It's no longer any secret for anybody: Belgians enjoy their food.
They express, at table, a joy of eating and a joy of eating well, associated with a joy of living. Belgian cooking is not only sumptuous. It's also one of the finest in the world. Although exploratory and creative cooking is in full boom in Belgium, regional and traditional cooking is livelier than ever. Simmering and braising are often the secrets of its success.
Something for every taste
Anguilles au vert, waterzooï, carbonnades flamandes, croustillons, there are some 300 typical recipes. There are some for every taste: small delights or main course, haute cuisine or preparation on the hip, balanced or calorie-packed recipe... Without forgetting the beers, among the best in the world. Follow us... We're putting some of these specialities under the magnifying glass. We're off on a little gourmet dive into the heart the "flagship" recipes of Belgian gastronomy. To be taken with moderation...
Anguilles au vert
This eel recipe is a true masterpiece of local Flemish produce that requires immense care. Seven herbs are used in the traditional recipe: parsley, spinach, sorrel, sage, lemon grass, mint and young nettles. The dish is eaten hot with potatoes or cold with a slice of bread. And when you use your fingers to eat it, it's even better...
Asperges à la flamande
Belgium's white asparagus, the largest of the species, is famous for its smoothness and is exported as a luxury item to many different countries. The queen of white asparagus? The one that's grown in Malines. Asparagus "à la flamande", served as a starter, mixes that delicious vegetable with a sauce containing parsley, butter and crushed hard-boiled eggs. A real treat !
It should not be forgotten that Belgium is THE country of beer by all means.
In Brussels, Bloempach is an unmissable victual. This enigmatic name conceals a kind of round black pudding with a very particular taste. It's eaten as an aperitif, on a slice of bread or hot with compote and potatoes. A few butchers produce the recipe, a closely guarded secret, as a cottage industry.
To tickle your taste buds, taste this dish of melting beef, practically crystallised, bathed in mustard, onions, beer and brown sugar. A treat, especially with chips and - traditional! - a beer.
Served from the "stands" at the Fairs of Liege or Brussels like the Foire du Midi, croustillons are a delight for young and old eyes alike. These small balls of batter are gilded in the deep fat fryer for a few minutes. Crusty on the outside, soft on the inside, these delights are eaten hot with icing sugar And with your fingers...
To talk about Belgian cooking without mentioning fries? Pure madness...
Herve cheese has lots of character. Your nose will surely not tell you otherwise... But once in the mouth, it always comes as a bit of a surprise because of its extreme flavour and its rich, consistent texture. This soft cheese is to be found on all the best cheese plates. It's eaten with a slice of bread and butter, or garnished with apple and pear syrup.
Liege and Brussels Waffles
The Belgian waffle, whether from Liege or Brussels, is universally known.
Massepain aux amandes
This delicacy is to be found in all Belgian pastry shops, especially during the Christmas holidays, in the form of figurines of every kind. Marzipan is a paste made from finely blanched and ground almonds, mixed with eggwhite and sugar.
Tarte au Maton de Grammont
The Matontaart or Tarte au Maton is a speciality of Grammont, in West Flanders. A pastry so unique that it is protected by a European regional product certification mark. The tart is made of eggs, marzipan, buttermilk and soft white cheese.
Cooked for the first time in Marche, Matoufé is a snack recipe that was already current during the 14-18 War, as it was served at less well-to-do tables. An in expensive and nutritive dish that looks like a thick pancake (but one that isn't turned over during the cooking) and into which braised diced bacon is added.
Mussels "à la belge" are prepared with many different sauces: curry, pastis, beer, white wine, cream...
Pain à la grecque
Don't trust appearances. "Pain à la grecque" is indeed Belgian, from Brussels, to be precise.
Pain perdu (French toast)
From generation to generation, the Belgians have been eating their "pain perdu"... Although, at the beginning, the recipe was used to save bread (the stale bread was thus recycled), today, it has become a true gourmet delight. The bread is steeped successively in milk then in beaten egg, before being fried in the frying pan. Powdered with sugar, it's a delight.
Pékêt, a juniper-based spirit that can reach 40 degrees, has been making Belgian heads spin since time immemorial. Some like it neat, served with a piece of bread and farmhouse pâté. Others prefer the fruity versions: lemon, bilberry, banana, peach, coconut, passion fruit...
Its concocted somewhat as you wish. But Liege Salad maintains a tradition of preparation nevertheless: beans, potatoes, diced bacon, onions and wine vinegar. This mixture will "perk you up", as we say in Belgium.. A winter dish, undoubtedly!
Sirop de Liège
Apples and pears from the orchards of the Land of Aubel are the basis of Liege Syrup. This dark brown, runny paste is spread over a slice of bread for lunch or in cooking recipes, such as boulets liégeois. Also try the experience with a piece of Camembert cheese...
The spéculoos is the Belgian biscuit par excellence.
Tarte au riz
The tart with rice is a speciality from Verviers. This pastry containing rice, milk and leavened dough is a true delight. Powdered with icing sugar, it will only be better. One can also find some with a macaroon base.
This is a strange dish, soup and main course at one and the same time. Waterzooi indicates a boiled water preparation mixing fish, mussels, vegetables and cream. A variation for those who don't like fish: Chicken Waterzooi. Just as good and less expensive.
And many more...