The best of waffles, chocolate, beer, and fries in little towns outside of Brussels.
Belgian cuisine is often forgotten when matched to other international fare. However, waffles, chocolate, beer, and fries are at the center of Belgium’s heart – making it a perfect foodie’s destination. But with so much delicious food, it can be hard to narrow down what the best of the best is when it comes to these delights. It is easy to head towards the center of Brussels for tourist favorites, but it’s time to try what the locals enjoy.
The Best Waffles: Jean Gaston
Town: Stockel (From Brussels: 24 minutes by car.)
It would be remiss not to mention the two different types of Belgian waffles before explaining what the best waffle in Belgium is. The first, and most well known, is the Brussels waffle. Which is a plain and lighter waffle often doused in delicious toppings such as Nutella, fresh strawberries, and powdered sugar. The other and often forgotten waffle is the Liège waffle. This is thicker and doughier waffle that resembles a sweet pastry more, due to the clumps of pearl sugar that are in the dough. The Liège Waffle by Jean Gaston is the best waffle in Belgium.
However, Jean Gaston isn’t the easiest to track down due to it being a traveling bakery. It is often found in street markets across Belgium for the locals to enjoy. The Jean Gaston bakery provides an assortment of baked goods, the Liège waffle being their most popular item, creating a trail of wanting customers all through the market until they sell out. Which is always sooner than expected. Despite how difficult the van might be to track down and the long line one might have to endure- it is all worth it. After all, it is the best waffle in Belgium.
The Jean Gaston van can often be found at Stockel Market in Stockel, Belgium, a town outside of Brussels. The market happens every Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday, from 8 am to 1 pm.
The Best Chocolate: Neuhaus Factory Shop
Town: Vlezenbeek (From Brussels: 26 minutes by car.)
Everybody knows about Belgian chocolate, and no matter where you go, you can’t go wrong. With dozens of boutique and name brand chocolate stores dotted all around Belgium, it is tough to narrow down a favorite. For an experience and taste that never fails head to the Neuhaus Factory Shop. With free samples and options for bulk purchases up to a kilo, it is the perfect stop for a sweet indulgence and to get some gifts for friends back home. If you want to try the dozens of varieties of chocolate Neuhaus has to offer this is the place to go – and who doesn’t like free samples of smooth, creamy chocolate. And to clarify a sample here isn’t a piece of a chocolate- it’s the whole bonbon!
The Best French Fries: Frit Flagey
Town: Ixelles (From Brussels: 19 minutes by car.)
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Adding fries to the list of foodie delights in Belgium might have been a little daring- considering that the French and Belgians have long disputed the origin of french fries. Either way, Belgian french fries are divine – from little bistros to the fry shacks found in the middle of town squares.
The fry shacks are known to sell a variety of fried items and an assortment of sauces. Narrowing down the best was a tough decision- but Frit Flagey in Ixelles might take the cake. With great reviews from tourists and locals alike Frit Flagey is home to the perfect fry. Warm and thick french fries in a greasy paper cone with just the right amount of salt. If you try it out make sure to get a variety of sauces – you never know which one you might like!
The Best Beer: Maredsous Abbey
Town: Denée (From Brussels: 1 hour 30 minutes by car.)
Belgian beer has always been recognized as one of a kind – but what enhances the beer experience more is the history behind it. Maredsous Abbey and brewery is that perfect combination. Maredsous Abbey was founded in 1872 and is an active community of Benedictine Monks. While the monks in the Abbey are no longer involved in the brewing process, their original recipe is still used today. The Abbey has three varieties of beer, Blond, Bruin, and Tripel – all with varying degrees of strength. While the beer itself is of high regard, what makes this beer experience different than others is the overall visit. Getting to explore the abbey grounds and the abbey’s Neo-Gothic structure is fascinating; coupled with an authentic Belgian beer, nothing could be better!
You truly can’t go wrong when food tasting in Belgium. In a place that holds so much pride over their food, they make sure to do it well. No wonder certain Belgian foods can now be found all over the globe. But next time you are booking a trip to Europe consider a few days in Belgium – perhaps you too can experience some local Belgian delights!
Sophia spent three years in Belgium.