Since our arrival in Brussels, Andrew and I have been searching for the perfect hamburger. In the early days, our quest went unfulfilled, but in the past few years the hamburger scene in Brussels has greatly improved. We’ve discovered a few locations with some darn fine burgers, but we still hadn’t found one we could call perfect. Everything changed, with our discovery of Cool Bun.
Although most people think of Belgium as a bi-lingual country with French and Flemish spoken, there is actually a third official language – and no, we don’t mean English.
Like most inhabitants of Belgium, Andrew and I knew very little about the Eastern Cantons; the 11 municipalities that are home to the country’s German-speaking community. Last weekend, we decided it was high time we educated ourselves about this under-promoted corner of Belgium.
Nestled on the corner of Rue Blaes and Rue Notre-Seigneur, in the Marolles, is a cosy little secret of in-the-know foodies. It’s called L’Idiot du Village, but even the village idiot will tell you, it’s worth finding this little restaurant.
As my food hero, Anthony Bourdain, says, every culture has its own version of ‘meat in tube form’. Belgium is no exception. Although boudin isn’t a strictly Belgian invention, it’s part of the fabric of food culture here and love it, or hate it, everyone has an opinion on it.
Charcuterie is one of the (many) foods we’ve developed a passion for, since moving to Europe. Sausages, hams and patés, weren’t my cup of tea back in Canada, but Europeans take cured meats to a whole other mouth-watering level. That said, many years passed, before I dared taste the pasty looking boudin.
Hotdogs probably aren’t the first food that comes to mind when you hear the word ‘gourmet.’ But a new company in Brussels is trying to change that. They’re called Hopdog and they’re taking food in a bun to a whole new level.
After one quick look at Hopdog’s website and menu, we decided we had to give these healthy, gourmet hotdogs a try. So, we grabbed a couple of willing friends and went to taste-test.
As travellers, we dream for far-flung destinations; palm lined beaches, vibrant cities and postcard-perfect landscapes. But in our search for the exotic, we often neglect the unique and interesting places right on our doorstep. In over six years of travel writing, I have never once written about my hometown of Saint John, New Brunswick. Today I’m going to change that, by showing you my favourite thing about Saint John – The City Market.
One of the things I love most about living in Europe is the market culture. Even the smallest town has a place where locals can gather to buy fresh produce, meats, seafood, baked goods and handcrafts. I’ve fallen in love with markets in Paris, Arles, La Rochelle and Pau in France; Barcelona and Valladolid in Spain; London, Helsinki, Krakow and Amsterdam to say nothing of our fabulous markets here in Brussels. And yet, for years, I had neglected the one special place I had grown up with – The Saint John City Market.
Cheese-lovers can’t miss the amazing cheese shop and restaurant La Cloche a Fromage in Strasbourg, France. This restaurant is a must-dine experience not for the lactose intolerant!
Despite Brussels’ reputation for having excellent seafood, one thing I miss most from my Canadian home is lobster. Say what you will about Maine, Irish or Caribbean lobster, but for me, the best of the best has to be Atlantic Canadian Lobster.