Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Brussels and Its Fabulous Chocolate

   What we saw of Belgium in the past week was a beautiful country with very pleasant people. Brussels is lovely with a downtown full of old buildings, cobblestone streets, art and chocolate.
   Despite the dreary weather, we marveled at the gorgeous architecture of the Grand Place, the center courtyard of the old part of the city. This was where merchants came to market. Many of the streets off of the Grand Place are named after agricultural items like Poulet, Fromage and Herbes. Most of the older buildings are from the 1600's and a variety of different architectural styles are obvious. It would be great fun to visit in the summer, sitting al fresco with a glass of wine(or beer-another thing Belgium is famous for) and admire the surroundings. Sigh...another place I will have to revisit.
   We went on a walking tour-more like a treasure hunt - for cartoon murals as some of our favorite cartoon books, Tintin, are from Belgium. The town has dozens of these large murals scattered about. One of them was near the famous Manneken Pis, the statue of a boy peeing. It was rather disappointing as he ended up being a mere 24 inches tall, behind iron bars yet still with dozens of tourists snapping photos. Afterwards, we hit the chocolate museum. While the museum itself was not as good as the one we visited in Barcelona, this one had a demonstration of making praline, the signature chocolate of Brussels. It is a delicious blend of ground nuts and chocolate with an outer shell of more chocolate.  They offered samples.
   Our friends were wonderfully patient, hosting my gaggle of rambunctious kids and I am so grateful. We bid them farewell and headed to another town to visit friends we made in France last summer. That story shall follow.

the Grand Place- Brussels
Ornate architecture around the Grand Place
Manneken Pis
These Manneken Pis were far more intriguing
Being Valentine's Day surely encouraged the chocolate window displays to be gorgeous. 
Hard to resist
All about chocolate
Some of the selection at Neuhaus
I would really love somebody to give me cone of these
They were captivated, as was I.

No comments: