Thursday, August 12, 2010

Belgium's Bruges

My last post featured author Maureen Lang, whose new release, Whisper on the Wind, is primarily set in Belgium. For a chance to win her book, leave a comment on this post or the previous one by Friday, Aug. 13 – maybe this Friday the 13th will be your lucky day! And speaking of winners, Lynda Schab won the copy of Lost Island Smugglers by Max Elliot Anderson!

Now….more about breathtaking Belgium!

Belgium is made up of three regions:

Brussles is the diplomatic center of Europe, as it is home to both the European Union and NATO.

Flanders is flat and home to Antwerp, Bruges, and Ghent.
Wallonia contains the Ardennes Mountains with extensive forests, rolling hills and age old mountains. This area is also home to the Ardennes horse, one of the oldest breeds of draft horse. Just look at the muscles on that beautiful creature!

As in any country, there are so many wonderful places to visit in Belgium, but today I’m going to focus on just one – Bruges, considered by some to be the “Venice of the North.” With it’s picturesque canals, historic Old Town (a UNESCO World Heritage Site), cobblestone streets and medieval structures, Bruges is a tourists delight. I like that you can get around without a car – walking and boating is really all you need in this very popular and pretty city. If you go, don’t miss Belfry Tower (88 steps to the top!) in the Market Square, and romantic Minnewater Park. Also in Bruges you’ll find the famous Church of Our Lady where you can view the painting of the Madonna by Michelangelo and the Gothic tombs of Burgundy. You gotta love Gothic tombs!

And what would a post on Belgium be without a mention of chocolate? To many, Belgium chocolatiers make the best in the world. Try this recipe from Wittamer Chocolatier in Brussles. And if you go, be sure to take a chocolate tour. Your concierge can arrange one for you. Would that be awesome, or what?

Wittamer's Belgian Hot Chocolate
Four to six servings
Use real Belgium chocolate for best results.

Adapted from The Great Book of Chocolate

1 quart half-and-half or whole milk
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
4 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
tiny pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1. Warm about one-third of the half-and-half or milk, with the chopped chocolates and salt, stirring until the chocolate is melted.

2. Whisk in the remaining half-and-half or milk, heating until the mixture is warmed through. Add the cinnamon.

3. Use a hand-held blender, or a whisk, and mix the hot chocolate until it's completely smooth. Serve very warm.

At Wittamer, it's served with a poof of whipped cream and chocolate curls.

1 comment:

  1. Any recipe that starts with half and half has to be good!
    And best wishes to Maureen, whose first book in the series was lovely.