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Fairy Tale Charm Of Belgium


Fairy Tale Charm Of Belgium

Fairy Tale Charm is everywhere in Leuven, Belgium. The streets are alive with history. Here, everything old is cared for and kept in the best condition. To take a walk in Leuven, Belgium, is to immerse yourself in the living history of Belgium. Instead of dilapidated old buildings, you see amazing churches, and buildings that have the air of excellence.

Leuven is the capital of  the Providence of Flemish Brabant, in Belgium. Leuven is just a short drive from Brussels. Brussels is just 16 miles east of Leuven! The city of Leuven is the home of the Historical Leuven, a fantastic historical section of the city. History is not pushed to one side, but is the center of the city. You will find this amazing district in the center of the downtown area. Here, the new and the old are mixed into what is one of the most amazing cities in the world. This historical city is home to one of the  largest consumer goods companies in Belgium and the world. Here you will also find the world’s largest brewing company. The largest and oldest Catholic University in all the Low Countries is also found in Leuven. The Low Countries consists of Belgium and the Netherlands and several low river deltas in western Europe. These areas are all below sea level. The Katholieke Universiteit Leuven is living history!

St Peters church

Saint Peter’s Church Of Leuven

Saint Peter’s Church in Leuven, Belgium was built between the years of 1425 and 1500. It was damaged during both World Wars. There was an earlier church built on the same land around the year of 986. It burnt down in 1176. Renovation began after World War II. During the renovation of the church, the Romanesque Crypt was found. The crypt dates back to the 11th century and several paintings from the 17th and 18th centuries were found. A famous painting of the Lord’s Super by Dirk Boutis was found in the Crypt.

There is a 50 metre-high tower was originally intended to be 169 meters high. The tower was never finished. This 50 metre tower is looms high into the sky. It is beautiful to look out and provides a landmark to the city. The tower was listed in  UNESCO’S 1999’s list of belfries of Belgium and France. Saint Peter’s Church  is located on the main square, across from one of the most ornate buildings in the historical city….. The Town Hall. The Church is open to the public.

Grote Markt 1, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

The church is open from 10am-4:30 Thursday through Tuesday. Sunday it opens at 11:00am instead of 10:00 am. It is closed on Wednesday.

Sunday Mass
Mass is held at 10:00 AM and 5:00 PM  in Dutch at Sint Pieter (Grote Markt).

There is a program called the ” I LUV Leuven Ticket” which allows you to visit the most important and unique buildings of Leuven. This ticket can be purchased for 16 euro.

Leuven Town Hall

The Ornate Town Hall In Leuven

The outstanding and magnificent artistic detail of each of the 236 Statues found on the Historical Town Hall is spectacular. It is also complete with several spires. Nothing in the world prepares you for the ornate detail found on this unique building. The statues were actually added during the 19th Century to give tribute to a prominent local scholars, artists or nobles from the city’s history. The original Town Hall was built between 1439 and 1463. There is a beautiful reception hall that was added in 1750. The Hall is home to many historical paintings of value. There are also paintings of all the mayors of the city of Leuven since 1794. This historical town hall tells the story of Leuven, as nothing else can.

Address:   Grote Markt 9, 3000 Leuven, Belgium

Telephone:  +32 16 20 30 20

It is open 7 days a week from 10 am to 5 pm.

Old Market Square

Old Market Square in Flemish Brabant

Old Market Square is home to many of the buildings that we have been discussing. What a magnificent square! The Town Hall stands at the end in all of her unique glory. Across from the Town Hall and unseen is the charming St.Peters Church. As you look around at the Old Market Square, you will see many familiar buildings and some that are not. This historic square is the perfect place to spend the day. Completely immerse yourself in living history as you visit buildings from the 17th and 18th century and some even earlier. Here you will see amazing Flemish architecture, many museums, book stores, and many places to eat or get a beer. The longest bar counter in the world can be found here. This is considered one of the most important places to go for the locals.There is always someplace to get a good beer.

The square is pedestrians only and during the school year it is a lively place each night. It is the major hot spot for university students during the school year. Locals come to eat and get a good beer year around, weather permitting. There are three days in August devoted to “Market Rock”, a local music festival with many local musicians and bands. If you are in Belgium in August, you will not want to miss this festival.

This is an awesome place to hang out with friends. It is the perfect place to take the family. It has an enjoyable cafe area within the older architecture of the buildings. Enjoy the fantastic bakeries and delicious food.  Here you will find all the amazing character of old Belgium. What a nice place to get a cup of coffee, a beer or dinner.


Walking The Cobblestone Streets

Walking  the old cobblestone streets,you can enjoy the many ancient buildings with it’s old Flemish architecture. Could any day be a bad day for a walk? Just think, seeing all these ornate and unique buildings as you walk around the Market Square. The old Flemish architecture is one of a kind. The colors, the shapes, the windows and the doors….they are all extremely unique and different. As you walk through the streets, think about who lived there. Did they open their windows and call out to each other? Did they walk their dog? What was their life like? How did they earn a living? Enjoy your walk through a touch of yesterday in Leuven, Belgium. This is a rare privilege you will not want to miss!


