Four Days in Flanders

Brugge, Flanders, Belgium

In the land of Bruegel, chocolate and mussels, the lush green land of Flanders is punctuated by towns of extraordinary beauty. Medieval castles, Renaissance houses, canals and cafes are in view with every convoluted turn in the ancient streets. Yet in Brussels, larger than life cartoon wall art decorates, and compliments, its historic core.

wall art in Brussels depicting popular Belgian cartoon characters

In four days, VisitFlanders introduced me to three cities rich in layers of culture, four restaurants bursting with layers of flavor as well as beer and chocolate as it ought to be enjoyed. Articles, as they appear, will be added to this post, so please check back often.

Dominique Personne chocolates, Brugge, for Hertog Jan and Gruut Brown herb beer, Gent

Flanders, today, is at the vanguard of a new wave in international gastronomy that’s pairing the freshest of locally sourced ingredients with 21st century culinary techniques.

With 3 Michelin Stars already….

Restaurant Hertog Jan, in Brugge, brings their farm to their table

A Walk through the garden at Hertog Jan

The mild climate may have favored Flanders own agricultural abundance, but access to the world through trade constantly brought new products, such as the potato and chocolate, fueling today’s Michelin starred restaurants, creating chocolate beer and celebrity chocolatiers, although Dominique Personne is considered the bad boy of Brugge – watch the You Tube video in my latest article.

Belgium celebrates eating during its 2012 Year of Gastronomy

Dominique Personne with chocolate gun and the Chocolate Shooter

Ghent’s de Vitrine is Kobe Desramaults little city bistro. Yet the secret these young chefs are revealing is simple, fresh regional ingredients treated with respect and given pride of place. “I think about the vegetable,” Speybreck says, “not what meat or fish it goes with. What can I do with a nice cauliflower. Each ingredient has its own place.”

Ghent’s restaurant de Vitrine is a showcase for each ingredient

mussels with cucumber, eggplant sauce and sour cream foam

Ensconced in Brussels’s elegant Radisson Blu Hotel, Chef Yves Mattagne’s two Michelin star Sea Grill serves art to the power brokers of Europe.

Brussels’s Sea Grill catches Michelin stars

Caviar Royal Belgium, Sea Grill, Brussels, Belgium

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