When you hear the name “Belgium”, you may automatically think about chocolates and waffles. But guess what? If you do have a sweet tooth – and let’s face it, most of us do! – Belgium has some delicious desserts to offer. So, go and indulge yourself!
1. Dame Blanche
To be honest, we Belgians do not have the same ice cream tradition as Italy, but in general, the ice cream served in restaurants and pubs is of good to excellent quality. And it still remains one of the most popular desserts.
There are numerous variations of ice creams, served with different sauces. And how can you say no to one of the greatest classics: the Dame Blanche (which literally means White Lady)?
TAKEAWAY: Word has it that the great Auguste Escoffier named one of his dishes after an opera with the same name. I am not sure what the original recipe was like, but nowadays, a Dame Blanche is vanilla ice cream served with hot chocolate sauce.
You may ask: if there is a Dame Blanche, is there also a Dame Noir? And the answer is … yes! And as you might have guessed, this is actually chocolate ice cream served with a hot sauce based on white chocolate.
2. Chocolademousse/Mousse au chocolat
Let’s stick with chocolate, shall we? Chocolate mousse actually originates from France but is extremely popular in Belgium as well. Although the recipe only contains a handful of ingredients, most people prefer to eat in restaurants or buy it ready-made. Nevertheless, if you would like to give it a try, check this recipe.
Insider tip! If you happen to find yourself in a Belgian supermarket, watch out for the chocolate mousse of the brand of Nestlé. This is an outstanding brand of chocolate, specialising in a zillion varieties of chocolate bars. And their mousse is simply to die for!
One more detail; chocolate mousse is often served with whipped cream, sometimes topped with cocoa powder. And last but not least, a mousse based on white chocolate exists as well, but is not so popular.
3. Crème brûlée
There is no Dutch name for this dessert; the French name literally means “burned cream”. It is actually a custard, topped with a layer a caramelised sugar. Again, although the recipe contains only a limited number of ingredients, most of us Belgians prefer not to make it ourselves. If the layer of sugar burns too much it becomes bitter. Therefore, crème brûlée is another popular dessert in restaurants all over the country. And you can buy it in supermarkets as well.
4. Strawberries with whipped cream
One of Belgium’s most popular fruits is strawberries. And boy, are they a delicacy: sweet, plump and juicy! You actually don’t need any extra ingredients to enjoy them, but lots of us Belgians won’t refuse some nice whipped cream on them. Or what about this? Vanilla ice cream with strawberries and … whipped cream!
Insider tip: when the strawberries are in season, do not buy them in the supermarket, where they can be very expensive. Instead, go to the market or buy at a stand along a Belgian street.
What if I tell you that there are actually restaurants in Belgium (and in the Netherlands as well, by the way) that are specialised in pancakes? They come in a huge variety of both sweet and savoury fillings, such as: brown sugar, honey, cherries, pineapple, banana, strawberry jam, different kinds of ice creams with or without chocolate sauce, omelette, ham and/or cheese, sausage and mustard, mushrooms and tomatoes, leek and salmon, bacon and spinach, sundried tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, and so on. By the way, lots of Belgians, myself included, regularly prepare pancakes at home.
So, next time you happen to be in Belgium and eat in a restaurant, better not skip dessert! And to complete your belgian food experience, you could also order these “10 Belgian Foods You Really Need To Try“; you won’t be dissappointed!