Going through my photos of Bruges, I realized that I would have to split the post up even further to go into any sort of detail. So in this post, I will focus on our gastronomic experiences in this gorgeous city and tomorrow I will share the sights of Bruges, Antwerp and Oostende.
When people ask what my favorite part of this trip was, I automatically answer Belgium, especially Bruges. Everyone we met was incredibly friendly and helpful and the language barrier was not present whatsoever. For example, our bed and breakfast was run by a man that knew at LEAST 4 languages (Flemish, French, English and German) and he liked to push more food on us, despite the overflowing bread basket still sitting on our table next to the homemade jams and fruit bowls. Our very last night in Bruges was spent getting drunk with a local who Jeff bonded with over futbol. He bought us drinks, we bought him drinks, we exchanged emails and phone numbers and a jolly good time was had all around. I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t have happened in Paris.
Our first mission when we arrived in Bruges was to find dinner. I had made notes on vegan friendly places in most of the cities we were staying in and while Bruges wasn’t overflowing with options, there were a couple. Passion for Food was where we ended up. It was empty save for the employee’s family, which meant the man that helped us talked to us forever about what to see while we were here and his own visit to the states. It was a great experience and I encourage everyone that travels to talk to the people who live there, wherever you go! Generally they’re curious about where you’re from and willing to give you tips and recommendations. On to the goods!
My dinner was a tasty roasted veggie bowl with lentils, chickpeas, bulgur and apples. Being the most substantial thing I had eaten in days (and for days to come), it tasted amazing. Accompanying it was a beer that we would become familiar with during our stay in Belgium.
As they didn’t open for another hour, we decided to take the brewery tour at Halve de Maan, an ancient brewery on the edge of the city. The tour lasted at least an hour and is so popular they do one every hour, in three different languages! At the end you’re rewarded with a glass of the Brugse Zot, the same beer I had the night before. I wasn’t complaining!
We managed to hit this place one last time before we left. The second time, we sat upstairs with a family from Canada who had an old man dressed in lederhosen having a grand old time. Upon leaving, one of the family members told the Scottish server, “if you’re ever in Canada, you let me know!” After they left, the server looked at us and muttered, “who would want to go to CANADA?” To which we giggled. I mean, after years and years of having to claim Canadian citizenship to avoid answering for the Bush administration, it felt good not to be the scapegoat. I love you Canada!
On a final note, I must talk to you about Speculoos. My friends on the PPK have been fired up about it for months and I finally understand why. I’m assuming you’ve tried Biscoff cookies at least once during your life. Well, this is a spread made of those cookies. A COOKIE SPREAD. It is the most amazing food product ever made and we went through two jars during our trip. They’re starting to make it available in the States and I encourage you to search it out. If you are close to me in person, I have a jar of my very own and I MIGHT share with you.