A Belgian in the North Country missing her food

Warning: This blog post is about food, and I must warn you, you might become hungry from reading this. 

Two months away from home, and one of the things I miss the most is actually the food. I do not dare to call Belgian food better because it is not. I enjoyed some good meals here in North Country but it is just hard to let go of old habits. Without a doubt, you have heard about fries, chocolate, and waffles, you even might have eaten Brussels Sprouts before. But what about Stoofvlees?  Or Gentse Waterzooi?

stoofvlees (C.C) 2.0 Roger

Stoofvlees (CC) 2.0 by Elizabeth – Waterzooi (CC) 2.0 by Roger

Instead of subs, we eat ‘Smoskes‘ — a French baguette with vegetables with cheese or/and ham. You can also have other options such as meat, tuna, special cheese, and much more. Easy for lunch.

American pancakes vs French crêpes

I love pancakes. If I could eat them daily without gaining weight, I would. American pancakes are thick and small, mostly covered in maple syrup. At home we eat French crêpes with many different toppings. A crêpe is thin and most of the time the size of your plate. You can eat them with chocolate sauce, jam, fruit, ice cream, different kind of sugars, syrups or whatever else you want to put on it.

Freedom fries vs Belgian Fries

We all know fries, right? But Belgian fries – what many of you call French fries – are different. To be honest, I have no idea what makes them different. We bake them twice before eating and we do not have curly or weird shapes. If you’re too lazy to make them yourself, you can go and buy a portion in the frituur- basically a shop where you can buy fries and snacks- For example we have our own burger called the Bicky burger, with a special sauce. We do eat our fries with mayonnaise sometimes, as the stereotype says, but there are plenty other options, too.

Bagels & Koffiekoeken

We do have bagels but it is not so common to eat them in Belgium; here I can’t imagine a life without a bagel for lunch or breakfast. But I miss going to the bakery for koffiekoeken and fresh bread. Koffiekoeken are not coffee cakes; they are more a kind of pastry. You have different options such as Cremekoeken, achtkoeken,chocoladekoek, boule de Berlin  rozijnenkoeken, and more. I miss having those for breakfast, brunch or lunch so much that I am already planning my trip to the bakery when returning home.


Chocolates might look the same no matter where in the world you buy them, but believe me, they do not taste the same. Belgian chocolate is the best in the world for sure; tough the Swiss might say otherwise. I miss my pralines and Belgian chocolate. I do not know the secret of our chocolate, but if you ever get the chance to try some Belgian chocolate, you will understand what I’m talking about.

Peanut butter vs. Biscoff spread (Speculaaspasta)

I’m not really very American when it comes to peanut butter. I’m no fan. In Belgium we have biscoff spread or speculaaspasta in Dutch. It’s a bread spread made of biscoff cookies. Before the spread was created, most Belgians dipped the cookie in their coffee and then spread it on their bread. Els Scheppers invented the pre-made spread when attending a competition in Belgium three years ago. Now we all love our Biscoff spread. Though I must confess that I’m still dipping the cookies in my coffee. The spread just does not taste the same as doing it the old way.

Gingerbread vs Peperkoek

Gingerbread is actually the same as peperkoek, only our peperkoek is a little different. Belgian peperkoek has a lighter color and is usually covered in sugar, but it does taste almost the same as the homemade gingerbread my host mother made.

Jelly beans vs. neuzekes

I noticed that most Americans are really fond of Jelly Beans. And how can you not like them? They are tasty and they have more than one flavor in a package. I would recommend to be careful with the Bertie Bott’s every flavor beans though, you never know what you’ll get. We eat Jelly Beans, too. Without a doubt, my country has a lot of candy, but I personally prefer Cuberdons the most – – the official name for neuzekes-  Cuberdons are made with gum arabic and are raspberry flavored. Though more recently differently colored and flavored varieties have been available as well. Fun fact: in Flanders Cuberdons are known as Neuzekes (nose) for its likeness to a human nose.

Melissa Callaert is working as an intern at North Country Public Radio for the Spring 2016 semester.


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1 Comment on “A Belgian in the North Country missing her food”

  1. Mitch Edelstein says:

    Sorry, I can only eat my fries with ketchup (not catsup) SEE Canada story about ketchup battle. When I lived in Maryland, Baltimore baseball stadium had containers of Old Bay seasoning to put on the freshly made fries, better than it sounds.

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