One of the “optional excursions” (+€€€) offered in Antwerp was a post luncheon excursion to town called “Delicious Antwerp – Discover the best of Antwerp with several culinary stops and tasting”. Of course the Feeder signed up for that, eschewing the city tour (also optional) of Brussels. MFO elected to do that while I would be tasting my way through Antwerp.
So we parted ways after lunch to go our separate ways for the afternoon. She boarded a coach, and I boarded…. my feet. We left the ship and struck out for town again for the tasting experience. Now when you think of Belgium and food, what comes to mind? Things that leap to mind would include: Beer, Frites, Waffles, Mussels, and the other food group, Chocolate.
As we walked toward town we passed some nice little cafés with people enjoying the first mentioned above. These were very nice ladies, and I paused long enough to chat a moment
(Please keep up Mr. Moody!)
We eventually arrived at a tavern which I didn’t get a picture of, and were ushered into a room looking into a lovely little courtyard. How nice.
And were each served a “bowl” of beer
The brewery is De Koninck, and in this case the above beer is of the same name, their flagship amber beer. It was quite good, and we finished the whole glass. I took tasting notes and prepared myself for the next sample. I don’t know about you, but when I hear the word “tasting” I expect to sample the spectrum of the item. In this case I would have liked to have several (okay, small) glasses of different styles, light, dark, wheat, etc. But no, we thanked the servers and got up and left! What kind of tasting was that?
It was announced the next stop was for the famous “frites”, which seemed like a good idea after the (one glass of) beer. Fortunately we did NOT stop here
And instead went into
which translates literally to “Chippy”
We were each given a little basket of potatoes
Which are traditionally served with the little bowl of mayonnaise. After trying that a couple of times I'm not sure i will change my habits there. They were good, but I don’t think they’re head and shoulders above anything you can get here at a higher end restaurant which normally double fries their offerings, these days in trendy duck fat. So, I asked our guide what fat they used, and disappeared, and eventually came back and announced: “ox fat!”. No comment. We were not offered any of these, which is what I expected at our beer tasting.
(some might recognize the Hoegaarden)
While walking off our fries, we paused in front of a famous spot for waffles
And along the way, of course i got distracted by a tempting sign for a place that served Mosselen (mussels) which we didn’t sample either
Served natural, with white wine, and garlic (Look), and by now the readership should know the wine selection is the classic accompaniment to Mosselens.
We did stop at sort of a takeout arm of Désiré de Lille and were given samples of the two types of “Belgian” Waffles, one made with a yeast leavened batter and the other with a heavier, almost brioche like batter. They are normally referred to as Brussels style (former) and Leige for the latter. Fortunately neither was glopped up with stuff that we normally get as “Belgian Waffles”. They were quite good.
Our final stop was at a chocolate shop where I put together a small box of assorted pieces.
Of all the items we tasted, I thought the winner was by far the chocolates. They were rich, and beautifully made. They seemed to decorate some pieces with a clue as to what tastes they are
For instance, notice the hazelnut and pistachio pieces. They were delicious and rich enough that one piece suffices.
So our “taste of Antwerp” included one glass of beer, a basket of fries, and two waffles (which were about the size of pop tarts (common, not a criticism). Chocolates we had to buy ourselves, although guide did give us a cookie from some famous cookies of Antwerp
I kind of hoped that it would have been better, since it was “Optional” (I think 44€). But, it did give a chance to see some of the “local” food.
We returned to the boat, met MFO after her tour (she wasn’t happy with that so much either), had a pretty good dinner aboard with a nice final course.
For which, of course, we were appropriately