The Best of Belgium
Ideally located in the heart of Europe, surrounded by France, Germany and the Netherlands, the charming country of Belgium offers visitors an unforgettable journey from past to present. This culturally diverse and progressive country has somehow achieved a perfect balance between its rich history and its modern urban atmosphere. From the bustling capital of Brussels to the medieval cities of Antwerp and Bruges, ancient streets lined with beautiful architecture by day are magically transformed to usher in the dynamic and vibrant nightlife of the area. But to truly experience Belgium in all its glory, a taste of beer and chocolate is an absolute must.
If there’s one thing the Belgian people take seriously it’s their beer. And there certainly is no shortage of the frothy beverage. With over 450 varieties to choose from, many of which have become famous the world over, you’ll certainly have your pick of brews. Even the shape of the glasses they use is specifically designed to enhance the taste of beer.
Beer connoisseurs from around the world enjoy Belgian brews for their variety, flavor and unique character. The main types or categories of beer in Belgium include:
- Lambic – a Brussels specialty, non-malted wheat beer
- Gueuze – mixture of two or more Lambic beers
- Kriek – great summer brew, Lambic beer fermented with raspberries or cherries
- Faro – lighter version of a Lambic beer
- Brown Beers – malty, sweet and sour
- Blanche/White Beers – cloudy, light
- Red Beers – aged in oak, sweet, sour and fruity in taste
- Golden Beers – pale, similar to Pilsner lagers
Throughout the region breweries and pubs abound, offering visitors a tasty tour of the ins and outs of this famous drink and festivals are plenty throughout the country as are tasting events. Enjoy a walking, cycling or driving tour of the area. There’s even a beer museum to visit and learn more about one of Belgium’s biggest and most well-known commodities for which it has enjoyed an unparalleled reputation since the Middle Ages.
If you have more of a sweet tooth than a taste for hops and barley then you’re in luck. Belgium is one of the world’s leading producers of fine chocolate, particularly the praline, a delectable and delicately hand-made treat prepared only with fresh ingredients. The entire country is bursting with expert chocolatiers, each boasting their own exquisite concoctions. There are also a number of museums dedicated to the confectionary treat where one can learn about the history of Belgium chocolate and how it has evolved through the years. You can even embark on a number of different guided tours complete with tastings and samples galore. It’s sure to satisfy even the most discerning sweet tooth.
As an added bonus visit Belgium in November for Choco-Laté, an incredible 3 day festival held every year in Bruges where visitors gather to pay homage to the sweet treat. The fun-filled event features everything from shopping to mouthwatering demonstrations to sculptures and even chocolate body painting. It’s truly a chocolate lover’s dream!
Whether it’s a frothy brew that tickles your fancy or a semi-sweet cocoa treat that gets your mouth watering (or perhaps both) Belgium has everything you need to satisfy your taste buds. It’s the perfect way to round out a fascinating adventure through this beautiful and culturally rich country and ensure an unforgettable (and tasty) experience for everyone.