Belgium is known for many things, such as; beer how many kinds of beer in Belgium they had approx 1150 and maybe more. Besides, the beer they also had some good delicacy such; waffles, frites and chocolates
Belgium has two kinds of waffles; Brussels waffle and Luikse waffle. What's different of those two.
Brussels waffle - is soft and light yellow color, it serve with powdered sugar or any kind of sugar
Luikse waffle - is hard sweet and darker color, sugar already added in the ingredient before the bake
Belgium is a tiny land but they are very proud of their own specialty
Waffles, you can get them everywhere in restaurant, tea room etc. even if you stroll to the coastal area, you will get them along the seaside in a stalls
The chocolates, no need to go to the chocolate shops, you can get them everywhere. Such as in a bakery and the price is cheaper too
The difference between Dutch and Flemish.
The only official language in Ieper and more generally the Flemish part of Belgium is "Nederlands" (Dutch).
Don't really expect to hear what scholars and intellectuals call "Algemeen Nederlands" or "Standaard Nederlands". Although they try to impose this official language to the 16 Mio Netherlanders and the 6 Mio Flemish Belgians, the only place where you might hear Algemeen Nederlands is at the news bulletin by the speakers of the official televisions or radios!
In the street of Ieper West Vlaams dialect, more precisely Kustwest-Vlaams, is predominant. The only persons who really speak Dutch in Ieper are … Dutch tourists!
The intonation between Dutch and Flemish is very different even when people speak a correct Algemeen Nederlands. Best is to compare with English from the UK and English from the USA.
The other languages that are used in Ieper depend on the goodwill of the inhabitants who are indeed often plurilingual especially when they are active in Tourism or Commerce and Industry.
So if you hesitate to speak West-Vlaams go along with English or maybe French if you are not a Belgian (if you want to now why have a look at my tip Start with Goeden Dag )Related to:
- Study Abroad
- Arts and Culture
PRALINES (Belgian chocolates).
Genuine Belgians use the word PRALINES for what is called "chocolates" by tourists. If outside the touristic centers you ask for chocolate you will get a bar of chocolate.
In Ieper there are a number of shops where you can buy Pralines see at Ieper Shopping .
The production of pralines in Belgium is now in hands of a number of companies who have industrialized the process what does, fortunately, not mean that quality has diminished. These larger companies have oriented their production to the export making of the Belgian pralines a luxury export product of world wide fame. There are also a good number of artisanal workshops. Belgians consider that brands like Neuhaus, Godiva, Corné are the better ones at least among the big producers. Leonidas is lower in rank but also in price. When a Belgian offers pralines, he will buy the better rated ones, but for his own use he might take the Leonidas because the difference in price is wider than the difference in quality. When offering pralines we usually buy a ballotin (box) of 500 or 750 gr. mixed (assortment). For our own use we select the types we like most. My favored praline types, for example, are the "manons" especially the"manons sucrées" of Neuhaus. I prefer to stay with the traditional Belgian taste of the pralines so that a Marcolini is not on my list.
What is remarkable with Belgian pralines is the significant price increase as soon as they cross the Belgian border. Worst increase of price is when they are sold at luxury shops like Harrods in London. Multiplication by 2.5 of the Belgian price. Therefore, when you leave Belgium buy some kilos.
A price idea: 40 - 50 €/kg (at Brussels Airport).
Are pralines good or bad for health? They are certainly good for the moral, they induce a euphoric feeling. Some addiction to pralines has been reported. I am one of these praline addicts.Related to:
- Food and Dining
- Luxury Travel
Mosselen met Frieten.
This is not a local custom of Ieper as Mussels with Frites are a national dish in Belgium so that you will find them in the Ieper restaurants. The season for mussels starts in August to end in April.
We call them "moules casserole" as they are cooked in a "casserole" which is a large pan of minimum 3 liters content. This volume is needed to prepare the usual amount of 1 kg mussels per person.
This quantity of mussels contains about 250 gr. of flesh.
The crux of the matter is the mussels. They are breed in the waters of Zeeland (South west of the Netherlands) and the flesh is pale. This type is called "Zeeuwse mosselen".
They are exported to Belgium where they are cooked and eaten in huge quantities during the season. The Belgian preparation of the "Moules Casserole" is with celery, onions, carrots, parsley, pepper and the (sea) water contained in the mussels (photo 2).
My wife was not willing to give more details about the preparation. After the "French fries" story she insists on keeping secret our culinary receipts!
Mussels are, of course, eaten with Belgian frites.
