14 October 2017

A Gathering Of Gastronomic Suggestions In Ghent.

Eating frites smothered in mayonnaise, nibbling fresh waffles under a mountain of freshly whipped cream and drinking glasses of beer outside in the sunshine is practically inviolable law when visiting Belgium. (In fact, if you look under a microscope at your Belgian passport stamp 'proost / à votre santé / prost' may or may not be etched under the flag.)

Enjoying their exquisite pralines is obviously the fourth law, but one I managed to fail miserably, thanks to a bag of Bolognaise flavoured crisps for lunch - but I did take some home to the UK, which totally counts, right?

Where to eat and drink in Ghent Belgium Adventures of a London Kiwi
Disclaimer: I was a press guest of VisitFlanders in Ghent
and our dinners were complimentary but all thoughts are very much my own.

While we spent our long weekend exploring the medieval city of Ghent, we also uncovered a few local specialities and places to explore, quenching a quota of wanderlust. The city is small enough to feel cozy, but vibrant enough to feel fun and have something going on - a perfect long weekend break. With 97 Michelin-starred restaurants in Flanders, the quality of local cuisine is rather high - and these were my favourite tastes of the weekend.

Beer
There are bars on almost every Ghentish corner - canalside terraces, local beerhouses and even a smattering of breweries in the city if you want to reduce your carbon footprint down to inches. The Belgians are famous for their brewing prowess, and nothing beats a leisurely hour or two nattering with glasses in hand.

Where to eat and drink in Ghent Belgium Adventures of a London Kiwi
Where to eat and drink in Ghent Belgium Adventures of a London Kiwi


Cuberdons 
Called ‘neuzekes’ or little noses, these sweets are a local delicacy - and only found in Belgium as they have to be eaten fresh, otherwise, the shell becomes too crispy. And they are delicious. They are found in from the open-air carts piled high in Ghent's Groentenmarkt in a few different flavours, but I adored the classic berry ones.

Where to eat and drink in Ghent Belgium Adventures of a London Kiwi

Frites
Go local. Wander, get a cone of freshly fried frites and settle canalside for mayonnaise induced meditation in front of medieval buildings. Warning: check the portion sizes before ordering because they are GENEROUS.

Moules
Don't Mussels sound so much more sexy in French?

Where to eat and drink in Ghent Belgium Adventures of a London Kiwi

Oysters
Why do some people love oysters? Because they taste of the ocean, of walks along shell-strewn shores and the delicate tang of salty sea air. I adore them, but they have to be utterly fresh and unobstructed by froufrou flavours - which served with lemon and nothing more, were perfect.

Where to eat and drink in Ghent Belgium Adventures of a London Kiwi

We had a lovely (if very, very leisurely meal) at Brasserie PakHuis, a former warehouse and one of the top-rated restaurants in the city. They have no fewer than ten different varieties of oyster, including two signature oysters, available for indulging from October to April. They also have a variety of dishes and tasting menus for those not of a mollusc-imbibing persuasion.


Waffles
According to the research I did online in the middle of my self made Sunday mission, the best place to eat waffles in Ghent city centre is a small restaurant called Passion. I grabbed a table on the terrace overlooking the Medieval belfry and ordered a coffee. Slightly damp from the drizzling rain, the hot cherry compote warmed me from top to toe, and I can hand on heart say it was the best waffle I've ever eaten. #sorryBrusselsnotsorry.

Where to eat and drink in Ghent Belgium Adventures of a London Kiwi

Waterzooi
This is a creamy stew is made with vegetables and served with either chicken or fish, and is a hearty, delicious hug of an autumn dish. We enjoyed our taste of traditional Ghentish cuisine in the canalside Belga Queen Brasserie, in a building dating from the 13th century (previously a grain warehouse, named Spijker of Korenstapelhuis) where luxury contemporary design and gastronomy meet.

Where to eat and drink in Ghent Belgium Adventures of a London Kiwi

(Oh, and vegetarian/vegan friends of mine, read this post by my friend Bintu - she recommends a variety of her favourite places to eat in the 'vegetarian capital of Europe'.) If your mouth is watering from this list alone, when you visit Ghent, I'd recommend these spots to explore in-between meals.

When you travel to a new place, do you have a mental tick-list of local favourites to try?

{pin for later}
Where to eat and drink in Ghent Belgium Adventures of a London Kiwi

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