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Postcards to Savor

Updated on January 14, 2018

Welcome to what I hope will be a mouth-watering article. This is the third, and I think last, in a series of photo hubs that I conceived to visually narrate my European exploits.

By no means I'm going to be comprehensive with the delicacies that we sampled and ogled and ohhhed and ahhhed about, but I'm confident that I captured some very representative morsels from the cities and countries I visited.

Likely, you'll find the Paris section terribly lacking if you're looking for a real food, food article. But this isn't a real food article. This is what we had while strolling on the street, or for dinner at night, or what we stopped to take photos of because it looked as delicious as it looks, well, on the photos.

At the same time, I guarantee that I'm representing the cities and countries perfectly with the samples I'm displaying, as confident as I would be if I were displaying Iberian ham, potato omelet, paella and Sangria for Spain. The Spaniard in me mentally screams at the reduction of the Spanish offerings to these silly four things, but honestly, they capture what people see the most when they visit.

And that's what I tried to do, capture the most frequent food occurrences in the places I visited. I think I just omitted the beer in Germany, but that's because I featured it in Belgium, a country that adores beer like a goddess. All right, you're thinking some of us also adore beer like a goddess and aren't featured in this hub. Right, suck it up, the beer honors go to Belgium.

Well, here we go, I hope you are ready to salivate!

Chocolate a Gogo in Belgium

Box of chocolates we brought back from Bruges, allegedly the best place in the world for chocolate.
Box of chocolates we brought back from Bruges, allegedly the best place in the world for chocolate.
Neuhaus "headquarters" in Brussels, Galeries St. Hubert
Neuhaus "headquarters" in Brussels, Galeries St. Hubert
Godiva, very close to Neuhaus, also in Galeries St. Hubert
Godiva, very close to Neuhaus, also in Galeries St. Hubert
And another neighbor in Galeries St. Hubert, Corne Port Royal . Overdose, I'm telling you!
And another neighbor in Galeries St. Hubert, Corne Port Royal . Overdose, I'm telling you!
Not quite as chic as the others, but gosh, what a sight this chocolate megastore was!
Not quite as chic as the others, but gosh, what a sight this chocolate megastore was!

I was torn between posting the many chocolate display photos I have or showing the temples of chocolate themselves. Finally the temples won, as you can see.

I didn't count, but I'd say every second store in Brussels and Bruges was a chocolaterie. I swear I suffered, for a couple of days I didn't even want to use the sidewalk because the windows from these shops gave me cravings I didn't know I had in me. Oh boy. It's not only how tasty the bits look, it's how they display them to maximum effect, and there are so many that one gets fat just from looking. Let me tell you, it was very, very tough.

Beer, another smashing hit in Belgium

Beer in Belgium is a MUST, so here goes a little token of appreciation.
Beer in Belgium is a MUST, so here goes a little token of appreciation.

Beer in Belgium is as much a religion as chocolate. There are beer establishments that pride themselves in serving over 1,000 varieties of beer, all in their own glass type with the brand on it. There aren't as many stores specialized in beer as chocolateries, but there are plenty and they are so pretty.

The famous Delirium Tremens Café made it to the Guinness Book of Records in 2004 for serving over 2,000 beers in a menu that's as big as the yellow pages.

Another place to visit for beers is A La Mort Subite, they also brew their own brand. The name means literally "sudden death", and it comes from a dice game called "421" originating in the early XX century and where the last round was played at sudden death (they call it tie break at tennis, not nearly as romantic!).

Collage of beers. www.belgian-beers.eu
Collage of beers. www.belgian-beers.eu

Mussels, a typical dish in Belgium

BEFORE: Mussels ready to be eaten. I never knew before visiting that mussels are a typical dish in Belgium.
BEFORE: Mussels ready to be eaten. I never knew before visiting that mussels are a typical dish in Belgium.
AFTER: Mussels and Muscles, yow!
AFTER: Mussels and Muscles, yow!

Before preparing this trip and looking up Brussels and Bruges, I never knew, hadn't the slightest really, that mussels were a typical dish in Belgium. What the heck, I kept thinking. Mussels? In Belgium?  Turns out they are also typical in Netherlands, always learning something new.

Well, I had my mussels a la beer, and then au vin blanc, I'm back, and I still don't have a clue regarding the tradition. I read here and there that it could be the French influence, but nothing clear and definite. I mentioned before that I'm a poor researcher, but my assistant (ahem) here is a great one, and she can't find anything definite either to explain why mussels are typical in Belgium, so if any of you can report back, we'll be most grateful.

