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Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Real World: Gent

We're both working! Phil's preparing his first class for next Wednesday (when the workmen let up enough to allow thought) and I'm rewriting/editing. The apartment has become very comfortable. We've acquired the world's oldest and largest television and matching DVD player at the local Kringwinkel. Kringwinkel. My new favorite word. It means "secondhand store," but it sounds like so much more.

We've had our first chocolates -- Neuhaus, which 20 years ago were considered the country's best, and may still be. I'm not sure how I feel about the trendy chocolates made with strange herbs and spices; I'm a traditionalist. A purist. The Neuhauses are utterly delicious: sweet, unctuous, so rich that one is very nearly enough.

We also had our first train-station waffle-stand waffle. From the Gent train station, so not as tasty as one from the Liege station, but still -- eaten warm while walking a mile home in 15-degree weather, pretty heavenly. For those who don't know, what we in the US call a Belgian waffle is a Brussels waffle, like the one shown here.

But what I think of as a Belgian waffle is a Liege waffle, or gaufre de Liege. It's not as pretty, but it's coated with a layer of sugar that gets carmelized as the waffle bakes in the iron. Sold from a stand, it's handed over in a paper wrapper and eaten, steaming, as quickly as you can scarf it down. Indescribably yum.

And yes, I'm aware you can buy both Neuhaus chocolates and Liege waffles in Manhattan. We've done it, in moments of desperation. But you will pay through the nose for both -- and they won't be quite as good.

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