To Market to Market to…
My favorite part of living in Brussels are the markets. In a centuries old tradition, markets provide residents fresh food of all kinds. In looking at apartments, we found many without freezers. The realtor told us that most people don’t store food…they buy it fresh. So no three-year old frozen meat patties or freezer-burned chicken for Brussels inhabitants. They eat fresh. So when in Rome, or Brussels….
We live in Saint Gilles, one of the closest residential districts to the city center. Every morning except Monday, the Parvis (a pedestrian zone in front of a quaint church) comes alive with vendors. In addition to fruits and vegetables at great prices, you’ll find: olives, cheeses, waffles, fish, meats, breads, flowers and even The King of Chicken, Le Roi de Poulet.
Even Sadie, our golden retriever has gone organic. With canned pumpkin impossible to find or $5 per can when it’s on the shelf, to provide her nightly dose to aid her digestion, I must buy fresh pumpkin and roast it. What we don’t do for our pets?
But my absolute favorite are the afternoon markets, Mondays at Saint Gilles Town Hall (L’Hotel de Ville) and Wednesdays in Chatelain. Not only can you buy all the fresh food of morning markets, here you can sip wine by the glass and sample a variety of cuisines to eat (sur place) or takeaway (emporter). Mussels, croquettes, quiche, roasted chicken, jambalaya, and pad thai are some of the offerings. There’s certain to be a wine pairing for your selection.
Petula Clark may have sang—“When you’re alone and life is making you lonely you can always go, Downtown!” For me, I head to the afternoon market and make my way to the mobile wine van. It’s the civilized thing to do.