EATING ABROAD: Bruges

Jenna is our guest foodie blogger who has been writing her blog, Hogg's Homemade, since early 2015. This week, Jenna reccomends the perfect Christmas getaway in Bruges, Belgium...

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With the weather turning a little colder and the shops getting ever busier in the run up to Christmas, I escaped for a long weekend in Bruges, Belgium. This quaint city is the ideal place to pick up a few Christmas presents and indulge in the delights of their world famous chocolate and beer.

Breathtakingly beautiful, the city boasts cobbled streets and quiet waterways and for just €8 you can take a boat tour of the city, soaking up the historic sights.

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The streets are literally ‘choc-k’ full of chocolate boutiques and each bite is masterfully crafted to delight – I particularly loved their Crème Brule chocolate and Champagne truffles – wow! I recently went on a chocolatier course and learnt how to make simple truffles out of melted dark chocolate and cream, rolled in cocoa powder; something I will definitely be whipping up as gifts in the run up to Christmas.

The Belgium food is my sort of menu, rich beef stew slowly cooked in beer or meatballs in a delicious heavy tomato sauce. They often accompany meals with a cone of fries, hanging in little paper baskets like an ice cream – something that’s ok by me! This Christmas eve as I prepare veg to feed an army I might get out my slow cooker and attempt to recreate the Flemish favourite, boozing up my beef in stout beer and cooking for hours until perfection.

On my visit we stumbled across a cosy restaurant called The Habit (Kemelstraat 9) hidden down an ally way. This restaurant was filled with an eclectic mix of furnishing – Venetian masks, historic wall paintings and cheeky monkey statues. Their €30 Flemish set menu with croquettes (I’ve not had since school!), beef stew and chocolate mousse is a menu to remember (partly because you will be so full you can’t think of anything else afterwards!).

The city also hosts Christmas markets each year which kicked off at the weekend so don’t be surprised if the town becomes a little busier, but with so much to choose from your Christmas shopping will be sorted in no time leaving you more opportunity to relax in the run up to the big day.

Finally my favourite thing about Bruges is the slowness of everything, you don’t need to rush about the city, and in fact it’s so small it’s almost impossible to. Walking arounds the cobbled streets you can see each house is uniquely made and lined with cute little flower boxes or the odd bicycle. The windmills that boarder the city make for a beautiful stroll around too, but the best thing is that Bruges is the perfect place to sit back, watch the world and indulge in the delights of what’s on the menu.

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