Monday 5 July 2010

Tour De France Stage 2 Food from the Region Brussles-Spa

When Barbara mailed me and asked if I want to join them Tour de France project, the first thing I told her is I don't like any kind of sports and I don't watch any :-)
But then Barbara mailed back saying it has nothing to do with the sports it has to do with the food from the region.
Well that I can do I told her and I was delighted to pe part of the group.

There are 20 stages in Tour de France and I am in Stage 2. Bruxelles > Spa and we had to talk about the food from this area.
First food item which comes to my mind if I think about Belgium is , Chocolate.
I remember when I first came to Belgium I lived on chocolate. I am not making this up, I literally ate chocolate every day as I din't like the food which I thought tasted bland compared to the spicy Indian food I was used to from India.

The great thing about Belgians and their chocolate (as well as those who visit here) is that they only have to go around the corner to one of the thousands of local belgian chocolate shops to buy some of the best chocolate in the world.
Belgians have been making the world's best chocolate for well over a century and locals simply regard good chocolate as an everyday part of like.
Few of the most famous Belgian Chocolates are Godiva, Leonidas, Neuhaus, Guylian it will go on and not to mention the other famous local chocolate shops .

Then it is Frites. Belgian French Fries.
One would think reading the name French Fries that they are originated from France.
The belgians would argue about that.

Many Belgians believe that the term "French" was introduced when British or American soldiers arrived in Belgium during World War 1. and consequently tasted Belgian fries.

They supposedly called them "French", as it was the official language of the Belgian Army at that time.
"Les frites" (or "Frieten") became the national snack .

Here at home we make Frites once a week. If it is not made once a week, my daughter and hubby would be like how come you didn't make frites this week.
Every home makes these once a week, even my hubby's grandmother who is 98 eat them once a week so you can't say that are unhealthy, as they say everything in moderation.

Don't forget about Belgium Beers. They have been making beer from Middle ages, which was brewed at some monasteries during this period.
I think if I have to start writting aobut the variety of beers I will have to have few posts.

The famous Lambic Beer from Brussels.

Lambic is a wheat beer brewed in the Pajottenland region, southwest of Brussels by spontaneous fermentation.
Most modern beers are fermented by carefully cultivated strains of brewer's yeasts,
Lambic's fermentation, however, is produced by exposure to the wild yeasts and bacteria that are said to be native to the Senne valley, in which Brussels lies.
The beer then undergoes a long aging period ranging from three to six months (considered "young") to two or three years for mature. It is this unusual process which gives the beer its distinctive flavor: dry, vinous, and cidery, with a slightly sour aftertaste.
There is the Trappist beers, Abbey beers, Flemish Ale called Rodenbach, not to mention the special beers they bring out in Christmas season.

Then there is something which is close to my heart is the famous Belgian Waffle. The first dessert I ate when I came to belgium was these delcious light waffles.
It is generally, but not always, lighter, thicker, and crispier and has larger pockets compared to other waffle varieties. You can find a step by step picture here in one of my first posts

There is Mussels and Friets,Waterzoi a rich stew/soup with chicken , cream, and vegetables,
Vlaamse stoofkarbonaden made with beef and beer and mostly served with friets or stoemp (mash potato), Paling in 't groen/anguilles au vert which is eel in a green sauce with variety of herbs, Gegratineerd witloof/chicons au gratin
From Brussels they are cycling to Spa.
As the famed site of healing hot springs, Spa has been frequented as a watering-place since as early as the 14th century. Though other sources of healing hot mineral springs have become famous throughout the world, it is the town of Spa which has become eponymous with any place having a natural water source that is believed to possess special health-giving properties, as a spa. The place name is from Walloon espa meaning "spring, fountain." (Wikki)

Today, Spa is famous for its waters, in the forms of the blue bottled Spa Reine.

Now this is not food related at all, Did you all know that Audrey Hepburn one of the worlds best actress was born in Brussels.

I kg Potato cut
Oil for deep frying. I use my deep fryer.
Salt to sprinkle.

Wash the potato slice twice, drian in a collander and then dry the potato in a tea towel.
I spread the towel and put all the potato slice and cover it. Then after 5 minutes take a a fresh twel and repeat.
Friets are always double fried here.
Heat the oil to 160°c and fry the potatoes in batches for 3 minutes, and drain them into a collander with kitchen paper.
After all the potatoes are fried, you have to fry them again in 180°c till they are brown.
Sprinkle with salt and serve.

Ghents Waterzoi (Recipe comming soon in a another post )

Stage 1 04 July Rotterdam - BruxellesBarbara at winos and foodies

Stage 2 - Brussels - Spa @ My Kitchen Treasures


Priya Suresh said...

Wat a beautiful post, whoever doesnt know much about belgian foods can know a bit more about their foods, especially about the blegian french fries, U know wat we guys know that belgian fries with mussels are very much famous than the fries we have here..Droolworthy fries..

