing what I was seeing. What’s more I know it will have that same effect on me when I return and return I will.

The Christmas Markets

Each December a number of squares in Brussels are home to the famous Christmas Markets and should you visit at this time of year they are well worth checking out.

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Though crowded there is a wonderful atmosphere and plenty of arts and crafts to buy and food and drink to tempt you. I was delighted that my visit coincided with the festive season and we had plenty of time to explore the stalls and enjoy the entertainment. In 2015 they will be held in the Grand-Place, Bourse, Place Sainte-Catherine and Marché aux Poissons from 27th November to 3rd January. For more information visit Winter Wonders website.

‘Keep on Toasting’ Gourmet Street Food in Brussels

We were enjoying simply wandering around so much that when we stumbled across the food truck ‘Keep on Toasting‘, rather than have a sit down meal, we decided to try our luck with these, reputedly excellent, gourmet version of the traditional Belgium, Croque-Monsieur. We soon got chatting to the man behind the counter, chef Jean-Baptiste. I tried the Croq’ November (semi-soft cheese, bacon pieces, celeriac and parsley) – it went down a treat. The melted cheese was deliciously gooey, and the combination of taste and textures with the perfectly toasted spelt bread, really hit the spot.

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As I munched away Jean-Baptiste explained that having trained for two years at cookery school, followed by five years hands-on experience working with different chefs, he wanted to start his own business. While there were plenty of other food trucks around these were, more often than not, of the deep fat frying variety producing poor quality food. He wanted to offer the people of Brussels a healthier, higher quality alternative.

Croque-monsieur is an extremely well established Belgium snack but it rarely varies from the traditional cheese and ham filling. Jean-Baptiste took this popular dish to another level. Using taste combinations and ideas he had gathered over the last seven years, he developed a unique range of delicious toasties. He chose to concentrate on producing just this one type of snack, so that he could work within the confines of the truck and still produce something really good to the high standard he desired. Through the year the menu changes with the seasons but you’ll always find four types of toasty available including a veggie option, costing €4 to €5 each.

Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

The next day, after an extremely filling breakfast from the huge variety of dishes on offer from our hotel, we re-traced some of our steps and sort out an arcade that I’d been told was well worth visiting, Galeries Royales, just around the corner from the Grand Place. Opened in the 1840s the arcade has been home to some 70 luxury boutiques including jewellers, fashion designers and the finest Belgium Chocolatiers ever since. In addition you’ll find theatres, a cinema and an art gallery as well as private residences. It’s the perfect place to explore on a rainy day but well worth popping by whatever the weather.

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Out of all the chocolate shops here we found Le Belgique Gourmande the most welcoming. The staff were very helpful and were handing out plenty of delicious free samples.

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Belgian beer

Before we knew it, it was nearly time to leave but not before sampling a glass or two of the beer that Belgium is so famous for on Rue des Brasseurs by the Grand Place. Somewhere so close to the most popular square in town is usually not the best place for a bite to eat or a drink but a particular bar had caught our eye and even though it was just a few yards from the Grand Place we decided to give Au Brasseurs a go. I think it was the parasol covered in pink elephants and a promise of a glass of Delirium that swung it for us.

As we stepped inside we immediately felt at home in this colourful down-to-earth pub that I could imagine locals enjoying as much as the tourists. Although they had a long list of beers
to choose from, how could we say no to a glass of Delirium and very good it was too.

Belgium beer

After a little more window shopping we popped back to the same bar. This time instead of selecting a beer by its name, we went for the shape of the glass! Kwak is served in a unique fluted glass with a round bottom, designed so that a coachman, who couldn’t leave his horses to enter an inn, could easily hold the glass while still wearing thick gloves. Once again this proved to be a perfect selection process as another fine beer slipped down our throats.

I really would love to go back one day to this very bar for a little more beer research work plus we hadn’t even scraped the surface when it comes to Belgium cuisine so a return visit is inevitable.

I found Brussels the perfect place for a weekend break and, while it may not be as pretty as Bruges or as cool as Antwerp, I can’t imagine anything, anywhere in Belgium (or even Europe) beating the splendour of Brussels’ Grand Place.

For more information about short breaks from the UK to Brussels please visit our website, GreatEscapes.co.uk.


