Lost & Found: Brugge
22-24 December 2007

Brugge's icy canals, cute buildings and endless opportunities for eating make it the perfect place for a pre-Christmas weekend.

Eat:

Chocolate chocolate chocolate (with the odd waffle thrown in) - note the appropriate background colour of this Lost & Found. This is only a small selection....

Stefs Chocolatier - The very first chocolate shop we visited before we realised there were hundreds in the town. Nice but not the best chocolates I've had.

Depla Chocolatier - Chocolate shops seem to range in decor from sleek minimalist to ornate Victoriana. This shop is of the former style and makes lovely truffles.

Pralinette - It markets itself as the only handmade truffles in Brugge. I'm not sure about that but they did taste very good, particularly the hazelnut.

Frites at the market - There are two green vans in the main square selling Belgium's famous fries, and they really are good (especially in the cold). Do as the Belgians do and have them with mayonnaise.

 Juliette's Cookies Corner - One of the few food shops not selling chocolate, and the smell of baking cookies is too much to resist. I recommend dentelles, which are a lacy brandy-snap like biscuit from Brugge.

Deldyke - We bought our local cheese and pain d'epice from this emporium of hor d'oeuvres, pates, breads, cakes and wine.

t' Gulden Vlies - I wasn't sure whether to recommend this traditional Flemish restaurant - it seemed to be full of tourists and my food was disappointing after all the rave reviews I'd read. However, I'm told that the wild boar was very good.

Taverne Curiosa - An underground cave serving traditional Flemish food. Tim tried a Kwak beer complete with its own special glass and stand, our mussels were large and juicy, and the enormous ostrich steak I'm told was excellent.

Sweet Bruges - Modern tea room serving fluffy waffles (not the dense Belgium-style waffles) with a huge selection of accompaniments. Personally I preferred eating a piping hot waffle and drinking gluhwein from the outdoor markets.

Bierbrasserie Cambrinus - a jolly and bustling centuries-old tavern serving 400 beers and great food. My bouillabaisse was delicious.

Shop:

Callebert Brugge - With the town being one massive tourist attraction, there are lots of shops selling crafty gifty items. This one was basically a Brugge version of Design House Stockholm selling cool gadgets.

Kathe Wohlfahrt - An Aladdin's cave full of beautifully made wooden decorations and my all-time favourite Christmas decoration shop. This time I added a jumping Santa, girl on the moon and a sack of toys to my collection.

2Be - My Brugge dream come true: a massive food shop full of Belgium specialities. I stocked up my pantry with 2.5kg of 70% Callebaut dark chocolate and 1kg of cocoa powder. At the back of store is a small bar with an outdoor area facing onto the picturesque canal.

Oil & Vinegar - A shop selling...oil and vinegar. Great for gifts, although most of it was imported from Italy, Greece, Spain etc. I got bread-dipping spices and silver tapas spoons.

 To Do:

Everyone we saw seemed to be armed with a map, doing some sort of walking tour. With the town being so small, this is really the best way to enjoy the scenery. I recommend the grand Gothic hall of the Town Hall (particularly the interesting murals), climbing the 366 steps of the Belfry for a panoramtic view of the town and seeing the swans near Minnewater.

Stay at:

There are hundreds of places to stay in Brugge, but I think the cosiest is in a small bed and breakfast. 17th century Hotel Anselmus is cute, clean, friendly and in a fantastic central location.

Stefs Chocolatier: Breidelstraat 7

T: +32 50 33 25 45

Depla Chocolatier: Mariastraat 20

Pralinette: Wollestraat 31b

Juliette's Cookie Corner: Wollestraat 26

T: +32 50 34 84 40

Deldycke: Wollestraat 23

T: +32 50 33 43 35

t' Gulden Vlies: Mallebergplaats 17

T: +32 50 33 47 09

Taverne Curiosa: Vlamingstraat 22

T: +32 50 34 23 34

Sweet Bruges: Wollestraat 31

T: +32 50 34 79 99

Bierbrasseire Cambrinus: Philipstockstraat 19

Callebert Brugge: Wollestraat 25

T: +32 50 33 50 61

Kathe Wohlfahrt: Wollestraat 29

T: +32 50 33 06 04

2Be: Wollestraat 53

Oil & Vinegar: Geldmuntstraat 11

T: +32 50 34 56 50

Hotel Anselmus: Ridderstraat 15

T: +32 50 34  13 74