Of course the museums, history and culture of Belgium were the focus of our stay in Bruges and Gent. And we are always looking for comic art like the Adventures of Tintin when we are in Belgium. But here comes a post about the vegetarian food in Belgium. Not only because so many of the Belgian specialities are sweet, a lot of the food options are suitable for vegetarians!
“Wow, that’s it! Now we can talk!” The young family disappears into a chocolate shop. Bruges boasts well over 50 chocolate specialty shops, selling huge Belgian pralines and marzipan. In a week in Bruges, we ate our way through violet cream pralinés and marzipan balls. In the end, our favorites were the candied orange slices covered with dark chocolate.
In addition, nearly every café produces rich Belgian waffles made with yeast and lumps of half-molten sugar. Oh, sugar cubes, we comment, but the baker frowns: This is pearl sugar, he insists. The Waffles are sold with different toppings like cream, chocolate or warm cherry sauce and were one of the highlights of the Belgian food culture.
The crown of vegetarian food in Belgium? Fries!
Of all the vegetarian food in Belgium, French fries play the most ubiquitous part. Legend has it that the Belgians invented Potato Fries during a particularly harsh winter. In one village the people liked to eat small fried fish, but as the river was covered with a thick layer of ice, they cut potatoes into a similar shape and size and fried them instead.
We learn that the Belgian fries are double-fried and thus, believe it or not, contain less fat. “I recommend the ‘Sauce Toscana,’ a bit spicy, you will like it!” The man with the thinning grey hair leans confidentially over the greasy efrigerated counter, which holds an array of plastic buckets filled with mayonnaisy sauces. “By the way, my wife is also German,” he adds, somewhat randomly. We decide, as always, on the non-oily Piccalilli-Sauce, mustard pickles with a lot of vinegar. In Belgium, after all, it’s the sauce rather than the fries that let you gain weight.
NB. Our quest for vegetarian food in Belgium was not sponsored in any way. We paid all expenses ourselves.