Belgium: A Country of Heavenly Sin

By Elizabeth Nash

Photo by Elizabeth Nash

If Heaven is a place on Earth, Belgium is the capital.  Stepping out of the frigid wind and into one of Brussels’ many candy shops, you are immediately overcome with the deeply sweet smell of melted chocolate.  From inside the glass display cases, a warm glow illuminates the row upon row of chocolate covered truffles.

Each little ball of joy is shaped differently than the next.  Some are sprinkled with hazelnuts, others are rolled in confectioners sugars, and some are piped full of brandy.  The choosing of the truffle is a delicious dilemma and it’s best to ask the sales person for her recommendation.  Whatever the final selection, you’re guaranteed a blissful melt-in-your-mouth experience.  The hard outer shell disappears and the decadently creamy center bursts forth.  Enjoy it; savor it; it will be gone in less than a minute.

As indulgent as the chocolates of Brussels are, the small medieval town of Bruges takes frites and waffles to a new level.  The fried potato is not only made fresh to order (even at fast food restaurants), it is also served with a variety of sauces.  While the red-hot Samurai Sauce punches up the flavor, the creamy mayonnaise turns the frites into something sinful.  The mayonnaise, which is the most popular condiment, has lemon and garlic added to it.  Slathered over the fresh-from-the-oven frites, the tangy cream melts over the steaming potatoes, creating a unique salty and citrusy aroma.

The waffles, that Belgium is famous for, are baked by the hour in huge quantities for the hungry locals and tourists alike.  If you prefer a simple treat, you can get the waffle dusted with powdered sugar.  If you want something more indulgent, you can layer strawberries and peaches with chocolate sauce, sprinkles, and, of course, whipped cream.
All of these treats may be guilty pleasures, but when you’re in Heaven on Earth, there is no regret.
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