Antwerp - Truffles, how I love thee

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August 27th 2007
Published: February 10th 2008
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Plates and plates and plates...Plates and plates and plates...Plates and plates and plates...

Truffles everywhere, above me, below me, around me! Truffles on my left, truffles on my right, truffles in my mouth, truffles ... oh oh, no more truffles.
Day 2 of the conference in Antwerp. The morning started with a delightfully filling breakfast buffet - today they had pancakes that were to die for - light, and laced with maple-syrup-like flavouring but without the stickiness, all topped off with a pile of cream!

The day then proceeded with an 'exciting' morning at the conference - lots of work, not much play. For lunch, a few colleagues decided to head out to the waterfront to eat at a well known seafood establishment. Between the various colleagues, we managed to get a smattering of lobster, crab, fish and mussels - poor corporate expense cards were sighing from the bill. Now I'm not much of a seafood person, but I have to say that this seafood was actually rather tasty. I even found the mussels tasty enough that they didn't need to be coated in copious amounts of cheesy sauce to be palatable.

Next, we headed off for a city walk to enjoy the old architecture. As per seafood, I'm not one for architecture, but unlike the seafood, I didn't think much of the architecture. European cities to me all look much the same - oldish buildings with white trimmed
Non-hairy musslesNon-hairy musslesNon-hairy mussles

The first mussles I've ever eaten that didn't require cheesy sauce, chilli or MSG to actually be flavoursome
windows, the occasional spire, and maybe some gabled roofs. More interestingly though was the contents of the buildings - chocolate shops. Belgian chocolate - I'd forgotten all about that most important tourist treat!! And here they were - truffles by the bucket full.

We stumbled upon a particularly nice chocolate shop - a very 'personal' family business tucked down some small nook. My well rehearsed oohs and aahs garnered offers of free samples from the owners - and soon I was stuffing down a few truffles on the house. Oohs and aahs did not have to faked for these things - they just were the most delightful, melt in your mouth, ooh-i-want-to-marry-you-and-take-you-home-to-my-mother kind of treats that I could just write paragraphs and paragraphs about. I'm sure many a poet has written ode-to-thou-belgian-truffle or some derivative, and the effort would have been well justified. Suffice to say, we all bought a few boxes, making excuses that we were 'taking them home for friends' - when we all really new in our hearts that those chocolates weren't going to last the night.

We continued our exploration and stumbled on a few other slightly less interesting sights. The girls had a

Included for no particular reason except that it was a good photo imho
forced stop at the lace shop - apparently belgian lace is famous or so the girls were told my the cunning shopkeeper who interspersed her history of belgian lace with random 'business is so poor' interjections. I also grabbed a belgian waffle, which was surprisingly disappointing. I had seen a few street vendors selling some great looking ones, but at the time only managed to find a crusty, solid, excuse-for-an-edible-piece-of-cardboard pseudo-waffle which left me feeling decidedly ripped off.

That night I caught up with a few friends from other parts of the world, before heading off to bed for an early night.

Additional photos below
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Creamy fish dishCreamy fish dish
Creamy fish dish

Ignore the fact that your arteries and heart will just keel over and die from the richness of this. Its worth risking death.
Not just trufflesNot just truffles
Not just truffles

The regular chocolates were also great. Bought a few boxes of them home for 'friends' as well.

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