Barbara said...

Great insight into Brussels food Finla. I'm a big fan of moules and frites and Belgium beer. And I love waffles, and chocolate. I think I ove Bussels.:)

Bombay-Bruxelles said...

Wonderful post, full of great information! Like you are being a tourist guide :-)

sunita said...

Loved the post F, very interesting :-)

s said...

lovely post..thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

Dewi said...

Love the fries, and it's my favorite.

Regarding your comment to my blog, you can only view it better if you have the latest version of browser. So, either change your browser (firefox is free) or update it to the latest version. Hope that help

Julie M. said...

I love all food belgium! I studied in the Netherlands for a semester in college so I had plenty of opportunity to taste all the different flavors. My favorite part about the Belgium and Dutch frites were the mayo they served them with. American mayo just isn't the same. Yum!

Angie's Recipes said...

I have tried both Godiva and Guylian...not bad. man's favourite..I just wish he didn't grow and grow with all the junk food.

Gloria Baker said...

absolutely beauty post dear Happy Cook, nice and good job! huggs gloria

So So Simple said...

When we arrived in Belgian in 1968 direct from the UK during our Overseas Experience the first place we sought was a caravan serving the Frites.

It was the first time I had tasted chips with mayo. An immediate convert. Enjoyed reading your post.

Sharmila said...

I thought you were on vacation and are posting about your trip. :p
Love the fries anyday. :-)

Cakelaw said...

Great post Happy Cook - lovely to learn some more about Belgian food. Is it wrong to want those French fries at 8am?

Cakelaw said...

Great post Happy Cook - it's great to learn more about Belgian food. Is it wrong to want those French fries at 8am?

indosungod said...

Lovely post HC. I like the word moderation. Homemade fries are YES so very good.

When snack foods like French Fries, waffles and chocolates become meals rather than snacks thats when the problems starts.

Nithu said...

Wow! Those were some good info. Had fun reading...

chris said...

Fantastic post! Great information. Love fries, but never had them with mussels. The Ghents Waterzoi looks delicious too...will look forward to that.

Thanks for Stage 2!

jayasree said...

Very interesting post with an insight into the food of your area.

Mouthwatering clicks.

Sarah Naveen said...

Wonderful post..great info..

Anonymous said...

Oh, this makes me so homesick for food from my native land! Fortunately, I am planning a visit in the fall.
One favorite of mine is Tomates Farcie aux Petites Crevettes Grises which I like to eat on a visit to the coast.
I love your site and will return often.

Anonymous said...

Oh, this makes me so homesick for food from my native land! Fortunately, I am planning a visit in the fall.
One favorite of mine is Tomates Farcie aux Petites Crevettes Grises which I like to eat on a visit to the coast.
I love your site and will return often.

Tiy said...

Very interesting! And so delicious! Belgium's food is not weel known, but it have to be more!

Jayashree said...

Nice, informative post, F.

Amanda said...

Thanks for such an informative post and a great follow on from Barbara.
And chocolate and fries!!! My kind of heaven.

We Are Not Martha said...

Wow, those look amazing! I love that you make frites every single week (dream come true!!!). And I'm a big fan of Belgium beers too :)


Laavanya said...

It was so nice to read about the different foods from Belgium and the chocolate - yummy yum. My colleague from Brussels got me a big pack last year and I couldn't stop myself.

The fries look so perfect!

RamblingTart said...

This was such an interesting post! :-) I love your how-to-photos that make it so easy to replicate what you've made. :-)

Madhavi said...

Great post :))

Simply Spices said...

Lots information!wonderful post!

RV said...

They look like Gourmet fries.. very inviting HC..

Sarah, Maison Cupcake said...

I do think this blog tour was a great idea! I love Belgium and hope to get back there by the end of the year. I could do with some good moules frites!

Unknown said...

That is an awesome tour of Belgium through ur writing :) Love the Frites and I was surprised to know it started being called French cause of the language spoken there during those times...interesting...I was smiling when I read about hubby's 98 year old grandmother...yes if she eats it once a week, it is definitely harmless :)

Jeanne @ CookSister! said...

Great post! I LOVE frites, whether it's with mayo or with moules :) And those beers... My husband loves Grimbeek, Mort Subite and Rodenbach but I love the cherry beers :)

Kate at Serendipity said...

Hello, Finla! I'm another food blogger in Belgium. I'm in Verviers, near Spa. I loved this post showing our Belgian products. And the frites! When I first moved here I was surprised that everyone had a deep fat fryer. When I told a friend that I didn't have one, she asked me, "But how do you cook your frites??"

I"m glad that I've found you!

Finla said...

Kate thankyou, yeah here evrybody as a fryer in their home, will pop over to our place to check your blog.

Aparna Balasubramanian said...

I guess everyone knows about Belgian chocolate, but didn't know about the fries.

Are they double fried to keep them crisp? They look yum. Even more so because it is pouring here, wet and cold!