Saturday, January 5, 2008

I ate ... what? Brussels edition

The Brussels Christmas market was still hopping after Christmas. There was the usual street food -- sausages, cotton candy, etc. But Brussels kicks it up a notch. A big paper cone of french fries ("frites") with any one of 12 toppings, foot-long lengths of boudin sausage, crepes, and of course waffles. We kept seeing signs for "6 huitres". Six huitres were rather expensive (10 euro), and they turned out to be oysters, served with a small glass of champagne. High class street food, that.

We found chocolate nirvana at one stand at which we ordered a crepe (JT) and waffle (KT) with chocolate. We've learned to keep on walking when the Nutella jar or Hershey's syrup bottle is in plain view. (Nothing wrong with either of those, they just make a rather pedestrian crepe.) If you see Actual Chocolate melted in a pot, stop and order it, in whatever form you choose. You won't be disappointed.

(That stall was representing an Actual Shop, so I thought I would add it to my must-do list for Brussels. I just read the card. The shop is in Hardelot, France, a wee town I'm not likely to ever go to, unless it's on a wine run from the ferry that goes to Calais. But for the record, the shop is Vanille Fraise at 32 Avenue de la Concorde. Dang, that chocolate was good, though, and we do love French wine, hmmm ...)

Anyway, the street food that most amused me was the escargot. Those big pots are full of snails, out of their shell, in a broth. Twelve for 4 euro. By the last day I decided to be brave and give it a try. First, I lived. Second, I ate all of them. I'm not sure I truly enjoyed them -- still a little too chewy for my taste. But the winner was the broth -- nice and hot, rich, and heavily seasoned with (I think) white pepper. Very warm on a very cold day. This was my second attempt at snails; the first wasn't very successful. I'm willing to give them one more chance, though, as long as they're cooked in large amounts of butter.

Here's a close-up, for your viewing pleasure:

Probably better for me than that waffle smothered in chocolate, but I'll give you one guess as to which one tasted better.

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