Say Belgium and the following culinary delights come to mind: chocolate, waffles, fries and of course beer. And if you want to indulge in any of these, Bruges will not disappoint. Here's our experience of eating and drinking in Bruges:
1) Delicious veggie (yes veggie) friendly restaurant Reliva
As a vegetarian who loves food, I often get disappointed with the opportunities for eating new and interesting food when we are travelling. I wanted to make sure that I had at least one delicious meal while away in Bruges and so went online to research vegetarian restaurants. I quickly came across Reliva, which describes itself as a place 'where fish, mean, vegetarian and vegan food find a perfect match'.
And I have to say, the vegetarian dishes they offered were delicious. I had a beetroot soup to start, followed by a coconut curry.
We also went for the wine pairings, which were spot on.
Another thing that was really nice about the place was how enthusiastic the waiter was about the food he was serving and the different drinks he had available, making for a more enjoyable experience.
Top tip? Book ahead! People were turned away, while we were there.
The streets of Bruges are full of the smell of chocolate from a plethora of chocolate shops. Most shops are very willing to give you samples. And it is all simply quite delicious.
On a cold day, a hot chocolate will surely warm your cockles. And if it doesn't the excitement of the rudely shaped chocolate treats may get the heart racing instead!
We bought our chocolate souvenirs from Galler, just off Markt square (to the right if looking at the Belfry). Galler is a 'Royal Warrant Holder of the Court of Belgium'. So if its good enough for the king, its good enough for us.
You can't go to Belgium and not drink beer! And the stuff is everywhere. In Bruges, it is even piped under the streets!
You can't go wrong with the local Brugse Zot, the signature drink of the Halve Maan brewery and one of the only beers to be brewed in the historical centre of Bruges.
We also loved the house brew at De Garre - although a little lethal at 11%, especially given how smoothly it went down. De Garre is lovely and lively bar, although a little hard to find, tucked away in a small alleyway off of Breidelstraat.
4) Belgian fries
The Belgians do love their fries and there's even a museum dedicated to them in Bruges, explaining how fries actually originate in Belgium and not France. Should all fries should really be called Belgian and not French fries? (Unless of course, they are in fact chips, which as any Brit will tell you are a very different thing altogether).
Having sampled Belgian fries in Bruges, I think they are tastier than your average fry. They were nice and crunchy on the outside and fluffy on the inside - apparently down to the method of frying them twice.
The other great thing about the friteries in Belgium is the range of sauces you can choose to go with your fries. There were about a dozen options in one of the places we went - worth experimenting with to find your favourite!
Did you know there are two types of waffles in Belgium? A Brussels waffle and a Liege waffle. Brussels waffles are made with much thinner batter and so are lighter, while the Liege waffles are denser and sweeter.
There are plenty of places to try out waffles in Bruges. The shape will let you know which one you are eating. Brussels waffles have a neat square edge, with deep square indentations. Liege waffles don't have a neat square edge.
Both are delicious in their own way and I didn't quite do enough research to find out which one I preferred. I have more work to do!
(I didn't seem to take any photos of waffles. I guess they disappeared too quickly!).
Eating and drinking in Bruges was a very enjoyable part of our weekend away. Have you eaten and drunk your way around Bruges? What were your highlights?