Sweet-toothed visitors to Wallonia beware! If you’re not careful you’ll definitely add a few pounds during your stay. Aside from the region’s world-famous chocolates there are several other tempting concoctions to be hunted down, from macaroons to cakes and pastries.
Wallonia’s chocolate éclairs, for example, are different from those found in the UK. The choux pastry is lighter, the crème pâtissière richer and creamier, and the chocolate icing softer and finer.
La Frangipane – nothing to do with the frangipani tree – is a rich cake mixture based on ground almonds, and a Belgian favourite eaten all year round and available in every pâtisserie. Add sugar, eggs, butter -–and a drop or two of dark rum – and you have the recipe for a perfect cake.
La Gosette is a kind of turnover made with puff pastry and filled with apples, cherries or apricots. You buy it slightly warm, so the ingredients melt in your mouth. Other mouth-watering sweet highlights include mousse slices and raspberry tarts.
But it’s Belgian chocolate that takes the biscuit. Many towns and cities have small, independent chocolate-makers to compete with the famous names, and their produce is usually fresher and less sugary than the international market demands.
All in all, a trip to Wallonia is bound to be a very sweet thing.
Couques Jacobs, a pastry shop making traditional Couque biscuits in Dinant
The Darcis chocolate shop and museum in Verviers