Tempting traditional delicacies from Bruges
If you’re looking for a low-calorie destination, don’t stop here, because behind its architectural façade, gastronomy is one of the main attractions for tourists in Bruges. The local specialities are the fruit of long experience, a legacy passed down through history from one generation to the next. Chocolate, waffles, fries and beers are delights enjoyed by young and old.
Be warned! Your diet will be sorely tried by many things here (even the strongest-willed of us is at risk). But let yourself give in to the tempting traditional treats of Bruges. The experience is worth it.
The question is, does the city love its chocolate, or does chocolate love the city? Chocolate is a real institution in Bruges, not just a delicacy, it is a well-known dish, an emblem of the city. The streets of the city are lined with long-standing family businesses, besieged every day by tourists eager to search out their traditional artisan products.
Having been more than a year in Bruges now, I regularly try new chocolates, and I have put together my own address book. Here it is for you, so you can explore the best of the artisan chocolatiers (in my humble opinion). My 5 favourites can enchant the most discerning palates with the most refined, flavoursome tastes of all:
- The Old Chocolate House – a chocolate counter, supplemented with a tearoom upstairs (Mariastraat 1)
- Van Oost – a small, very charming shop on the bend at Markt (Wollestraat 11)
- Dumon – very chic, with several shops around town (Simon Stevinplein 11, Eiermarkt 6, Walstraat 6)
- Godiva – an international reputation, without betraying its traditions (Markt 10)
- Olivier’s – found by chance one day, when I had an irresistible desire for chocolate I just had to satisfy (Sint-Amandstraat 14).
This list isn’t exhaustive of course, and you will find just as many artisan chocolatiers as you wander the little streets, as well as the international names you already know. What else is there to say? Chocolate is and always will be a guilty pleasure, the temptation for which is only equalled by the satisfaction of tasting it.
A getaway to this lovely city of Bruges, whether romantic or among friends, is not complete without trying the Bruges waffles. It’s so difficult to choose, as the odour of waffles spreads across the whole city. Here are my favourite addresses, so you don’t get lost.
For the true waffle of Bruges you need to try those at Chez Albert (Breidelstraat 16). The waffles are made in less than a minute, before your very eyes, promising generous mouthfuls every time.
Right opposite there is Go.Fre, where the waffle has been raised to an art form. The waffles here are so beautiful you might feel sorry to be eating them (see what I mean in the photo).
Recommendation: as winter is on the doorstep, there’s nothing like a fine waffle with chocolate, raspberries, bananas, caramel and ‘speculoos’ (and yes, watch out, you’ll gain 10 kilos), while exploring the secrets of Bruges.
I have to admit that at first, I was never a great fan of fries. But Belgian fries are and will ever be the best in the world. I first tried them in Bruges and since then I can’t resist having a tray whenever I am with friends who have to come to explore the city.
In Bruges, you won’t find the best fries in fast food outlets or traditional restaurants, with meat, mussels or the famous Flemish carbonade. NO! You’ll eat the best fries from the two green food trucks, icons of Bruges, which stand in front of the Belfry.
Staying with the Bruges theme, there’s nothing better than a local beer to go with these golden potatoes. Brugse Zot (literally: Madman of Bruges), one of the only beers brewed locally, would move any beer lover; whether you prefer a lager or a dark beer, there’s something for all tastes. But if you’re a real beer drinker, you know that Bruges is the only city in the world with a beer pipeline!
I am delighted to provide you with this virtual tasting tour of the city, so all that remains is for you to make it real, and explore new taste horizons for yourself. So, to your forks! Now you are forearmed, you can come prepared to Bruges. Spend a flavoursome weekend here, with plenty of guilty culinary pleasures.