Local Heart, Global Soul

July 9, 2014

Eat Or Sleep? A Hungry Little Mr. Struggles To Stay Awake…

Filed under: Accomodation,Belgian Cuisine,BELGIUM,Charleroi,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags:
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterdays post, we arrive in the Belgium  city of Charleroi  (pronounced “char – le – wah) late on a Friday evening.

We find our hotel close to the airport: Hotel Van Der Valk, and having not yet had dinner, ditch the bags as soon as possible and head for the restaurant.

This turns out to be a bad idea, we are about to order and Little Mr is both starving hungry and almost falling from his seat because he is so close to sleep.

Luckily the waitress serving us is sympathetic to the situation and suggests that we go up to our rooms and she will organise that our food can be sent there as soon as possible.

We transfer to one of our two rooms and manage to keep Little Mr.  awake long enough for the food to arrive and for him to eat at least three quarters of his dinner.

A quick brushing of teeth was possible as his eyes fall shut and he didn’t even wake when we put him into his pyjamas. I opted for a few fries rather than pasta and none of us were too long out of bed before that.

The next morning we are up with the larks and go down for an early bird breakfast. The kids are easy to please because there are croissants on offer, Himself and I go for a cooked breakfast and cereal. Our in-laws are there too, along with others who are likely to also be on the early flights and it’s not too long before we are heading towards the airport…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Apologies to readers for whom the photographs didn’t show up today… I have no clue what I did wrong but I reloaded everything and they seem to show ok this time.

May 30, 2014

Foodies Delight …(Close Your Eyes If You Are Vegetarian)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Our time in La Roche-en-Ardenne is fast coming to a close.

There is one blog post that I need to make before we leave: it’s one of the rest stops I made as I came back though the town after visiting the castle, and at least if you are not a vegetarian, a foodies delight.

A quick glance at the shop window had me hooked, I know exactly what we were going to be talking back home as our souvenir: sausage!

There were different sorts of course, spicy salami’s aged salamis, cured and smoked meats, this place is a treasure trove.  

Himself is the real salami connoisseur in our family so I picked several of the more coarse varieties that I know he likes and a smoother less coarse one for me, plus a finer textured spicy one that we would both like.

There were so many to choose from that in the end it was a bit of a guessing game but once we had tried them back at home we saw that this was quality merchandise, hand-made old-style and delicious.  Himself was pleased and surprised at my discovery and purchases, being out at the camping and busy canoeing with kids on the river  he had of course had no chance to check out the local shops for something nice to take home.

The next day we would have to leave early for home and on Sundays in Belgium you are lucky if you can find a bakery open and certainly no other shops usually. I also find the contents of the shop very photogenic so having asked permission, got busy clicking  whilst I waited to be served. Mouth watering on so many levels!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

.. This was the front window of the bakery close by (sadly I was so tired I didn’t even step inside, and with crutches and a pack-pack I could carry salami but had no hope to carry one of these : they are called “Vlaamse Vlaai” by the way, we also have bakers who make them in the Netherlands and they are delicious)… There was no out-of-town supermarket here in La Roche as far as we saw, and who on earth would need one with local shops like these?

la Roche sasuage 1y (Small)

May 29, 2014

Reviews Are Divided, But For A Lazy Evening It’s All Good…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

After a day of hard work walking around the castle in La Roche, Belgium, I finally get back to our accommodation.

Luckily  since the summer days are long and the weather has been  sunny with fabulous  blue skies, Himself and I had already decided on a late dinner tonight so that the kids could play and swim  as much as possible during the daylight hours.

We also decided not to cook tonight because our friend said that there’s a café / restaurant at the camping site and having eaten there earlier in the week he recommend it.

I managed a three hour sleep and some time with an icepack on my foot  after raiding the little kitchen of our rooms of the ice-blocks left in the freezer and was a little more refreshed once Himself picked me up to join the others for dinner.

