Date Night In- Belgium

January 4, 2021

We love a theme night! I know this isn’t the first time that I’ve told you this. We’ll pick a recipe, get some tunes going and imagine we’re somewhere else for the evening. We’ve been doing this for years but 2020 gave us the opportunity to do them even more. Travel doesn’t seem to be in the forecast yet so we will continue to “travel” from home. So I bring you, Date Night In-Belgium Style!

France is one of our favorite places but did you know that we’ve been to Belgium four times in a little under two years? We’ve visited Brussels four times, Bruges and Ghent. Belgium is a great place to visit. The people are super nice, the food is delicious (waffles and chocolate and fries oh my!) and the beer is top notch.

Most of the time when people think of Belgian cuisine they go straight to the waffles. They are amazing, don’t get me wrong but Belgium has so much more to offer. This country is basically a frugal foodie’s paradise. The cuisine is influenced by its neighbors and it’s sometimes said that Belgian food is served in the quantity of German cuisine but with the quality of French food. See? Frugal foodie paradise.

What to Eat:

When having a Belgian theme night at home one of our favorite dishes to make is Moules Frites. This simple dinner has delicious flavors and will transport you right to the winding, cobblestone streets of Ghent. I adore Moules Frites, it was my requested dinner for my birthday night in last year!  

Moules Frites


For the Moules

2-2 ½ lbs fresh mussels

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 large shallot, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme

1 tablespoon each fresh chopped parsley & chervil (if you can’t find chervil tarragon is a great substitute)

50 ml olive oil

150 ml dry white wine. We like a Muscadet

1 teaspoon Pernod (optional but adds a nice flavor)

2 tablespoons crème fraiche

For the Frites

2 large potatoes, we like russet


Oil for deep frying


If you are deep frying your own frites, turn your oil on before starting. Heat to 400F

  1. Prep your frites by peeling and cutting into thin strips. Soak in cold, salted water for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Dry your frites thoroughly with paper towels, this will guarantee the best fries! Once dry and your oil is at temp, do your “first fry” by cooking for 5 minutes.
  3. Remove and drain on a cooling rack with newspaper underneath. Let them hang while you cook the mussels.
  4. Place the mussels into a large bowl of cold water, rinse and then drain well and pull away any ‘beards’. (Fresh mussels look black and shiny and should only smell pleasantly of the deep sea – the vast majority should be tightly closed. Avoid any that smell ‘fishy’, look dry or are mostly open.).
  5. Add your chopped onion, shallot and garlic in a saucepan with the olive oil, gently sweat them over a low to medium heat for about 5 minutes, or until slightly soft.
  6. Toss in the chopped herbs and Pernod, if using. Stir with the onion mixture.
  7. Add the washed mussels to the pan and cover with dry white wine.  Slowly bring to a boil, then simmer gently while stirring. Continue until the mussels have opened – discard any that do not open, this can take between 2 to 5 minutes.
  8. Add the crème fraiche, mixing through the cooked and opened mussels. Cover your pan until the frites are cooked.
  9. Check your deep fryer. Add the frites back to the oil for a few minutes until golden and crispy. Remove and let drain on your rack with newspaper and lightly salt.

Serve your moules in a deep bowl with frites on the side. The Muscadet wine goes great with this dish, but it’s also Date Night In-Belgium Style so crack open a nice Belgian beer.

For dessert you can pick up some Belgian chocolates or if you have a waffle maker these yummy looking waffles. Sadly, we don’t have a waffle maker. I’m strongly considering it though! (This recipe calls for Belgian Pearl sugar but you can google an alternative.) Top with chocolate sauce, strawberries, fresh chantilly cream, the possibilities are endless. Perfect dessert!

What to Drink:

Belgium boasts 1100 variants of beer and it’s no secret that they love their beer! The most popular seem to be lambics and gueuze. These are naturally fermenting beers that the Belgians leave in open barrels or coolships and let the natural yeasts ferment the beer. Cantillon has some amazing beers in this style and we’ve been fortunate enough to visit the brewery many times. If you don’t have your own stash of coveted Belgian beers in your cellar here are some that you can most likely find at your local bottle shops.

Lindemans Gueuze Cuvee Rene -At nearly 200 years old, Lindemans is one of the best-known Lambic producers in the world. They have fruity lambics as well.

Fonteinen Oude Kriek– a sour Lambic beer spiked with sour cherries

Saison Dupont– the saison that made me love saisons!

Delirium Tremens – Blonde strong ale. Look for the signature pink elephant logo and ceramic bottle.

Anything by St. Bernardus – Trappist style beers, careful these can be strong!

La chouffe – the best Belgian blond in my opinion. This is a favorite brewery of mine and I’ve loved every beer that I’ve tried by them. The cute little gnome on the label is also super cute.

Chimay– Another Trappist style beer, you need to be careful with those!

Taras Boulba– by Brasserie de la Senne is a lighter Belgian beer. This brewery does a lot of great things with beer so if you ever find a beer by them, snatch it up! Fun fact about the Taras Boulba, a local brewery here in Maine, Oxbow just did a collab with this brewery. Maine’s beer game is pretty on point. If you mention Oxbow or Allagash ( who also has a coolship) in Brussels they are known.

What to Listen to:

Belgium has some pretty great music that you’ve probably never heard of. Boogie Belgique is an experimental hip hop/ electro swing band that is perfect to listen to while cooking and then eating your delicious meal. Nightwalker Vol.1 is one of my most listened to, the song Forever and Ever…so good.

What to Do:

Usually a date night in for us includes games or a movie. In Bruges with Colin Farrell is a dark comedy that takes place, in Bruges. Clever title huh? It’s a story about a guilt stricken hitman who is sent to Bruges with his mentor after a job goes horribly wrong. Farrell’s character wants nothing to do with this quaint, historic city while everyone else thinks it’s like a dream, a fairytale. It’s such a funny movie and perfect for a night in. It’s been available on Amazon, Netflix and HBO Max at various times. I just checked and it’s a rental for $3.99 on Amazon right now.

Well that’s it, a night in Belgium without ever needing to leave your home. If and when you get the chance definitely have a real travel experience to this lovely country. Until then, I hope that you enjoy your Date Night In-Belgium Style!

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