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around the world with bash, please: belgian reunion

by Paige

Hello Design*Spongers, we’ve missed you. We’ve had a whirlwind of events going on, but are so happy to be back today with another turn-of-the-globe entertaining idea. This time when we spun, fate brought us right back to Europe with Belgium. Belgium: Beer . . . chocolate . . . french fries (dipped in mayo) . . . waffles. Yes, we really like Belgium.

The scene is a reunion of two friends reminiscing about their first encounter while traveling in Belgium. The setting is a rooftop deck on a chilly fall afternoon, perfect weather for warm indulgent food and autumnal tones and textures. On the table, a burnt orange underlay was topped with a vintage cream crewel tablecloth for a dainty, European flair.

We gave the table more depth by layering the tablecloths with rich fabric and a reddish color for the underlay. The lacy white-on-red made the table pop with texture and feel like a Belgian grandmother’s tablecloth. A nice contrast to the hearty array of Belgian beers these friends brought to their reunion: Chimay, Matilda, Duvel, Prior 8 and more.

An iconic Belgian dish is moules frites. Mussels are prime in the autumn/winter months and it was definitely a no-brainer for these friends to share them again as they had on their journey. The mussels were cooked in white wine, butter (don’t even ask how much!), chopped garlic and shallots. The prep process was a bit time consuming, but so worth it. Between soaking, debearding and scrubbing, they take about an hour to prepare but only 3 minutes to cook! (Great recipe found here.) Sprinkle with chopped parsley for a pretty garnish.

We went hunting for traditional beer steins and found the most amazing ones from a vintage collector. eBay had some nice steins as well, and they really brought an old Belgian flair to the table. We love how beautiful they are and have decided to start our own collection. A much fancier way to drink a brewski than from a bottle, don’t you agree?

CLICK HERE for the rest of the post, a delicious dipping sauce recipe and salty Belgian chocolate ice cream recipe after the jump!

We wrapped our frites in newspaper cones, similar to how they are served on the streets of Belgium. We added some detail by taking the beer bottle caps, punching little holes close to the edges, and stringing butcher’s twine through them to tie them up. Dipping sauces were our own spin on the Belgian mayo dip.

Bacon/Blue Cheese/Walnut Dipping Sauce
  • 1 tbsp blue cheese crumble
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 3 slices cooked bacon
  • 2 tsp chopped walnuts
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • roasted pepper/garlic
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/2 roasted pepper
  • 1/4 cup mayo
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • two slices squeezed lemon

For dessert, we went with our own adapted — and may we say the tastiest — recipe for salty Belgian chocolate ice cream.


  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup raw cane sugar
  • 8 oz semisweet Belgian chocolate
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1–2 heaping tsp Maldon salt (or more for those who like it salty)

1. Heat milk until almost boiling. Pulse chocolate and sugar in a blender until it is sandy. Add warm milk until smooth. Let it cool. Stir in cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for 3–4 hours.

2. Blend in an ice cream maker. When it is thickened but not done, add the salt.

3. Place in freezer to solidify. Serve it up with Belgian waffle cookies and orange citrus in . . . what else? A frosty beer mug.

Chatting and laughing into the night, this dinner was the perfect way to celebrate the bons vivants of our travellers reunions. Cozy up by your autumn fire until next time, when the globe will take us to another inspiring destination . . . au revoir!

Photos by Raya Carlisle. Styling by Bash, Please.

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  • I am Belgian and it’s very funny to see how my country is “understood”.

    You sould visit Namur (the city where I live) : it’s full of little old streets, beautiful shops (design, deco, cooking,…),… I have so many places to advise you!

    And I hate mussels… :D

  • looks like fun.

    beer protip: try to serve beers out of the proper type of glassware. those are some cute steins, but your belgian beers pictured should ideally be served in a tulip or snifter of some sort, which help capture volatiles. it’s kinda like serving champagne in a coffee mug (which i’ve totally done before) and breaks my beergeek heart just a bit.

  • I loved this post and now I have such a craving for this dish! I’m planning on making it tonight :) When I clicked on the link for the recipe, it was a page for de-bearding mussels. Can someone please post a link to a yummy mussels recipe?

  • aw! when we first move to california bill and I used to have destination themed dinners once a month and this totally reminds me of the first one we have did! so cute!

  • oh, if only this had come out LAST week! just had a reunion with a Belgium-travel-buddy this weekend…she would have loved something like this…GREAT ideas for our next reunion!

  • I’m Belgian and it pains me a bit to see that everyone always thinks in clichés when it comes to our culinary qualities… there’s more to Belgium than chocolate and fries! And I totally agree with Jc on the glasses. Btw the glasses you use are not Belgian at all, they are German!
    Loved the tablecloth though, totally reminds me of my late grandmother.
    And taking this opportunity to say how I absolutely love d*s!
    Greets from Belgium

  • I love your site, as much as you love Belgium. How lovely it is to see all these wonderfull belgian products in such a beautifull setting. Maggie, Ghent, Belgium

  • oh! such a lovely thing to wake up to. I’ve been missing that odd little city and its inhabitants like kerazy since moving back. This looks like the fantasy version of the terrace dinner parties we’d have with friends- sigh! homesick!

  • The pictures are beautiful, and so is the venue. Lovely to see our country like this!
    As a ‘local’, I also have a few things to add. Like jc said: you definitely should use the correct beer glasses for each beer. I might be wrong, but I think the beer steins used are actually German and not Belgian. And they don’t do the beer justice.
    I wondered if wrapping fries in newspaper is a good idea: isn’t the SMELL of newspapers too overwhelming for that? Using a BELGIAN newspaper would at least have added a bit of extra Belgian flair :). (even though ‘we’ never do that…)

  • Another Belgian here. Great to see your interpretation of our little country :)
    I giggled with the beersteins and newspapers :) Cute!

    The lace indeed reminded me of my grandmothers table!

  • i LOVE Belgium! Lived there for 3.5 years (Leuven, worked in Brussels) and I MISS it!! The beer, chocolate and the people and lifestyle..

  • Sounds like a delicious afternoon :)
    And I have to ask: Are the photographs tiltshifted? Because everything looks like beautiful miniatures, and it’s kind of throwing me for a loop.

  • another Belgian here. Sounds like you had great time eating and drinking Belgian foods. Yes, they may be cliches, but I love them too :-)
    All the comments about the glasses made me laugh a bit, they’re completely right, but I do think the glasses you used are very cute and they would be great to keep the flies out of your beer on a hot summer’s day.
    The setting looks lovely with the table cloth and even some real Belgian weather, gray and rainy, in the background

  • hi everyone! these photo shoots are INSPIRED by different countries, but definitely not literal or exact as we can’t always find something here in the states that represents each country EXACTLY the way the natives would like us to. we do our best to provide some inspiration and we loved the beer steins, belgian or not, they are european and were a fun change to drink from.

  • Hi Leisa,
    The photos aren’t tilt-shifted – I shot most with my 50mm fixed length @ 1.4 or close to that, so the depth of field is really small. Looking at them again I see what you mean! That lens combined with the big gray sky above is probably giving that effect.

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