I’ve been in Brussels the last two days, on an art and chocolate-themed trip. Here, the highlights of my sojourn.
I’ve sampled chocolates at the recently opened La Maison des Maîtres Chocolatiers Belge, a recently opened shop on the Grand Place, Brussels’ grand main square. The store showcases the work of ten artisans who make traditional Belgian chocolate using the finest ingredients.
I had a sneak preview of Brussels Antiques and Fine Art Fair, better known as BRAFA. This major event takes place in Brussels annually, attracting art collectors and aficionados from around the world. This year, its 55th anniversary, the show is on from January 22 through January 31.
I savored two delicious waffles, both with plenty of thick whipped cream and chocolate sauce – the real Belgian way.
I wandered along Dansaertstraat, the street to go shopping for outfits by Flemish designers. At Stijl (Rue Dansaertstraat 74), I admired beautiful pieces by some of my favorites, such as Martin Margiela and Ann Demeulemeester. Even though their creations are way beyond my current economic reach, it was great to feel the fabrics and ogle the inventive cuts. In the area, I also stumbled upon a designer shop I really liked, by Azniv Afsar (30 Rue Leon Lepage).
At dusk, I strolled back to Hotel Amigo, where I’m staying, just off the main square. I often find city center hotels lacking in personality, even when they try really hard. Hotel Amigo manages to blend stylish Belgian design and the intimacy of a home away from home. That’s thanks to the hotel designer Olga Polizzi, who is the director of design for the Rocco Forte Collection. The hotel is so charming, in fact, that I’ve happily spent the last couple of hours enjoying my room.
For more about this small and charming country, browse around VisitBelgium.com.
Disclaimer: My current four-day trip to Belgium is sponsored by the Belgian Tourism Board.