Let’s hear it for Belgium!

And let’s hear it for the new king! What better day for King Albert II to abdicate and his son Philippe to take over than the National Day, especially since July 21st commemorates the day King Leopold I took the constitutional oath as the first king of Belgium, in 1831, less than a year after Belgium became an independent state.

National Day in Arlon. Photo: Anje Kirsch © 2012  Anje Kirsch

National Day in Arlon. Photo: Anje Kirsch © 2012 Anje Kirsch

On the royal agenda today is a visit to the Brussels flea market. Now that might sound odd on a day like this, they have big things going on after all, but with this the royal family stays true to tradition: Every July 21st, this daily flea market at the Place du Jeu de Balle is declared “national flea market” and is part of the festivities in the capital. As are concerts, lots of activities for children, fireworks, a military parade, sports events, demonstrations and of  course – tastings. No Belgian National Day without its own beer – the Ommegang Charles Quint is the beer of the day, made by an independent brewery.

On this very special National Day, crowds gather at the Place du Luxembourg in Brussels to follow the ceremonies and events on a big screen. It may come as no surprise that Belgium also has several Feast Days for communities and regions.

Photo: Anje Kirsch. © 2013 Anje Kirsch

Photo: Anje Kirsch. © 2013 Anje Kirsch

Let’s get back to the beer – and make French toast the Belgian way!

  • 3 eggs
  • 4 slices of cheese (a Belgian fromage d’Abbaye)
  • 12,5 cl (1/2 bottle) of beer (Belgian bière d’abbaye or even Ommegang today)
  • 4 pieces of white bread
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • salt & pepper
  1. Mix eggs and beer, add salt and pepper.
  2. Soak the bread in the mix.
  3. Fry them in a hot pan with the butter.
  4. Place them under the grill in the oven with a thin slice of cheese.
  5. Serve with the rest of the beer (and then some!)
  6. Then toast to Belgium and their new king!

By Unni Holtedahl, July 21st 2013

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