Everyone meets us at restaurant  “Auberge de Lohan” , it has a balcony with outdoor seating  that overlooks part of the camp site, so we start there but are eventually driven inside as it gets a bit too cool as the sun disappears.The dishes are simple enough and our friend raved, but Himself and I agreed afterwards that whilst the food wasn’t terrible it wasn’t particularly outstanding either, this was more in the style of a  “basic”  takeaway meal instead of  what I’d call restaurant quality fare.

It was edible and it filled a gap, and we didn’t have any dishes to wash. Sometimes that’s enough.  The kids polished off ice cream for dessert and played until they dropped  wearily into bed whilst the adults sat, talked and watched them.  An excellent summer’s evening all in all.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

May 28, 2014

From One La Roche Fortification To Another…Yum!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s post I’m now back in the centre of the Belgium town of La Roche-en-Ardenne, having spent the entire morning  and the first part of the afternoon walking around the castle.

Now I’m walking through the town  and realising that I haven’t even had lunch yet.

My foot is hurting rather badly now too and I’m realising that I won’t be able to walk back to our accommodation in one go, so a stop for lunch at Restaurant “Le Bronze” is a chance to sit down for a decent amount of time before I try and carry on.

It’s always worth looking at the local specialities on the menu when you are travelling: sometimes there are items there that turn out to be gems.

Such is the case on this occasion, I order “Salade Ardenniase” and receive a refreshing plate of salade with Ardenne bacon, ham, endive, salad, cucumber, tomato, apple and pear.   It’s washed down with a soft drink and afterwards I tell myself that I’ve deserved dessert with all the walking today, so order a wafel with chocolate sauce.  Yum… Just the ticket for steeling myself for the rest of the walk back.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

 

November 7, 2013

The Maria van Bourgondie Both Delivers And Disappoints…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another page of my diary as I document our last summer’s travels with our visiting Singaporean friend “Velveteen”. We are currently having dinner in the Maria van Bourgondie Restaurant in Bruges, Belgium, and it’s been an interesting meal so far to say the least.

First there was the Waffle saga where they would only serve waffles between two in the afternoon and six in the evening  and at no other time except this.

We finally succeeded in getting our waffle at a few minutes to six, by resorting to having dessert before our main course, but at least we then had the entertainment of  seeing one of the biggest steaks I have ever seen in my life being prepared for Velveteen on the grill next to our table.

Now the rest of our food arrives and we spend a leisurely evening slowly making our way though our chosen dishes.   The kids get sly and ask for dessert after dinner and we say they may share an ice cream between them, and only after it’s been delivered do the sly pair remind us that this is their second  dessert of the evening:  “Had we forgotten that we had waffles at the start of the meal?”

All I can say is that we were tired and a little on automatic pilot by this stage of the evening, my foot was painfully letting me know that all this walking was probably more than I could manage and that a quiet few days would be in order.  We laughed at the kids struggling though the ice cream, it turned out that their eyes were rather larger then their bellies so Himself ended up helping them finish it.

My meatballs weren’t bad… nothing special, but at least Velveteen’s steak was decent and we finally succeeded in getting our Belgium waffle.  We also educated Velveteen and the kids that “French fries”are actually not French … they originated in Belgium. Service was without a smile (but this is Flanders so no different to the indifferent service we usually get in the The Netherlands) and we were rather shocked at the brusque and inflexible manner the waffle saga played out. After a slow walk back to the hotel we asked for some ice at the hotel reception for my now rapidly swelling foot and they were at least far  friendlier, delivering a whopping party size bag  of ice which, along with painkillers numbed the pain into submission.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

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(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

November 5, 2013

When Ordering a Steak Gets You Supplied With A Small Beast!

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

In continuation of yesterday’s post,  Family Kiwidutch and Singaporean friend “Velveteen”  continue with their topsy-turvy meal in the Maria van Bourgondie Restaurant  in Bruges, Belgium.

We started dinner with waffle desserts and now it’s time to order our main course.