I've got to say, and this is a Spanish connoisseur speaking, that they know their mussels in Belgium.

Waffles and more. Somebody please save me from temptation

Strawberries & banana ready to be dipped in dark, milk or white chocolate. Ay mamma mia... take this off my line of sight....
Strawberries & banana ready to be dipped in dark, milk or white chocolate. Ay mamma mia... take this off my line of sight....
Waffles on display to tempt poor people like me.  Sobbing, I'm sobbing, I swear.
Waffles on display to tempt poor people like me. Sobbing, I'm sobbing, I swear.
... and more of them, they seem to chase you all over Belgium, their scrumptious looks and delicious sweeeeet smell. Ahhhh. Forgive me Father, for I did sin A LOT.
... and more of them, they seem to chase you all over Belgium, their scrumptious looks and delicious sweeeeet smell. Ahhhh. Forgive me Father, for I did sin A LOT.

Close your mouth and stop drooling. I took pity on you here. I assure you, these photos are intended to make your mouth water while keeping your heart rate at a manageable level. What isn't at a very manageable level are the pounds I put on during this trip, many of which can be blamed on the waffles I consumed. Chocolate and whipped cream. Double chocolate. Chocolate, and strawberries and banana on top. Banana dipped in chocolate. Oh. Oh. OH!

Paris and Baguettes and Paninis and...

Baguettes are eaten cold, as you see them, from the counter to your mouth trap.
Baguettes are eaten cold, as you see them, from the counter to your mouth trap.
Paninis are grilled so they are eaten warm, with the cheese melted, or the ham hot or... ahhhh
Paninis are grilled so they are eaten warm, with the cheese melted, or the ham hot or... ahhhh

...Croq Monsieurs

I've been to Paris a few times and never before saw nor ate this one. It's a "plain" ham and cheese sandwich, just the abundant cheese goes on top and it's warmed in the oven before serving.
I've been to Paris a few times and never before saw nor ate this one. It's a "plain" ham and cheese sandwich, just the abundant cheese goes on top and it's warmed in the oven before serving.
Our Croq attempt at home. YUMMMM!
Our Croq attempt at home. YUMMMM!

This section goes without explaining, except for the Croqs and the question that has been plaguing me since I first laid my eyes on this "sandwich": Why had I never before noticed the Croqs in Paris? Blindness to melted cheese color, maybe? Fear of putting weight on just by looking at them? Idiocy?

Whatever the reason --blindness, fear of calories or idiocy, it abandoned me on this trip and I had an overdose of Croqs to make up for my past negligence.

Of course, Paris isn't short on sweets either...

One of the windows at Fauchon, look this establishment up for major salivation.
One of the windows at Fauchon, look this establishment up for major salivation.
Just a patisserie I took a fancy to. That's me reflected in the window, I'm surprised I could take the shot, considering I was beside myself with what I was observing.
Just a patisserie I took a fancy to. That's me reflected in the window, I'm surprised I could take the shot, considering I was beside myself with what I was observing.

I dare you to click on Fauchon and browse around. If you aren't tempted, check your pulse.

Cheese & Fondue

Fondue is originally from Switzerland, but also popular in France. We had to have it. I didn't take a photo, it would have been un-cool in the restaurant. Ahem.
Fondue is originally from Switzerland, but also popular in France. We had to have it. I didn't take a photo, it would have been un-cool in the restaurant. Ahem.
Now, THAT's French. Not the best photo I found, but the one that shows better how to correctly serve cheese, in the order it has to be eaten, clockwise. You start with the milder ones and end up with, well, Roquefort, for example.
Now, THAT's French. Not the best photo I found, but the one that shows better how to correctly serve cheese, in the order it has to be eaten, clockwise. You start with the milder ones and end up with, well, Roquefort, for example.

For cheese and fondue we went to very normal and earthy restaurants, full of locals, not a tourist in sight (except us, who were in sight of all locals, whoops), which made us think we were in the right places for genuine samplings. Prices at both establishments were unbelievably reasonable for Paris standards, dining with wine didn't rip us off at all. For fondue, we went to Heureux Comme Alexandre and for cheese we picked Pan Vin Fromage.

Currywurst, that's THE thing in Berlin

z.about.com  -- Don't ask me why I ever forgot to take a photo of this extremely typical dish, but I did forget completely. Whoops!
z.about.com -- Don't ask me why I ever forgot to take a photo of this extremely typical dish, but I did forget completely. Whoops!
Morgenpost.de
Morgenpost.de
navidadmania.com -- Ahem. I kindly as you to disregard the fact that this looks slightly, err, cough, well, pornographic. Ahem.
navidadmania.com -- Ahem. I kindly as you to disregard the fact that this looks slightly, err, cough, well, pornographic. Ahem.

