Belgium stop in the tour around the world of breakfast.
Not long ago, Breakfast in Belgium was only a continental affair, most simple: coffee, toast, jam and orange juice. Nutritional advice recommends having a more substantial first meal to avoid the 11 o’clock sugar low. Belgians are happy to comply.
Some variation of the modern continental breakfast is the most popular option. Tartines are the Belgium version of sliced bread or toast. They are open sandwiches, usually spread with, butter and jam, soft cheese or pate. Their own version of French toast is also popular at breakfast time.
On the menu
Try a food mixture unique to Belgium: buttered bread with jam and… sliced cheese. The closest thing known to us is the fondness Spaniards have for quince jelly and tender, fresh cheese, like Burgos, on bread, but they don’t butter it.
A bowl of your favorite cereals can acquire Belgian flair by adding some fruit yogurt instead of milk. Pour the yogurt mix on top of 1/2 cup of your favorite sweet cereals. Sprinkle some cinnamon on top. You are allowed 2-3 tsp sugar if the cereals are unsweetened.
Coffee to drink, of course.
As baked goods for a special day, try this yogurt cake, served with apricot sauce. If you don't feel adventurous enough to try the cheese with jam, go for the spiced French toast.
Breakfast to go
The pressures of modern times also affect breakfast customs in Belgium. Sitting down with the family for a relaxed first meal of the day is not always possible.
On the menu
Belgians on the go would grab a coffee with milk and some delicious cakes or pastries. Croissants and pain au chocolate are high in the list.
Coffee is probably the most popular drink at breakfast, but for young children who would go for a chocolate or plain milk. Orange juice can round any breakfast.
Recipes for a Belgium breakfast
This is Belgium quick cooking but really flavorful. Being neighbors with France, something had to stick. Belgium cuisine is very similar to the French one, with more generous serving sizes.
Fruity yogurt (yaourt aux fruits)
1/2 an apple
1/2 cup (125 ml, about 100 g) plain yogurt
2 drops vanilla essence, optional
Mix the vanilla essence with the yogurt, if using. Wash, core and dice the apple, slice the banana, and mix it with the yogurt; ready to pour.
Spiced French toast (croûtes dorées)
1/2 cup (125 ml) milk, spiced
4 slices slightly stale bread, best brioche loaf
2 Tbs (50 g) butter
1 Tbs confectioner’s sugar or 1 Tbs vanilla flavored sugar
Topping of your choice
- Beat the eggs and add the milk, flavor with the spice of your choice, and soak the bread in the mixture.
- Heat the butter in a frying pan and cook the bread slices until golden brown.
- Sprinkle with sugar; serve right away.
Flavor the milk with one of the following spices: cinnamon, grated nutmeg, ground ginger, allspice.
Top the toast with grated chocolate, any berries, redcurrant, blackcurrant, fresh mint leaves, or candied citrus peel are some suggestions.
Quick yogurt cake, apricot sauce (gâteaux minute au yaourt, coulis d'abricot)
1 yogurt (about 1/2 cup size, 150 g) keep the pot and use it to measure the other ingredients
2 yogurt pots of sugar
3 yogurt pots of flour
3/4 pot of vegetable oil, sunflower oil is very good for baking
1/2 sachet baking powder
1 Tbs candied dried fruits of your choice: cherries, cranberries, blueberries, raisins, etc.
1 Tbs (25 g) confectioner’s sugar
1 can apricots in syrup
1 Tbs (25 g) butter
1 pinch salt
- Preheat the oven to 240°C (450°F). Grease 6 large individual muffin cups or individual cake pans. Chop the candied fruit and reserve.
- To prepare the apricot sauce, puree the apricots in a blender with the confectioner’s sugar and 3/4 cup (200 ml) of their juice; refrigerate until needed.
- Separate the eggs and set the whites aside. Beat the yolks lightly, and blend in the yogurt and sugar.
- Add flour and baking powder a little at a time, mixing well; add the chopped fruits and mix, slowly, pour the oil while mixing.
- Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites. Whisk the egg whites until they have the consistency of snow peaks. Add the whisked whites to the cake dough and blend carefully.
- Distribute the cake dough between the muffin cups, place them on a baking sheet and cook in the center of the oven for 15-20 minutes. Lower the oven temperature close to the end of cooking time if necessary – if the cakes are over-browning.
- Discard the cups – remove from the cake pan - and serve each cake on a plate with the apricot sauce on the side, garnish with some candied fruit and fresh mint leaves.
Breakfast in Belgium is balanced.
The continental breakfast is the most popular option in continental Europe.
The new continental breakfast
Hot drink – coffee, tea, hot chocolate, milk.
Bread or toast – with butter and jam, jelly, marmalade or honey.
Something fruity – orange juice or any other fruit juice, dried fruits, compote, for the vitamins and antioxidants.
Baked goods – croissant, brioches, pain au chocolat, buns... optional and more common on special days.
Milk and cereals – muesli type are the most common, optional.
Yogurt - for the calcium, especially for those not having milk or dairy in any other form