We continue on from Brazil.
Eventually, the area should look as lively as this, but Belgium remains closed until its October 1st opening date. Here is the previous menu for an idea about what to expect:
The menu should be largely the same, though we should be getting some upgrades in the Belgian Abbey Ale and Chimay Dorée Gold. If you see of a creepy person in the corner of what is hopefully still Morocco with a handful of small beers, it’s probably me.
Beer-braised Beef served with Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes – $5.50
Belgium switched out the waffle for the mashed potatoes in this dish three years ago and I initially had some mixed feelings. But I think the creamy, cheesy, salty potatoes do complement the stew a little better than the sweet waffle. On the other hand, the flavor profile is relatively straightforward now and there are only a couple bites of tough beef and a small dollop of potatoes. It looks like there’s a lot of stuff in there, but it’s mostly liquid. The French Braised Beef is a better buy in the area.
Belgian Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream – $4.25
Here’s this year’s Golden Malted version of the Waffle.
And last year’s.
I really like these waffles, which are freshly pressed inside the booth and served seconds after, here sweetened up with quite a bit of whipped cream and the decadent warm chocolate ganache. It had been about a year since I had tried one of the waffles, but it “felt” like the Golden Malted version was softer and chewier with a little bit more of a malty presence. On the other hand, it could also be the exact same mix that they’ve been using for years. It’s delicious either way.
Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream – $4
If you’re after something that at least “feels” slightly healthier, you might go the fruity route with the berry compote and what is typically a smaller spoonful of the same whipped cream. I personally favor the chocolate, but at $4.25 each, you might as well pick up both.
Beer Flight – $9
With Leffe Blonde Belgian Pale Ale, St. Bernardus Witbier, and Delirium Red Fruit Beer
The St. Bernardus Witbier is a delicious beer with a heavy citrus nose backed up by wheat, coriander, and spice with a taste that follows. It’s surprisingly light on the palate, balancing fresh, crisp herbal hops with a mild fruity sweetness followed by a clean, slightly bitter finish. The ABV comes in at 5.5% and might be the best Belgian Witbier you can buy, though the Allagash White is also incredible.
The Leffe Blonde is good too, lighter and more malty than the St. Bernardus with some banana, clove, and spice.
Brouwerij Huyghe brings us the Delirium Red Fruit Ale. You may be familiar with their Delirium Tremens, which is similar to a Duvel Golden Ale, if any of that rings a bell. I am not a fruit beer person, but the Delirium is pretty good. There’s that typical cough syrup quality, particularly on the nose, but the heavy carbonation helps and the tart quality of the berries elevates this somewhere above Robitussin. Drink it quickly as it gets a lot more medicinal as it warms up.
Anyone who enjoys beer should try the flight or go for three full pours. Remember that each beer in the flight is four ounces, while the individual pours are six ounces. That means the individual pours cost 75 cents an ounce, while the per-ounce price in the flight is higher, at 81 cents.
Stella Artois Hard Cidre – $4.50
Cidre arrived stateside about eight years ago now to compete with the other macros launching lines under various names, including MillerCoors, who owns Crispin/Redd’s Apple Ale, and Boston Beer (Sam Adams), who launched Angry Orchard in 2011. Cidre is clean, crisp, and a bit too sweet for me. This may be a nice opportunity to give it a whirl without committing to a 4-pack.
Chilled Coffee featuring Godiva Chocolate Liqueur – $11
The Chilled Coffee is very chocolaty, perhaps due to a heavy squeeze of some unadvertised chocolate syrup. The cup is also not particularly large considering how easy it is to drink. I’d probably go with the Guinness Baileys Shake from Ireland, which tastes similar and comes with a souvenir cup.
Overall, the food items offered are among the biggest crowd-pleasers at the Festival and the beer lineup is probably the best of any Marketplace. Most people will want to make a stop here. Maybe two.
Morocco is up next.