SWISS CUISINE – A POTPOURRI OF INFLUENCES

Apart from being a harmonious tableau of beautiful images, Switzerland is home to a hearty traditional cuisine. Stay with me as I find out what’s cooking in the land of four languages

ENGADIN St. Moritz: Champagner-Feeling in Engadin St. Moritz

While Switzerland borders France in the West, Germany in the north, Austria and the principality of Liechtenstein in the east and Italy in the south, you can only imagine its culinary diversity.

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TASTING GHENT

The city of Gothic architecture, Ghent in Belgium, is a place that should not only be visited but also tasted

WORLD’S BEST WAFFLES

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We tried a strawberry waffle at Max, Goudenleeuwplein 3 – an 1839 establishment famous for inventing apple fritters and Brussels waffle – and it was like eating a bit of history

If waffles have always been your weakness, leaving the Flemish city without sampling a home-baked warm waffle would be a serious offence. Belgium’s street food, classic Ghent waffles are crisp on the outside and airy on the inside (literally; even the ones with a micro appetite can easily gobble down two to three king-sized waffles without complaining of overeating) and to be had with a sprinkle of snowy powdered sugar. These waffles are so well made that they don’t really need a mask of maple syrup or any extra-sweet toppings to make them inviting. They are pure happiness all in their crisp, plain form; just the waft of these waffles can transport you to seventh heaven. But if you fancy a waffle meal, try one with a dollop of whipped cream and freshly-sliced strawberries or even Belgium-special dark chocolate.

PUNGENT MUSTARD

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Located in the heart of the city at Groentenmarkt 3, Tierenteyn-Verlent sells its own freshly-made mustard and I bet you’ll love it

Some hate it, some love it, Ghent mustard with its strong piquancy can set your mouth on fire! But after the initial sharp taste, you quite tend to crave its distinct spiciness. Located in the heart of the city at Groentenmarkt 3, Tierenteyn-Verlent produces arguably the best preservative-free mustard in Ghent since last 200 years (since 1790 without the slightest change in its taste). And it’s never more than three days old. What you see is barrels filled with freshly-prepared mustard. Pick one of the signature stone jars or glass bottles in your preferable size (price ranging from €1.80 to €8.80 depending on the size of the bottle) and get your mustard skilfully ladled in it. Ghent mustard makes for a great souvenir for yourself as well as your foodie loved ones as it goes well with everything from different varieties of cheese to meat platter and, of course, beer. Yes, you heard it right. Almost anything is edible with a dab of Ghent mustard on it!

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MY LOVE AFFAIR WITH CHOCOLATE IN BELGIUM

It’s really hard to not love a place that offers the three most delicious things in the world – chocolates, waffles and beer.

Even before I booked my tickets to Belgium, I already had my chocolate-crazy friends making special requests to get them all possible varieties of Belgian dark chocolates. And this made me even more curious about what these oh-so-special “Belgium Chocolates” tasted like.

My romantic rendezvous with Belgian dark chocolate began the very moment I landed at Brussels airport. One of our co-travellers was yet to arrive and we decided to kill time by sipping a cup of hot chocolate at a trendy coffee bar. For a perpetual dark chocolate lover like me, it was almost close to experiencing one of life’s greatest joys.

Whirling it in my mouth, I could easily distinguish the Belgian choco drink from any other I’d had before. Decadently rich. Smooth in texture. And just the right amount of sweetness; nothing less, nothing more.

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