Archive for the ‘Belgium’ Category

Angèle – Bruxelles je t’aime

I learned about Angèle last summer. The person who told me about her said she was Dutch.

No, she’s Flemish.

I really understand this song: especially as I am now working on my being certified as a “Francophone”. This is despite having the French language foisted upon me.

I don’t have the same issue proving I am a German speaker.

Enjoy! Profitez! Geniet! Genießen!

Note that I posted that last bit in English!

BTW, the announcement in Flemish at the start of the clip relates to when the CD will be released. You can preorder it online. I did!

Brussels Eurodisney Promo Photo

In the “weird stuff I saw when I was living in Belgium” Department, here is a picture of EuroDisney’s promo castle which was set up in the Cinquantinaire (near Merode Station where I was living). The juxtaposition of real history and Disney was interesting to me.

There’s only one Orval allowed around here

And the obnoxious commenter should make like the people who brew it.
Orval

#BrusselsLockdown

I have to admit that if I didn’t live in London, I would like to live in Brussels.  London is top of the list for the culture and easy access to the Continent.  Brussels is a place I’ve lived and has all the access that London does (and is a short trip to get to London).

I have to admit it was strange seeing pictures of Brussels closed down the past few days, but what really struck me was how the Belgians reacted to having to be in lockdown.

They posted pictures of cats.


I have to admit to having an affinity for Belgium since the European mix in me is pretty much what would be ethnically “Belgian” down to being related to a famous Luxembourgois!

Anyway, I have to admire the Belgian reaction to a terrorist threat.

Shocker

OK, it’s been over 25 years since I lived in Belgium.  There have been a lot of changes since when I lived there and it was a Catholic country.  How Catholic was it?  The TV News would announce what Saint would have his feast day during the weather!

So, I was in a bit of a shock to hear that a healthy, 24 year old woman with severe depression was given the OK for Euthenasia.

Did I hear that correctly?

To get an idea of how shocking this is: imagine that you had been away from the US and you learned that people in the US suddenly banned guns saying it really made much more sense than “gun rights”.

Get the picture?

It seems that the Belgians have become tired of the paternalism of the Church.  Not sure if the Marc Dutroux affair had implications for the Church as well as the government of Belgium.

Anyway, it seems as if Belgium has swung to the opposite extreme on the issue of right to life: sort of like when a person who has been very religious and chaste suddenly goes off the rails sexually.

Posted 04/07/2015 by lacithedog in Belgium

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You know you are really into Belgian beer when…

You have the proper glasses.  And I don’t mean the generic Libby style ones.  I mean the actual brewery glasses.  In factpauwel-kwak-3, you probably have the correct glass for each beer.

You own the glass for drinking Kwak.

You have been to a brewery.  In my case, de Halve Maan in Bruges.  Although, I have been to some of the Abbeys (e.g., Leffe in Dinant).

You have actually stayed in an Abbey!

Any tour of Belgium sounds more like a pilgrimage than an actual holiday.

You know Belgium fairly well due more to where the Breweries are than actual geography.

You know which beers are Flemish and which are Walloon.

You are probably a better Belgian in accepting regional differences than the average Belgian.

You don’t own wine glasses–you use Leffe glasses if you have friends who want to drink wine.

Posted 29/09/2014 by lacithedog in Belgian Beer, Belgium

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Brother Thelonious – Belgian Style Abbey Ale

I have no idea of how this stuff tastes, but it came to my attention due to all the Belgian Beer related material I’ve looked at.
brand-BroThelo

You can get it here.

It puts a new twist to an Abbey Ale.  I think I would prefer a Thelonious Monk to a Trappist.

Posted 23/08/2014 by lacithedog in Belgian Beer, Belgian Food, Belgium

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Belgian waffles

BelgaufraThe real Belgian waffle, (gaufre au sucre, gauff‘ au suc, Liege Waffle, Gaufre Liègeoise, or Gaufre de Liège) is a serious treat and unlike what passes for a waffle elsewhere.  I had a “Belgian Waffle” at the Maryland Renaissance Faire, which like the Faire was a total disappointment.

First off, Liege Waffles use yeast, unlike regular waffles.  The liege waffle recipe dough making process is time consuming, due to the importance of the dough rising perfectly.  Also a proper Belgian waffle contains chunks of pearl sugar. This special type of sugar caramelizes on the outside of the waffle when baked. Pearl sugar caramelized on the waffle is what makes a delicious Belgian waffle what it is. The sugar also makes the waffles sweet enough to eat plain.

I’ve tried making them and it is a whole lot easier to just buy them.  I used to go to the Belgaufra shops when I lived in Belgium.  I’ve been to a few places in other Countries where they do a proper Belgian Waffle.