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Bruges Top Ten, Part 2: Food and Drink

Fotograaf

Bruges is the perfect weekend getaway for any foodie and it should come as no surprise that two of Belgium’s favourite food passions are showcased here, namely chocolate and frites, which each have their own museums. Of course, there are a lot more edible and drinkable delights to be found throughout the city and here are some of our favourites.

You’ll find the locations of everywhere mentioned (and more) marked on the map at the end.

1. Chocolate
How many museums can you think of that hand out chocolate as you enter and when you leave? At Choco Story, you’ll also learn about the history of chocolate from the Mayas and the Aztecs through to modern times, as well as seeing (and smelling) chocolate being made. You can read more about the museum in our previous post Choco Story, the Chocolate Museum in Bruges.

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For superb home-made chocolates using the finest organic ingredients visit The Chocolate Line. Their salted caramels come highly recommended!

2. Fries
Learn about the history of frying potatoes and why “Vlaamse Friets” are like no others at the Frietmuseum, and of course, taste them too, in the museum’s own café, in a 14th century setting, not far from Bruges’ famous Grote Markt.

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3. Waffles
You can’t visit Belgium without trying a Belgian waffle and you’ll find them just as good but better value if you buy them from a street vendor rather than in a restaurant. We’d recommend a ‘wafel met slagroom,’ a waffle with whipped cream but there’s a huge variety of toppings you can choose from!

If you do prefer to sit down and relax in a café then try Humpty Dumpty’s, who make excellent waffles, which you can enjoy with a very good DIY hot chocolate (hot milk served with a stick of chocolate for you to melt down as required!)

4. Meatballs
Visit Balls of Glory to enjoy some seriously tasty, handcrafted meatballs to eat in, take-away or cook at home.

5. Beer
Open daily for visits, De Halve Maan is Bruges’only remaining independent brewery. You’ll find all the details of their tours and tastings on their website.

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6. Bar
2be, a bar and beer shop, together with their beer wall (with hundreds of beers bottles framed behind glass) is well worth a visit and if you fancy a lively atmosphere in a pub with over 300 beers try Brugs Beertjes.

7. Café
It is nigh-on impossible to walk past the bakers Het Dagelijks Brood, without the smell of fresh baking drawing you in where you’ll find locals and visitors sitting at long wooden communal tables. Great for vegetarians and meat eaters, the menus are in various languages offering a great choice of breakfasts, brunches and lunches, pastries and cakes!

8. Brasserie
With over 400 beers to choose from, Bierbrasserie Cambrinus, is a great choice for beer with a good meal with each dish, through appetisers, mains and desserts, all cooked in beer. Sitting on long tables and benches you’ll find everyone from boisterous stag parties to couples with young children all enjoying the hearty beer-flavoured fare.

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9. Restaurant
If you are looking for a more refined dinning experience try Park Restaurant. They serve great food in a stylish, atmospheric setting and the service is superb. Menus (in English) and prices are available on their website.

10. Food Markets
For great Flemish food for a picnic or some foodie souvenirs be sure to check-out one of the two local markets. On Saturday mornings go to ’t Zand and on Wednesdays Markt Square. The former is the largest with the best offers but both are worth a visit with plenty of fresh fish, fruit and vegetables, roasted nuts, wine and more cheese than you could possible imagine. Many stalls will be happy to offer a free taster so do tuck-in!

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You’ll find all the locations (marked by the green dots) of these great foodie finds, together with links to their websites on the map below.  Why not make your own great escape to Bruges.

best ghent restaurants


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5 Favourite Dining Experiences in Ghent, Belgium

Ghent offers some of Belgium’s finest foodie experiences going way above and beyond many an expectation of fries, waffles and beer. You’ll find all these for sure, and very good they are too, but you’ll also find a plethora of talented chefs, producing some exceptional, if sometimes quirky, sophisticated dining experiences. Here’s our choice of favourites from waffles to fine dining in Ghent.

