Our journey through Belgium with Visit Flanders took us to the northern region of Flanders. Most of the Dutch-speaking Belgians live here and the region has a lot more to offer than just big cities like Antwerp, Bruges and Leuven – especially at the culinary level.
After our first night in Brussels, our next stop was a small in the province of West Flanders called Poperinge. With an old VW bus, we drove through the countryside visiting the local Hop Museum and a nearby field where we learned about plants. Then, we had lunch at Hommelhof restaurant, where chef Stefaan Couttenye creates his renowned dishes based on local beer.
Afterwards, we went to a small municipality, named Lo-Reninge, by bus and visited the beer café St. Arnoldus and were served a glass of Westvleteren, a beer that is brewed in one of the few trappist breweries in the world. These special breweries are run by monks and Westvleteren is known as one of the world’s best beers. To wrap up the day, we visited a small private brewery, Sezoensbrouwerij, where we had dinner with the master brewer and the chef.
The next couple of days were spent in the quaint historic cities of Flanders, which were a stark contrast to our time in the countryside, but our activities remained the same – visiting breweries. We also brewed our own beer in the Gruut brewery in Ghent. We learned a lot about foodpairing as well as visited some of the best restaurants in Flanders.
In Antwerp, we explored many beautiful corners of the city by bike and soaked in the country’s history as well as its brewery tradition. After one week of culinary indulgence, our journey came to an end in the small city of Mechelen, where we visited the Den Triest brewery. We helped pick the hops and got a glimpse of daily life as a brewer. After a stop at the St. Rumbold’s cathedral, where we enjoyed the view over the city, we visited the Coma Restaurant for a beer workshop, which marked the end of our journey through Flanders.