A Belgian winter with chocolate and beer
As the new year is approaching – actually, it is almost here – it is time we thought about the most beautiful places to spend the first month of the new year. A Belgian winter with chocolate and beer is today’s suggestion: join us as we take a dream journey through the land of smurfs, gaufres and dark chocolate.
Despite the fact that they live in the cold north of Europe, if you travel there, you will discover that the Belgians are an incredibly warm and friendly people. They enthuse over celebrations, sweets and pretty things and they love chocolate and beer.
The history of beer in Belgium actually goes back hundreds of years… to the time when the Belgian state didn’t even exist. Affligem is one of this corners of beer history. Founded in 1074 by knights turned monks, Affligem Abbey developed into a micro-society, with its own farm, mill, a bakery, a milk factory and of course, a brewery (with adjacent hop fields).
The Dominican monks played football in the 16th century, while they produced food and beer ever since the abbey was built. In the Middle Ages, water was often contaminated and undrinkable, so beer and wine were better options. Mild and sweet, the beer produced here was said to have therapeutic properties. The recipe of beer production was written in 1956 for the first time.
Nowadays, the 12 monks in the abbey are no longer involved in the production of beer, but they have sold the patent to Heineken, so that the Affligem beer is still commercialized all around the world.
Apart from beer, chocolate and waffles are other symbols of Belgium. Of all varieties of chocolate, dark chocolate is the most popular among Belgians – notorious smokers. A cup of hot chocolate is another option if you wish to visit Brussels this winter.