Belgian is great for not only for its chocolates and waffles, but it also has hundreds of amazing desserts. All of them are colorful and fancy. It makes you want to try them all. Little cakes, many types of pastries, tarts, and some things I’ve never seen before. I really like to look at all the artistry that goes into preparing the chocolates and other pastries. One of the favorite treats are the fruit tarts which are piled high with red raspberries and dusted with icing sugar or topped with a mixture of fruits like blueberries, strawberries and other fruits I don’t even know the name of.
The Belgian waffles can also be ordered piled high with strawberries, drizzled with chocolate and topped with whipped cream. I’ve seen ones with bananas and ice cream. Ice cream on top of waffles is quite normal and the ice cream definitely tastes different as well. Its fresh ice cream with full flavors: the raspberry is sharp, the pistachio is light, the lemon is tangy and the cookie flavored has a sweet crunch. Designer ice cream is also my weakness.
Although, the bread is not as good as in France, the baguette sandwiches are superb. Since my first job as a teenager was…..at Subway, I grew sick of sandwiches and I couldn’t eat them after I quit. Being in Belgium, I’ve probably eaten more baguette sandwiches than I ate subs. I will never be able to eat turkey between to slices of bread again. Here, they really are sandwich artists with their freshly baked breads, few slices of salami and a selection of fresh veggies with a small addition of spicy sauce (or mayo and mustard) to give a bit of flavor. Big sandwiches, made with a foot long (or longer) baguette or ciabatta bread, are the standard lunchtime meal in my office and I’m sure in others.
I also love going to the markets. The array of fresh fruit and veggies is a color sight to see. Everything is displayed on titled racks for prime visual appeal. I’ve tried fruits that I haven’t even heard of in Canada. There is a little orange fruit that looks like a grape but is somehow “fuzzy” inside and full of tiny editable seeds. It has a distinct taste and texture. I’ve seen it used as a garnish on ice cream (which come in tall clear glasses) in restaurants, and are completely amazing compared to the generic sundaes in Canada. I also tried a whitish-green zucchini, which is great grilled on the BBQ.
Eating market veggies and fruits has made me curious as to the health value of those found in the Canadian grocery stores. Normal strawberries go bad in two days, not five to seven. Fresh lettuce also goes bad much quicker than I was used to. There is also a noticeable difference in the size of the tomatoes, onions, apples and other fruits. They are much smaller here than the artificially enlarged generally found in Canada. I even wonder if the “organic” items in the stores are actually organic because I bet the probably last longer than two or three days before spoiling.
Read about other positive trade-offs to living in Europe: