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Liege, New Year Break
Rating: (4.7) (30 votes)

Liege, Belgium
January 15th, 2004

Pros : fantastic food
Cons : none

In addition to catching up with friends, a little sightseeing and a whooooole lotta chilling, the main thrust of my holiday to Belgium over the New Year break was food – and lots of it!

After being greeted by a good, strong coffee (something severely lacking in London!) and a Belgian waffle, my lovely hosts in the small town of Liege were al intent on feeding me the specialities of the region, which I had been missing for three long years. My culinary tour included such delicacies as: moules frites (mussels in white wine sauce served with steaming hot chips); boulet (big meatballs in a caramelised onion-type thick gravy, served with, naturally, hot chips); salad nicoise (or some version of it, we called it ‘the big salad’); salmon lasagne (ok, not so much a speciality of Belgium as a speciality of Celine’s!); tartiflette (a dish made solely of potatoes, onions and lots of melted cheese, and its better than it sounds!); olives wrapped in anchovies (ok, this didn’t really appeal to me, but hey I’ll try anything once); cheese; and chocolate - lots of it. It was all washed down with lots of hot mulled wine, white wine, and the occasional Belgian beer.

New Year’s Eve was the pinnacle of this gourmet frenzy, with a 3 course dinner delivered from a local restaurant to Py’s apartment. First course was seafood: prawns, sashimi, seafood terrine and salad. Second course was meat: duck, pate, game meat, Moroccan cous-cous, creamy sausage pasta and vegetables. Third course was a massive chocolate cake! And all this was accompanied by a raspberry cocktail (freshly crushed raspberries with champagne and vodka), wine, beer and champers... I feel full just thinking about it all!

In between eating, it was wonderful to catch up with my Liegois friends. It was so great to spend time with the darlings Celine, Py and Marjorie! Celine, Py and I even managed to fit in a trip to Bruges, a gorgeous little town that charmed the pants off us, despite the (seemingly) sub-Arctic temperatures. After a walk through the lovely streets of the old-fashioned town, we went to an ice and snow sculpture exhibit. The theme was Greek mythology and there was an indoor labrinyth constructed, dotted with all the gods and characters that you would expect to find within…plus an ice hotel and an ice bar where shots of vodka are served in ice-glasses.

It was the perfect start to 2004, especially when snow started falling on New Year’s Day. It was a bit late for a white Christmas, but appreciated nevertheless! Then I was whisked off to the airport by Celine’s mum in her sexy, brand new Audi TT (with individually-controlled heated leather seats – heaven!)… ahhhh, Belgium, that’s the life!