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.
- 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!