Breads Of Belgium

Belgium is famous for its many bakeries and some of the finest breads in the world. Belgium breads are unique and beyond delicious. Just one bite, and you are hooked! These breads are not only uniquely Belgium, they are fresh. Come along as we introduce you to just a few of the treasures of the Belgium Bakery.

Breakfast in Belgium is not waffles or bacon and eggs. Belgium’s do not eat waffles ever! You can also forget about those pancakes with maple syrup. The most common breakfast is fresh hot bread and gouda cheese. Breakfast is some of the freshest and uniquely Belgium bread served with fresh cheese, jam, and honey. Now that, can not get any better.

One of the most favored of breads is Belgium Verviers Bread. This bread is over the top goodness. The secret is in the lumps of sugar. These lumps of sugar add to the unique crunch of the bread. Here is a simple and yet very Belgium recipe……..Belgium Verviers Bread.


1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm water
1/4 cup sugar
1 Cup milk
1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs, slightly beaten
4-4 1/2 cups flour
1 cup of small sugar cubes (about)

Proof the yeast in the lukewarm water with the 1 teaspoon of the sugar.

Scald the milk, add the rest of the granulated sugar and add the stick of butter to melt in the hot milk and add the salt. Let stand until lukewarm.

Blend the yeast sponge with the milk, butter and sugar-salt mixture, stir in the 2 eggs and add the flour, by 1/2 cups, stirring until you have a smooth dough.

Add the sugar cubes and turn onto a lightly floured work surface, adding more flour if the dough seems sticky. Knead a couple of minutes to get the sugar cubes well incorporated.

Place the dough in a large buttered bowl, cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

After the dough has doubled in bulk, knead for a few minutes on the floured work surface and divide into 2 equal pieces. Butter two round 8 inch cake forms and shape the dough into 2 round cakes to fit into the forms.

Cover with a towel and let rise again in a warm place for about 45 minutes.

Bake for about 30 minutes or until they are nicely browned on top. If you can, serve them warm! Yield: 2 small round loaves. Can be frozen.

NOTE: Serve fresh out of the oven with Gouda Cheese or fresh local raw honey.

Another of the rich and sweet breakfast breads of Belgium is Cramique. Cramique is filled with delicious raisins. Freshly baked for over 100 years, Cramique is sold in all the traditional bakeries of Belgium. Here is a traditional recipe from one of the old Flemish families.


Taken from the website:
Yields one large loaf

White bread flour, 430 grams (strong bread flour is ok but a 50-50 mix with all purpose flour also works well.
Milk, room temperature, 220 grams
Butter, unsalted, 85 grams
1 egg, loosely beaten,(about) 55 grams
Fine granulated white sugar, 45 grams
Salt, 5 grams
Raisins, 250 grams
Fresh yeast, 25 grams or bread machine yeast, 9 grams
Small quantity of egg/milk mixture, for glazing the loaf

You can use white bread flour or a 50-50 mix of strong bread flour and all purpose flour.  In bakeries 100% white bread flour is typically used because it results in a stronger, chewier crumb that’s easier to cut and transport.  If you like a more delicate texture that’s perfect for immediate consumption, go with the 50-50 mix (which is what I’d recommend ).

Some bakers add a small quantity of natural vanilla extract (NOT essence) to the liquids


Add yeast to milk and dissolve, add loosely beaten egg and sugar

Put the solids (flour, salt, butter) in a bowl

Add the liquids and mix well, let stand for 10 minutes

Knead well for 10 minutes by hand or about 6 minutes with a processor and hook

Cover with oiled cling film and let ferment in bulk for 30 minutes (31 centigrade) or until almost doubled

Toward the end of the bulk fermentation, add raisins and incorporate so as to distribute them evenly. It’s important not to add them earlier and to knead gently or they’ll turn to mush, certainly when soaked

Flatten, fold and shape (boule for freestyle loaf), place on silicone baking mat or in a greased baking tin

Cover and let rise for about 45 minutes in a warm (30 centigrade) room or until almost doubled

Apply egg wash or milk

Bake for about 40 minutes in the middle of a 190 centigrade oven, using conventional heat

Remove when top crust is dark brown and it sounds hollow when tapped, it should effortlessly drop out of the tin

Place on a wire rack and allow to cool


Together with the raisins, 100 grams of pearl  sugar can be added, it’s no traditional cramique anymore but some people like this, personally I feel it’s a bit over the top

Raisins can be soaked in water or in rum to which 2 grams of speculoos spices or powdered cinnamon have been added, then patted dry, lightly floured and incorporated

In the city of Liege, pearl sugar is added and the dough is placed in a round pie baking tin that has been lined with sweet pie dough.

Time For Your Belgium Adventure

So you have decided that this is the year for a Belgium Adventure. Back your bags lightly, as you will want to have room for the treasures you will find. Gather the family and get ready to see history like never before. Grab your passport and board the plane. Excitement will be everywhere, as you arrive in Belgium. Arrive early and you will be right on time for breakfast. You haven’t tasted bread, till you have had a Belgium breakfast!

Published on May 3, 2017 at: