Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Tribute to Belgium

Today I am paying tribute to my place of birth...


I love my heritage...Although I was raised here in Canada, you could say I was raised 'Belgian' .
I was very fortunate to have travelled there many times to visit family and get to know my home country thoroughly.

Flemish was my first language, but I would be hard pressed to carry a conversation in it now.
Must work on that this year!

My children have visited too...about 3 trips there for each. Vanessa also went to school there when she was 16 and my 18 year old son is in Uganda now but heading to Belgium for three months after that. My 12 year old has plans for living there too one day. They all love the Belgian life!

My heritage heavily influences my design esthetic and this may give you a bit of insight into some of the  inspirations for my shop, Meuse Boutique (named for a river in Belgium). It was there I fell in  love curvy antique furniture, toile and chippy flea market finds.

It's a country of perfectly preserved medieval cities and ultra modern design...
a study in contrasts! Visit Brugge and then Brussels and you will see what I mean.

Belgians are not boastful people and are the last ones to ever toot their own horns.

Perhaps that's why the world knows the fries they invented as 'French' fries!

Hmmm, don't know how France got the credit for it!

France is so well-known for its cuisine when in fact Belgium has more Michelin Star restaurants in its tiny country than all of France does! 

There are over 500 varieties of beer! For connoisseurs, the complexity of Belgian beers are similiar to wines, from fruit-fermented lambics like Kriek (cherry - my favourite) to ales brewed by Monks for centuries. There is no way I can do justice to the topic of Belgium Beer!

There is a cold beer and wine store at the top of Arbutus in Kerrsidale about a block or two before you hit 41st Avenue that has the best selection of Belgian beer I have ever come across. This holiday season I even managed to get some of the coveted limited quantity Westvleteren 12 Trappist beer. What a treat.

And then there's the chocolate. Oh, the chocolate!

EVERYONE knows Belgian chocolate is the best in the world!

And beautiful linens and tapestries and handmade lace!

And design! Belgian design is a sophisticated mix of centuries-old architecture and a-second-ago-modern.  It is the inspiration for all chic design today but the Belgians have always been effortlessly combining the two!

Oh! I nearly forgot to tell you about the waffles...
yes you guessed it, they are world famous too...

Lucky for us Vancouverites, there is an authentic Belgian Waffle Bar located on Robson St near Denman. The owners, Jan and Eilnaz are the loveliest couple ever and are from my hometown of Antwerp. They moved here last year and opened a wonderful place that has already made the Top Ten Places to Dine List on Urbanspoon! Nero Belgian waffle absolute favourite place to visit. For me it's as Belgian as it gets and it is simply delicious!

I can tell you these things and not be boasting because I have lived in Canada for nearly all of my life and can't claim any bragging rights...but I have visited enough times to know all of this firsthand,
...and to be so very proud of my heritage.

Tot ziens!