To drink we prefer a somewhat acid white wine (never a Chardonnay type wine) such as the Mosel wines. This wine can also be added on cooking.Related to:
- Food and Dining
This is not a local custom of Ieper as Fritten-Frites are made everywhere in Belgium but as you will certainly eat some in Ieper, please note the following:
Ban the word "French fries"; they don't exist. Have you ever heard a Frenchman use the term "French fries" "Frites Françaises"? The French, although well known for their chauvinism, recognize that Belgium is the champion of the frites. In France the nickname for Belgians is … "frites"!
I will now explain here how we Belgians prepare our FRIETEN (in Ieper and Flanders) - FRITES (in the French speaking part of Belgium).
The potatoes should be of the "Bintje" type. This species exists since a century and was developed in the north of the Netherlands (Friesland).
There are two possibilities for frying: in ox fat ("ossewit", "blanc de boeuf") or in groundnut ("arachide") oil. The (white) ox fat is generally used in the shops and restaurants. The oil is often used at home (can be filtered when cold). It is essential to renew frequently the fat or oil in order to avoid the occurrence of carbonized particles and the chemical degradation of the fat or oil by the heating at high temperature. In Belgium there is a regulation concerning the choice and use of the frying fat. A two phase process at different temperatures is essential. A first cooking at a fat or oil temperature of 150°-160 C for some minutes. This first stage takes the water out of the potato, then immersion at a higher temperature of 180-190°C to get the frites crusty.
Is that enough to have good frites? Absolutely not! Belgian expertise is needed otherwise you have French fries, English chips, American, Spanish, Italian, Greek more or less fried potatoes but no "frieten".Related to:
- Food and Dining
Yperman Beer and Glass
Yes, each town and its specific brew, here in Ypres it is Yperman. And of course aside from the bottle having its own logo and distinct label, the GLASS is also used ONLY for this particular beer and NO OTHER.Related to:
- Beer Tasting
Is it Ypres? Ieper?
As we were driving through Belgium, we were glad to have a map that had both the French and the Flemish words for the cities we were heading for as many times the names were not like Ghent/Gent or Brugge/Bruges where it was obvious that they were the same place.
Ypres/Ieper is one of those that's not so obvious, I knew this city as Ypres, the French spelling, Ieper is the Flemish spelling. We butchered the pronunciation which Frommer's says is "ee-pruh" which actually doesn't sound like the way people there were pronouncing it which was more like "ee-pers" but it's definitely not "ya-pree".
And I won't even get started on my pondering about why a proper name would be different in different languages, isn't a name a name?
Darker days call out the poet in many
In Flanders Fields may be the most famous of all poems wriiten in these hoorible circumstances. It's amaizng to see how art in this form survives the heartships these men had to go through. It shows an amazing personality and a very strong character. But John MacCrae was not the only one and Ieper has given many a special place in and around it's town. For example on the defencive walls there are several plaques with poems to be read. Below in the picture you can read a Dutch one (if you know this language), but here is another I have written down for you:
This evening I was going to Ypres. getting on for six.
I drove into the setting sun and three storeys high
Dali-esqua clouds which were being seen off by
- a force -
Nine gale, the heavens blew away from the earth
no way I could stop them, I drove and drove, 95 mph
and every minute fell ten minutes behind. There went my horizon
When I get in Ypres, it's 1917. Germans have blasted the sun to smithereens. What light there still is, is explosions.
I'm in a poem by Emund Blunden.
From the trenches he's writing an ode to the poppy.
Earth has a great super-ego of flowers over it.
Blunden has them literally in his sights.
Here for all of a couple of years
it's the second before you die.
Little things are all there is.
Later I listen to the last post at Menin Gate:
three bugles you can hear cut back through eighty years,
right to whatever's left now on the bone.
Statues in the wall inside, chapels outside
As much as there are statues of holy saints watching over us in town, where they are houses in small corners in or on the walls of houses and buildings, as much there are chapels in the more open space outside the town. Here there are on many corners small houses with again a statue inside. One can burn candles in the somewhat bigger ones, or just say a prayer in the smaller ones. Most favourite saint ... well, of course, mother Mary with child: Madonna.
Details tell about history
Ieper, Flanders and the whole of Belgium is full of them. In my homecountry The Netherlands only in the southern provinces you'll find them. Statues and chapels in various sizes, places and forms. These signs of Roman Catholicism is for those who live above the rivers (as we call it in The Netherlands as the rivers are the border between protestantism and catholicism) an exotic item and for those who have the eye for this religious aspect of history, the road before them is paved with surprises.
Going down South from the Netherlands as I did, brings you from a protestant to a catholic area. On the streets you just are confronted with more statues and more.Related to:
- Religious Travel
- Arts and Culture
- Hiking and Walking
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