Some of my friends and me spent the days before and after New Year’s Eve in a cottage in the Netherlands near the shore and it was amazing. We cooked together every evening and since we travelled by car and wanted to buy most of the groceries at home, we relied on mostly canned ingredients. That was a great decision, as we didn’t have to keep them cold on the way and the contents were already nicely diced and kitchen-ready. And there are so many amazing recipes you can cook with canned food!
Since our house was very near to the Belgian border, we planned a daytrip to Bruges to eat some original Belgian waffles and, of course, the obligatory fries. Unfortunately, I didn’t find any canned versions of these Belgian specialties, but my can loving eye still managed to make out the ideal souvenir cans for my family.
Here’s what I brought home from Belgium!
Belgian Hot Chocolate in a Can
When you think of Belgium, what’s the first thing that comes to your mind? Of course, chocolate! What’s the perfect aggregate state of chocolate when it’s freezing cold outside? Liquid, that’s right! And burning hot is how I like it tempered. Thankfully, I came across a traditional Belgian hot chocolate and guess what? They sell it in cans! Sure enough, I bought as many of the cans as I could carry and the joy at home was enormous. The day I came home we gathered in my mother’s living room and enjoyed a nice get-together with the taste of Belgium on our tongues. And since the cans look absolutely gorgeous, I was more than happy to put them on my shelf.
The Belgian Beer Experience
Visiting Belgium goes hand in hand with enjoying a cold can of beer. Did you know that there is a Beer Museum in Bruges? It’s somewhere in the middle of the old city and we stumbled over it by accident. But the sight of a whole wall covered in colourful beer cans was enough … I entered the museum and quickly found myself inside the tourist shop. My father – the beer expert – was very excited about the cans I brought home. Belgian beer varies from pale lager to amber ales, sour brown ales, strong ales and stouts. And all of them taste really amazing (at least the two types I tried, but I’m convinced that the rest is equally great).
Traditional Belgian Sausage – Boudin Blanc
The Boudin Blanc is, in fact, not strictly Belgian. But it is still a very popular sausage version among Belgian people. Boudin is normally made from pork, but sometimes chicken or veal. It is typical to Belgium and France, but also Germany, French Canada and the Cajuns of the southern United States. They all invented different versions of the sausage and adapted it to their country’s culinary art. Like many sausages, the Belgian Boudin Blanc is sold in cans and is thus the perfect souvenir for my meatloving best friend.
Unfortunately, I haven’t come across stömp in a can … A friend from university is currently doing her semester abroad in the Belgian capital Brussels and she swore by this traditional Belgian stew, when I visited her in autumn. Ever since I fancy it and missed it dearly back at home especially when the cold hit my hometown. Thankfully, my friend is a goddess in the kitchen and mastered home canning to perfection, so she sends me home-canned stömp every once in a while and reminds me of the great time we’ve spent there.
Did you ever bring home traditional canned specialties from your holiday? Tell us in the comments where you’ve been and what you chose.