4-6-19 Brussels Delicious Tour

Belgium – it must be chocolate time, or waffle time, or even beer time – all of which were part of a walking tour we did on our last day in Brussels. Starting out at the Brussels City Tours Office

The front of Brussels City Tours – where all the magic is coordinated.

with our guide Jasmine (the same guide we had for our day trip to Bruges).

Jasmine and Valerie in the office of Brussels City Tours

First stop was to walk along the Royale Galleries – a shopping area with three distinct areas.

The really expensive shops are here.
Glass covered so all weather shopping is possible

This glass-roofed arcade is made up of three areas – The Queen’s Gallery, the King’s Gallery and also the Princes’ Gallery. We found it to be filled with high-end jewelers, luxury watches, fashion apparel, beauty products, decorative accessories, gift ideas, delicious pastries, delicate biscuits, but also the best chocolates in the country!

Our first stop was right inside the door at Godiva.

We did get a sample at Godiva

Started in 1926 this chocolate place is known around the world but we only stopped to watch strawberries dipped into chocolate before moving down the lane past several different chocolatier places to visit Neuhaus.

Pierre Macolini Chocolatier – just another place to enjoy this elixer.
The Chocolates by Mary are also quite good.
A small sample box – only about 38 euros or so

Neuhaus, started in 1857, opened the first store in the Royale Galleries and it has been operation ever since. One of its major claims to fame is that the founder’s grandson invented the chocolate praline – a decadent chocolate cream ganache center inside a chocolate shell.

Our Neuhaus “guide” for our tasting experience.

Our visit included a tasting session of various chocolate (coco in the raw, white chocolate, dark chocolate and milk chocolate) pieces to taste the differences. It was a quick interlude and quite enjoyable.

Some of the items available at Neuhaus.
15 to 25 euro Small gift boxes for every occasion

Unfortunately we didn’t have the time to buy anything (just as well actually) but they did point out there was a store in Washington DC we could visit! (although he also said it would be cheaper to buy another suitcase and fill it  in Belgium then to buy chocolates from the store in DC).

Easter is coming
Yes, Easter is coming for sure.

Next up was a stop for a traditional  light and crisp waffle along with a taste of a local cherry beer.  This is NOT  the round, sugar loaded waffle our hotel served, and is also called Belgian. We popped into this shop, got seated and were served almost immediately. Along with our waffle and cherry beer were a couple of macaroons.

Waffle and cherry beer with a couple of macaroons

I didn’t even get a chance to take a picture of the store as a remembrance of where we were! The waffle was wonderful, sprinkled with powdered sugar along with the cherry beer was nice.

Along the way, our guide, Jasmine continued to give us insights into the various stores – pointing out all the expensive ones I might add – and telling us the history of the place. Very interesting.

One of the most well known locations in Brussels is the site of Manneken Pis a statue of a little boy peeing into the fountain. We had visited it previously so certainly knew all about it. However, we didn’t know there was another statue – Jeanneke Pis – where a little girl in short pigtails, squatting and urinating on a blue-grey limestone base.

Jeanneke Pis

This is on a narrow cul-de-sac and protected behind iron bars. This statue was created in 1987 three hundred years after Manneken Pis , as part of a medical foundation opening. She is smiling audaciously .

Next up was the Grand Place. We had wandered around the Grand Place previously (see 4-3-19 Brussels Walking around and learning the City) so we had some prior information.

Here we are in the Grand Place.

However, Jasmine talked about the various guildhalls, what has happened over the years and how the area had changed.

Did you know that Karl Marx lived in Brussels for two years and wrote some of his most powerful philosophy here. This plaque was on the wall of one of the guild houses

Next stop biscuits. Invented by the monks in the middle ages we sampled what is called Pain à la Grèque – or ‘Greek Bread ‘( a sugar bread distributed to the poor) along with several ginger  savory biscuits (cookies to you and me).

Jasmine sharing some information in the biscuits shop
Lots and lots of biscuits
Some of the molds and biscuits in the shop

Along the walls were various molds that have been used by the shop for who knows how long.

Along the way to see Manneken Pis, it was clear the city had become much more crowded from our earlier visits. Today he was dressed differently and it was crowded so we didn’t stay long.

Manneken Pis in an entire new outfit
Manneken Pis was crowded this day.

Next up, the lady  with the hat counting her change

Janeen hiding behind the woman counting her change.
Jasmine with the Madame Chapeau

and other sites along the way ending up to sample some Brussels cheese

The cheese shop
Very strong cheese served with onion

and finally some fresh fish (fried calamari) at the historic fish market.

The final snack, fried calamari

This ended our  delicious tour . Jasmine did a wonderful job of taking us around, sampling some of the treats of the City and giving us a better understanding of the City she has shared for three decades.

Het Zinneke – part of the family of pissing statues in Brussels

 

 

 

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