I don't know what I was thinking, but I completely forgot to snap a shot at this wonderful snack, and we had a few of them, too, so I must have been suffering from endorphin overdose. Or something.

The currywurst is served with or without chips, the sausage is tender on the inside and very crispy on the outside, sprinkled with a generous dose of ketchup mixed with curry. Though the currywurst can be found in restaurants, this is your typical street food stand delicacy. You can order it with bread, as a sandwich, but don't be silly and order the regular one on a paper plate –why spoil a perfectly savory sausage with bread?

 

And this is the end of the food tour. Now, if you'll excuse me while I go find something to wear that still fits me.

© 2009 Elena.

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    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      9 years ago from Madrid

      Hi Dolores, glad you enjoyed! I think you're right about waffles, they ARE very dangerous. I decided to ban them from my "diet" too... until the next time I visit Belgium :-)

    • Dolores Monet profile image

      Dolores Monet 

      9 years ago from East Coast, United States

      Elena, what a lovely tour! And what could possibly be better than melted cheese, chocolate, beer, and probably lots of butter. I am almost sorry that I took a vow against the eating of waffles. They are very dangerous.

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      @ CR Yes I love Bruges too. My favourite town in all of Belgium and most of Europe too. We spent two, all too short, days there in that lovely town square as well as visiting the University. i would dearly like to go back!

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      9 years ago from Madrid

      Bon apetit to you, Chris :-)

    • Chris Crow profile image

      Chris Crow 

      9 years ago

      I am so hungry right now. Seriously. I remember braut in Germany--amazing. I remember beer and waffles in Belgium--incredible. Time for a midnight snack.

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 

      9 years ago from London

      Glad to hear it!

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      9 years ago from Madrid

      Hello, LondonGirl! Well, I think it is the last from this vacation -- I have more stories to tell from the 2 week trip around Europe, but I don't know that I can do it with photos :-) I'm sure I'll manage more "Babbleys" in future, though!

    • LondonGirl profile image

      LondonGirl 

      9 years ago from London

      Another of these wonderful photo hubs, but I really hope it's not the last!

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      9 years ago from Madrid

      Hello, Jama! If you think you gained 10 pounds just by looking, imagine what I gained by eating all of this stuff!! I don't know whether to laugh or cry! Ay ay ay!

      Chris, hi there! I did have mussels in Brussels, and every time I say it I have to laugh at the silly rhyme! :-) And orgasmic is exactly right, if you like sweets -- even though after a while "orgasmic" becomes "overdosed" and if you stay a bit longer you have the risk of becoming "catatonic" ! Laugh! The way they serve the beer, scrapping the foam with a knife, is how they serve it around here, too, but I haven't see that anywhere else --funny, never thought of it before you mentioned it!

    • Christoph Reilly profile image

      Christoph Reilly 

      9 years ago from St. Louis

      Deee-lish!  Did you have mussels in Brussels?  I loved Belgium and fell in love with Bruges, but being a beer fan, my goodness, Belgium was heaven.  As you say, what I found so remarkable was every establishment - no matter how small - had  at least 50 beers on tap and served in the brands own glass.  I was also amused and the way they poured them with the overflowing foam and then scraped it with a knife.  I am not much of a sweets eater, but the ladies in the group were orgasmic!  Thanks for the great pics and the memories!

    • JamaGenee profile image

      Joanna McKenna 

      9 years ago from Central Oklahoma

      O. M. G. I thought I'd died and gone to heaven at the bookshop hub, but that was only a warm up for the this one! Heart palpitations for sure! FYI, I think it's possible to gain 10 lbs just looking at these pix...

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      9 years ago from Madrid

      Hi, Jewels! We seem to cross paths .. Dublin, Belgium... what next? :-)

    • Jewels profile image

      Jewels 

      9 years ago from Australia

      Oh gods, mouthwatering hub! I remember Belgium fondly for it's chocolate and waffles, yummmm. I must return.

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      9 years ago from Madrid

      OI, Teresa, lo siento! No, not really, I am a bit cruel after all, but I didn't really want to scare the cat, poor thing!

      You may be right about the goodies in Belgium, the weather is nothing to speak of over there -- but we were lucky, not a single rainy day in Belgium! Even that went well on the trip :-)

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      9 years ago from Madrid

      My pleasure, sixtyorso! You've got good taste, I have to say :-) Careful with the waffles, though, this belly I'm sporting is all their fault! Well, that and the beer, and chocolates and..... :P

    • Teresa McGurk profile image

      Sheila 

      9 years ago from The Other Bangor

      you are an evil, cruel woman to put this online -- you can be sure we are all salivating - the cat was upset when I started whimpering. . .

      I've had curry an chips before, but curried bratwurst? hmmm

      Seriously, though, Belgian beer is superb. and the chocolates. and the waffles. It;s cause it rains a lot and they have nothing else to do?

    • sixtyorso profile image

      Clive Fagan 

      9 years ago from South Africa

      Elena More happy memories and pictures reminding me of my previous european trip (by train). Belgian Mussels and chips , yummy and as for a real belgian waffle - to die for!

      Great hub, wonderful memories, thank you.

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      9 years ago from Madrid

      Cris .. did you turn into a little naughty angel overnight? Or is that even an angel? :-)

      If that'll make you happier, now I have to worry about losing all the pounds I put on to go back to my usual sexy self ... ahem. Laugh!

    • Cris A profile image

      Cris A 

      9 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      A feast for the eyes! Now I envy your life and hate mine! LOL :D

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      9 years ago from Madrid

      OK, well then, I'll keep the beer -- you can help yourself to... everything else :-)

    • profile image

      Feline Prophet 

      9 years ago

      Elena, you did it again! Sigh...you can keep the beer, bring on the chocolate and the cheese and the chocolate...

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      9 years ago from Madrid

      Hawkesdream, I was about to pity you, but thought better of it, since I'm starting to get real hungry too... you know what they say, what goes around comes around! :-)

    • Hawkesdream profile image

      Hawkesdream 

      9 years ago from Cornwall

      Nearly lunchtime, ham and cheese sanny for me! Ok its only 10.30

    • Elena. profile imageAUTHOR

      Elena. 

      9 years ago from Madrid

      Right, I've two requests to join me in my next trip, some drools on the screen that I need to clean up, three people salivating and craving food ... TADA!  I think I achieved my goal with this hub!  Laugh!

      Iphi, you have most of this close at hand, so go and get some ;-)  And sorry about the currywurst. Laugh!

      Anthony, gracias!

      Frieda -- You brought this upon yourself, what with the Babbley's and all!  You also brought it upon yourself by checking this out in the middle of the night :P (Regards to my socks, BTW!)

      Violet, the Croq is very easy to prepare at home, the second shot is the one we prepared after coming back --we thought why bother starting a diet just yet. Laugh! But oh mama mia, I feel a diet coming sometime .... soon .... as soon as we finish the boxes of chocolates we have in store from the trip. Yoooowl!

      Kushal, thank you :)

      Golden, I added the beer in case you checked out this one, thought the beer would get ya, but I had no idea you'd also salivate big time!  BESOS dulces!

    • goldentoad profile image

      goldentoad 

      9 years ago from Free and running....

      I'm with FB on this on, I just finished some beer and now I'm starving after looking at these pics.

    • Kushal Poddar profile image

      Kushal Poddar 

      9 years ago from Kolkata,India

      A beautiful collection

    • VioletSun profile image

      VioletSun 

      9 years ago from Oregon/ Name: Marie

      Elena:  You take outstanding photos, not fair, now I am hungry, and my mouth is watering, LOL! Those chocolates and the Croq Monsieurs which I had not heard of, look so delicious. Good idea of warming the cheese on top before serving. Will try it a variation here at home.  

      I love your virtual tours and descriptions, it entertains me after a full day's work with our business. :)

      Abrazos!

    • Frieda Babbley profile image

      Frieda Babbley 

      9 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

      Okay.  This is not something someone should be reading in the middle of the night.  Hunger strikes hard!  Were there any possible way to eat web content, every last bite of this hub would be gone and all you'd have left would be storefronts and kitchenware.  Wil you PLEASE take me with you next time? 

    • profile image

      Anthony James Barnett - author 

      9 years ago

      Another beautiful set of photographs, Elena. Well done.

    • profile image

      Iphigenia 

      9 years ago

      "Chocolpolis" ---------------- ohhhhho ohhhhhhhhhhhh ... AND a nice simple cheese fondue ............... lordy lord.....

      Ok I've calmed down , in fact I was quite disturbed by the pic of the currywurst - so had to scroll back to the chocolate and cheesy photos.

      Books and food - I'm coming on holiday with you next time you set off. This hub got all the right juices flowing.

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