Of course, one can buy a Belgaufra franchise: there is one in Egypt and even on in Beirut, Lebanon.  There is still hope for getting real Belgian Waffles out in the world

See also:

Glassware for Beer

I had a friend who did a Belgian Beer tasting for us when I lived in Belgium.  Not only did he bring a bunch of beers, but he also brought glasses forbeerglassesposter36x10 all the beers with the breweries’ logos on them.  Anyone who has spent time in Belgium will know there are loads of different glasses for drinking beers and each beer seems to have a specific glass to go with it, which makes beer drinking an interesting proposition.

If you want to do it at home…

I found a good article at the Beer Advocate in their Beer 101 section on beer glasses:

So which glassware do you use? The answer can often be overwhelming. In Europe, especially Belgium, each brand of beer will often have its own glass. In fact, some breweries have been known to engineer the glass before the beer, and many bars will also stock unique glassware for every brand of beer they serve, which could be hundreds or thousands. And while it’s always a good idea to use glassware designed by the brewery for a specific brand of beer, sometimes this is not an option. But fret not! We’ve complied a quick guide of recommended glassware that will cover most beers and arm you with a very versatile arsenal of glassware.

I say good since this covers most beers, not just Belgian Beers, but there are three ones that anyone interested in drinking Belgian Beer should have

The Wit (Bier Blanche) glasshoegaarden

I’ll be lazy and say the Hoegaarden is the classic white/wheat beer glass.

The Tulip

The workhorse of the bunch.  Libby’s 3808 16 oz. Belgian Beer glass is your best bet for these.  They also do double duty and work for Scotch Ale!

Chimay GlassThe Abbey Ale Chalice

Again, I’ll go with a big name: Chimay.

Actually, if you don’t want to spend a lot on glassware, Libby is the way to go since they do inexpensive versions of these glasses.  They won’t have logos, but they work.

If you want logos, and don’t live in a place convenient to Belgium, go to the Global Beer Network store. But with over 300 different types of beer, you would have one hell of a collection!

Enjoy!

See also:

Posted 18/08/2014 by lacithedog in Ale, Beer, Beers, Belgian Food, Belgium

Léon de Bruxelles (Chez Léon)

chez-leonsOne thing I really like is a good pot of Mussels and Chips (mosselen en frieten, moules-frites, mosselen-friet), which was one of the two things I really liked about Belgian food.  The beer is pretty good as well, but I really like moules-frites.  I got hooked at the original Léon de Bruxelles,  Chez Léon, at Rue De Bouchers/Beenhouwersstraat 18 in Brussels when I lived there.  I knew that the restaurant had spread to France since that was where we ended up eating most of the time.

I’ll be honest, the place is a bit like a Belgian McDonalds serving up moules-frites in a sit down setting with a quality and price that is pretty predictable.  I’ve had loads of better moules-frites in places like Belgo, but it was nice to see a familiar face in Paris: especially since the Parisians can be nearly as bad as New Yorkers for not making you feel very welcome.  Parisians are definitely food snobs with an inflated reputation and opinion of themselves (Lyon has a better culinary reputation).

Unlike McDonalds, Léon is a family business:

Léon Vanlancker set up his original business, a five-table restaurant called A la Ville d’Anvers in 1867. In 1893, he moved a few meters from there to 18 rue des Bouchers and opened fr:Chez Léon.  Real growth started from 1958 when Brussels became known as the capital of mussels and French fries. Since then, the Vanlancker business has continued to expand. Today, it extends to nine buildings and more than one thousand meals are served every day. The Vanlacker family opened the first Léon restaurant in Paris at Place de la République.  There are 67 Léon de Bruxelles restaurants across France.Hulot

Anyway, there were more Léon’s restaurants in Paris than there were in all of Belgium when I was there at the turn of the millennium.  Not that moules-frites aren’t French, but they are pretty much a Belgian dish.  The Irish who call mussels “famine food” somehow never put mussels and chips together for some odd reason. Although, I know that Denis Blais and Andre Plisnier will happily point out that Frites are Belgian (and gave me points on how to properly cook them).

Where this is going is that the Léon de Bruxelles headquarters appears to be in Lille, France!  Not only that, they opened a store in London in the Covent Garden area a couple of years back (that’s sort of close to Belgo Centraal).  I am also having a desire for some Léon’s moules-frites, even though I live close to a really good moules-frites restaurant! Actually, there is a recent Zagat article that mentions 8 places to get them near me and  I’ve been to most of them!

Seriously, there is this part of me that wishes that people in the US would discover moules-frites.  I know that “boardwalk fries” are something that people eat in the US, but I am not sure if there are many places to get moules-frites.  Then again, I haven’t been to the place I would like to see them, Dewey Beach, in a long while.  I’d also like to see a hotel like the one in M. Hulot’s Holiday, but I understand that one is now a five star hotel (Hotel De La Plage in Saint Nazaire, France) and you will pay a fortune for the room he stayed in.

Ain’t gonna happen.

Anyway, I no longer need to imagine I am on the Belgian coast.