We first came to Belgium twenty-five years ago, when Phil was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to teach at the University of Liege. That's on the French (Walloon) side of the country. We lived in Liege for a year, in an apartment above a bakery, which is sort of like living upstairs from heaven (if heaven made its own chocolates).
The brothels are off to the right
Our dear friends Pierre and Christianne from Liege invited to come back this weekend. Pierre was our host on that long-ago Fulbright. It was our first visit to Liege in twelve years, and things have changed at least a little. There's a bizarrely modern new train station -- but it's still surrounded by the dozens of brothels that were there a quarter-century ago.
Pierre and Christianne feted us with a cheese dinner. Cheese dinners don't happen in Dutchess County -- or in the rest of the U.S., from what I can tell. (I googled "cheese dinner," and only ads for Kraft Mac & Cheese came up.) Basically, it's just what it sounds like: an entire dinner of cheese. We had 8 fabulous cheeses, ordered from a special fromagerie, which progressed from mild (a Belgian goat cheese) to intense (a very strong Roquefort). Phil was entranced by the lavender and honey chevres, while I loved the Brillat-Savarin.
The damage done
There were, of course, accompanying champagnes and wines, breads, dates, and grapes. It ended with an astonishing fizzy dessert featuring candied lemon peel, sorbet and prosecco, which we will attempt to duplicate when we return. Friends Michel and Elisabeth were also guests (he teaches at the university and she works there), and we ate cheese and talked till one in the morning.