Velveteen orders a steak from the grill,  which happens by chance to be situated right next to our table so we get to watch and photograph it being cooked.

Both Himself and I are well used to Dutch portions of meat, the quantity of which can be summed up in a word: Tiny.

Therefore we were both wide eyed when Velveteen’s steak was added to the grill, the size of this steak was humongous in size  and most unexpected !

It was a great slab of meat, more like an entire small beast than just a steak, and as big a single piece of meat as I have ever seen served in a restaurant in all my time in Europe.

The steak is flame grilled on the cast iron stove, with is beautifully decorated with Delft’s blue and white tiles,  and when it’s almost done, it is carved off the bone (one that Bruge’s famous  doggy Fidel would have envied) and then returned to the grill for the last minute or so before being carved into thick slices which were practically mini-steaks themselves. The plate it was served on was so large, it was really hard to show just how much meat was sitting there…   Himself and I joked that it was just as well Velveteen had had her long awaited waffle first, because there might not have been space left after eating this!

I’m not personally a fan of meat cooked as rare as this, but Himself had a piece and both he and Velveteen declared it to be delicious. I have to admit that steak isn’t something that he and I indulge in at home, since in the Netherlands you get so little meat for such a ridiculous price and the few times Himself has tried, the chefs have generally massacred it. I think it comes down to the logical deduction that you should always try and eat something that is a speciality of the region you are in, and which the chefs are experienced in cooking, otherwise the results tend to be less than wonderful. Here at least the steak was edible and enjoyed, and seeing the process of it being cooked added it’s own flavour to the meal.

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

November 4, 2013

Drastic Thinking Is Needed In Order To Achieve The Taste Of Success…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

This page of my travel diary finds Family Kiwidutch and our Singaporean friend “Velveteen” (her Internet nickname to protect her privacy) in Bruges, Belgium.  Velveteen and I have just left the canal tourist boat trip, and gone to meet up with Himself and the children for dinner.

We arrive at the Church Of Our Lady meeting point at ten minutes to six in the evening and since it’s still raining hard, decide not to mess about looking for a restaurant too far away, which is how we ended up at  the Maria van Bourgondie Restaurant  just around the corner.

We are handed menu’s at five minutes to six and after greeting the older lady who comes to serve us I happen to mention in Dutch that I’m delighted to see Belgium Waffles on the menu and how  very much we will be looking forward to dessert later on.

Imagine our shock when she replies with a stony face in Vlaams “No, there are no waffles after six o’clock”.

We look at her in amazement, and I ask her if it’s ok then if we please order both our main menu and  our dessert right now, before  six p.m.   …we will have ordered before six, so surely that would be acceptable? My request is met with a flat “No’ and a look that tells me she is rather surprised that despite her spelling it out, that we are obviously rather slow to realise that no waffles after six, emphatically means no waffles after six.

Himself and I explain the difficulty to a disappointed Velveteen, who by now is seriously starting to wonder if her waffle wish is cursed after three failed attempts.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Suddenly as the waitress lady turns to leave I have a brainwave and call her back with a question… “Since it’s still a few minutes before six is it still possible to have a waffle right now please?” She looks surprised, but says, “Yes”. I instantly order five waffles and tell the kids they are ten seconds to order a topping or they will be too late making the order.

They are so delighted at the prospect of eating dessert before the main course that they uncharacteristically manage to make a selection in a nano second  (I think they were probably more afraid of me changing my mind than running out of time).

So this is how Family Kiwidutch and friend Velveteen manage to eat an evening meal in reverse: dessert followed by the main course.  Kiwi Daughter and Little Mr. of course can not believe their luck and can’t wipe the smiles off their faces.

Once Velveteen gets over the incredulously  unyielding manner of the “rules” surrounding obtaining a waffle in Belgium, she is delighted that we found a way to still enjoy one. So what we act like crazy tourists and eat our meal back to front?

