In 2015, we spent three days in Bruges, Belgium. We took a train from Paris, stopping in Brussels and then on to this wonderful city.
I can summarize Bruges in a few food related words - chocolate, beer, frites and waffles. As you walk down the cobblestone streets of Bruges (or Brugge, as the locals call it), you will inevitably pass a chocolate shop. These little establishments contain more varieties of chocolate than you could ever imagine. Milk, dark, sweet, semi-sweet - pineapple filled, coconut filled, dark chocolate filled, lime filled. You name it, they have it. The chocolate tasting journey never ends. And with this type of quality, you don't want it to. Our favorites chocolatiers were "The Chocolate Line" and historic, can't miss, best-chocolate-I've-ever-had "Dumon".
Next is beer. If you are a craft beer fan in the United States, this may be a difficult adjustment for you. But it's totally worth it to keep an open mind. Beers in Belgium are more centered around a couple different styles. The Belgian ales (dubbel, tripel, quadrupel etc) are all modeled after trappist beers. For me, they all have a distinct flavor, which I think comes from the yeast used in fermentation. It is a little funky and takes some getting used to, but once you appreciate it - the different flavors and breweries are endless. The second type of beer, which I group together and should probably get yelled at for doing so, are the weisses and lambics. These are the "sour" beers. Again, they have an acquired taste, but open your mind and give 'em a shot. In addition to these more "traditional" beers the Belgians also brew beers we are used to like IPAs, stouts, porters etc. While in Bruges, we had a blast visiting and doing a tasting at De Halve Maan brewery. Also, thanks to our B&B host, we found a hole-in-the-wall pub called Rose Red Cafe that had a HUGE variety of craft beer. Kailah and I hung out at Rose Red one night, late into the evening chatting with the barkeeps and a couple of young Belgians. When we asked them for their perspective on beer, they said "our beer is strong - we leave anything below 6% for the Germans". Disclaimer: Belgian beer is usually 7%-9% and these people can throw them back with the best of them!
Frites (french fries) and waffles...need I say more? Belgian waffles are large and fluffy, usually served with either various fruits, or sweets (chocolate sauce, caramel, whipped cream etc). The french fries are unique. They actually double fry them, so that they are super crispy and traditionally serve them with a type of mayonnaise as dipping sauce. You can also usually get them topped with the local Flemish beef stew (which I would recommend with or without fries). One last thing, when ordering, ask for frites and not French fries. I had a local tell me that they believe the Belgians invented the fry, not the French :).
As you can see, we are passionate about the food that Bruges has to offer. But when you combine this with a medieval backdrop, Venice-like canals and friendly people, you get an amazing small city to explore.