The House of Eliott

Jan Breydelstraat 36
900 Ghent
09 22 52 128

thehouseofeliott.be
Trip Advisor

Feathers, statues, mannequins and dolls, flowers, hats, dresses and even a handbag under a glass dome – The House of Elliot is crammed full of 1920’s kitsch memorabilia, oozing charm and atmosphere in reputedly the best lobster restaurant in town.  If you opt for the Eliott lobster menu, you’ll get 6  lobster dishes prepared in 6 very different ways. And if one of you party is not a lobster fan, don’t fear, there are plenty of other options to choose from.  A warm welcome awaits you and the service is superb. The memories of your visit to this wonderfully quirky restaurant will stay with you a very long time.

best ghent restaurantstop gent restaurant

Volta

Nieuwe Wandeling 2b
9000 Ghent
09 32 40 500

volta-gent.be
Trip Advisor

Top Ghent restaurants
A ten minute walk from the city centre you’ll find this cool restaurant in a huge converted turbine hall was put on the Ghent foodie map by the chef Olly Ceulenaere one of Belgium’s three “rock n roll chefs” as nicknamed by local press. Olly passed on the baton last year to another talented young Flemish chef  Davy De Pourcq, ensuring that continues to offer a first-rate, if sometimes surprising, dining experience.
Closed Mondays.

De Frietketel

Papegaaistraat 89
9000 Ghent

Trip Advisor

Unlike traditional Belgium fries, which are fried twice in animal fat, at  De Frietketel their renowned fries are freshly cut each day and fried twice in vegetable oil. As the premier fry shop in Ghent it is well worth the ten minute walk from the town’s historic centre and you’ll be rewarded with a huge mound of fries, even if you order a small portion. As is traditional in Belgium, at an extra cost, you may also pick from a wonderful assortment of mainly unpronounceable sauces for dipping including Stoverijsaus, a rich meaty stew and the homemade, spicy mayonnaise, Samurai. They also offer a great variety of veggie burgers as well as several vegan options.
Possibly due to being very popular with locals and students, they only open during the week.

De Vitrine

Brabantdam 134
09 33 62 808 

de-vitrine.be
Trip Advisor

best restaurants Gent

Serving Flemish tapas around a marble counter in a former butcher’s shop, this popular restaurant also has a small dining room out the back which gets fully booked well in advance. They offer fresh and surprising fare at a reasonable price in an unpretentious atmosphere.
Closed Mondays

Max

Goudenleeuwplein 3
900 Ghent
09 22 39 731

Establishment Max
Trip Advisor

best waffle ghent

The home of the Belgium waffle – it was invented right here! Yves and his family have been cooking waffles for six generations in this charming art deco establishment. The perfect waffle should be light, translucent, not at all greasy, traditionally with 20 squares and dusted in powdered sugar but they can also come with whipped cream, chocolate fruit and many other delicious combinations!

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Photos courtesy of Trip Advisor

Belgium beer, kwak


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Belgium beer in a kwak-ers glass!

Does a glass with a perfectly round bottom, so that it will not stand up by itself, sound a little crazy to you? It does to me! Have you ever wondered why the glass that the Belgium beer, Pauwel Kwak, is served in is so bizarre?

Kawk beer glass, Belgium beer

This tasty beer is brewed by Bosteels Brewery in Buggenhout, Belgium which was founded way back in 1791. Surprisingly, but a pleasant surprise at that, the brewery has been owned and operated by the same family for 7 generations. They brew three beers: Tripel Karmeliet, DeuS, and Pauwel Kwak. It’s very common for Belgian beers to have a branded glass with its own distinctive shape, but the Kwak glass is the strangest I’ve ever come across. Both Tripel Karmeliet and DeuS are served in fairly standard glasses so why, you may ask, is Kwak so very different?

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The Kwak website explains “In Napoleon’s time, Pauwel Kwak was a brewer and the owner of the De Hoorn inn in Dendermonde. Mail coaches stopped there every day, but at that time coachmen were not allowed to leave their coach and horses… the inventive innkeeper had a special Kwak glass blown that could be hung on the coach. In this way, the coachman had his Kwak beer safely at hand.”

I’ve also heard it suggested that the thin neck of the glass enabled it to be held in the coachman’s thick glove.

Luckily when you order a glass of Kwak it comes with its own monogrammed wooden stand which you can use to prop it up and either remove it to drink on use the stand as a handle.

Irrelevant of the fun of trying Kwak (8% abv) for the first time in its novel glass, it’s a fine beer, deep amber in colour with a cream head, a mellow, slightly sweet taste with hints of caramel, banana and liquorice.

Kwak gift packs, which make a great present for any beer lover, can be ordered from Beer Hawk.

I ordered one, quite late, as a Christmas present and when the first one was broken en route, Beer Hawk rang me, apologised and sent another out straight away, which arrived in time for Christmas. They get full marks from me for service.