We eat our waffles with an extra large dose of satisfaction that we managed to “beat the system” albeit in an unconventional way…  Now we can waffle on about the Belgium Waffle Saga with a grin on our faces and the taste of success in our stomachs.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Here are the links to our previous Waffle dramas…

https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/?s=waffles

https://kiwidutch.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/new-1248/

October 23, 2013

Sweet Treats To Enjoy…

Filed under: Belgian Cuisine,BELGIUM,Bruges: Chocolate,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: ,
(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Another post from my last summer’s travel diary, and still in a little traditional chocolate shop in Brugge (a.k.a. Bruges) in Belgium.

The chocolates here looked so good that it was hard to know when it stop adding just one more to the box.

There were also rounded balls that I’ve never seen before but found intriguing: the labels told us that the filling inside them consisted of the flavours of figs, apples, blackcurrant, orange.

After buying one of each we later found that there was a firm outer flavoured shell, and inside the very centre a more liquid filling, also of the flavour of that particular ball.

We carefully cut these up and divided them amongst us and they were “interesting” … very flavourful, but different.

The chocolates are more traditionally flavoured: Porto (port), Thee (tea), ananas  (pineapple), kokos (coconut), Baanan (Banana), Speculoos, (a special spice mix used in biscuits/cookies).

There are also some very photographic pieces of Nougat…  it’s fun checking out the contents of the shop and it’s even better sampling them later too! Now we are back on our way… there is a very very special piece of artwork just a few street away that I want to show Velveteen.

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

October 20, 2013

Window Shopping Is Sweet Indeed…

Filed under: Belgian Cuisine,BELGIUM,Bruges,PHOTOGRAPHY — kiwidutch @ 1:00 am
Tags: , , , ,

In this page of my travel diary, “Velveteen”and I are doing a spot of window shopping. Actually we are spying on people busy making sweets and a few of their wares on display. I focus on the tools of the trade, whilst Velveteen goes straight for the action and the finished products…  I know it’s a miracle but we even managed to resist temptation since the looking was sweet enough!

(photograph © Velveteen)   used with permission

(photograph © Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

(photograph ©Velveteen) used with permission

October 14, 2013

Tools and Experience Prove to Produce a Trés Bon-Bon Result…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Family Kiwidutch are visiting the Chocolate Museum in Brugge (a.k.a. Bruges) in Belgium with our good friend “Velveteen”.

These are the diary pages of our last summer’s travels, as we cram as many places and experiences that we can into every day.  Of course it’s best to leave the very best of the Chocolate Museum until last: what’s a Chocolate museum without  real, edible, delectable chocolate?

As we finish our tour of the place we come to the bit that the kids have been waiting for since the beginning: the bon-bon making demonstration where the visitors get to partake of the results.

I often make my own soft filled chocolates and know that it’s not always as easy as it looks, mind you: having a “trilling” machine at home to make the shells in seconds and remove all of the air bubbles would have made my chocolate making experiences easier too.

The lady doing the demonstration is a master of the art,  it’s totally clear that she does this every day, she has both the machinery and the experience to make it speedy and effortless. Hmm,  a temperature controlled vat to keep the chocolate at perfect temperature needs to go onto my “if I won the lottery” list with the trilling machine too.

We arrive a little while before the demonstration starts so wait and get a spot near the front for our patience.  Once the demonstration is over, the tray of praline bon-bon is passed around the  crowd and so many hands reached forward for a treat that I didn’t have a hope of getting close up photos of the tray.

Himself and I concentrated on scoring a bon-bon each for the kids and everyone was unanimous in their opinion of the goodies… we could easily have polished off an entire tray had we been left to our own devices.

We stop at the museums shop on the way out and the kids score a few more pieces of chocolate from reception by turning on the charm, whilst I spy second hand heavy plastic chocolate moulds on sale and purchase one to take home. I’ve since used it quite a few times and whilst my efforts aren’t  quite as tidy as the professionally made ones, the forms turn out fabulously formed chocolates.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

(photograph © Velvetine) used with permission

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