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The ART of Chocolate: Brussels, Belgium

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When it comes to crafting great food, Belgians do a number of things exceptionally well.  They make excellent french fries (frites), with an interesting assortment of dipping sauces.  They brew some great beer -- many beer lovers say the world's best.  But their culinary talent is best displayed in their passion for chocolate.  Belgian chocolate is considered to be the gold standard by which other chocolate is measured, even that of the Swiss.

 

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 (Chocolate shop in  les Galeries St. Hubert, Brussels) 
 

Belgium has over two thousand commercial chocolatiers, a remarkably large cottage industry.  Chocolate is mostly produced in small batches and by hand, this process lending itself to many small, independent chocolate outlets.  More than 170,000 tonnes of chocolate are produced each year, a lot of it consumed domestically but much of it for export.  Belgians, rather than cutting costs, have stuck with traditional chocolate manufacturing techniques using time tested ingredients.  Not only is it carefully cooked but it's also crafted to be visually appealing, often beautiful.  It's not cheap but always delicious!  Some of the popular local chains include Neuhaus and Leonidas.

 

Beautiful handcrafted chocolates, Brussels -- each one a work of art  (Hand crafted Belgian chocolates, Brussels)

 

What type of chocolate can you get in Belgium?  Simple -- only the best chocolate.  But it comes in so many flavors you can't possible begin to list them.  Among my favorites are raspberry chocolate blends -- a combination has appealed to me since I was a boy.

 

So make it a point of doing a chocolate "crawl" the next time you're in Brussels or elsewhere in Belgium.  Stop at one of the many of the chocolate shops and buy a piece, enjoy it, and move on to the next.  And be sure to buy some chocolate as gifts.  Much of it is so beautifully crafted and packaged and it makes wonderful presents  (An obvious note of warning; do not buy as a gift if you plan on traveling to a hot climate)

 

My favorite of the chocolate shops we visited was Neuhaus.  Anyone else have a favorite?

 

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(Display of nuts?  Nope -- it's all chocolate.  Every bite wonderful!)

 

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(Perhaps a few small packets to take home with you??) 

 

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 (Don't forget to buy some macaroons)

 

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  • Beautiful handcrafted chocolates, Brussels.
  • Beautiful handcrafted chocolates, Brussels -- each one a work of art
  • Beautiful handcrafted chocolates, Brussels.
  • Beautiful handcrafed chocolates, Brussels.
  • Chocolate shop in les Galeries St. Hubert, Brussels.
  • Chocolate shop in les Galeries St. Hubert, Brussels.
  • Godiva chocolate shop, Grote Markt, Brussels
  • Chocolate teddy bears, Brussels
  • And don't forget to wash that chocolate down with some macaroons!

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

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Originally Posted by GarryRF:

The French lay no claim to inventing "Frites". The French blame the Belgians for the bulk builder even though they serve it with Mayonnaise - not ketchup !

Is it only Americans who call them French Fries ?

 

There's a lot of "who gets the blame" going around. What we call a "Danish," the Danes call "Wienerbrod" or Viennese Bread; "French Dressing" is nowhere to be found in France. At least the Wienerschnitzel really lives in Wien (unless it's an L.A. hotdog.) And let's not forget such non-food items as "Le Capot Anglais," known on the other side of the Channel as a "French Letter!"

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

Very true Paul. Many people dislike English Muffins because they sit in your stomach like a lead ball.

Of course - nothing to do with us !

So we call them American Muffins  - and blame them on you !! 

 

The origin of the Danish pastry is ascribed by the Danish Confectioners, Bakers and Chocolatemakers Association to a strike amongst the bakery workers in Danish bakeries in 1850. The strike forced Danish bakery owners to hire foreign workers. Among these were several Austrian bakers, who were unfamiliar with the Danish baking recipes, and therefore baked pastries using their native homeland recipes.

Amongst these Austrian pastries were Plundergebäck, which became quite popular in Denmark. Later this recipe was changed by Danish bakers, increasing the amount of fat (by adding more egg) which resulted in what is known as the Danish pastry

 

Last edited by GarryRF

Then it is official that I have no taste buds at all. 

I like

"French" fries

"Danish" pastries

Everything on the Weiner Schnitzel menu

"English" muffins

 

Give me a yummy "American" apple pie anytime.   I will even take it with the "Dutch" crumb crust.

 

 

"American" apple pie ?

Good point Bling !

We have recipes for Apple Pie that pre-date the discovery of America by Christopher Columbus.

Over a hundred years before !

So is this another Baseball story where Americans re-invent something by changing the size of the bat ?

Last edited by GarryRF
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