Antwerpse Handjes have been a local culinary speciality since 1934. These chocolates or biscuits, with or without marzipan filling dipped in Elixir d’Anvers, are made in the shape of a hand and refer to the legend of Silvius Brabo and the giant Druoon Antigoon.
The confectionery shop Confiserie Roodthooft was founded in 1925 and makes its products in the heart of Antwerp. The best-known of these is the Mokatine, a hard coffee sweet that was developed in 1934. The distinctive packaging shape and the wrapper with an image of an Arab with a striped cloak are iconic features.
Fries are an integral part of Belgium’s gastronomic heritage. Belgian fries are often called the world’s finest. Traditionally, they are sold in a paper cone or a cardboard tray with a large dollop of sauce on top. Vendors offer a very wide range of sauces and meat products. Antwerp also has a ‘fries stand museum’ on the Groenplaats above the famous Max fries shop.
De Koninck brewery brews the famous Bolleke (5.2%), De Koninck Triple d’Anvers (8%) and Wild Jo. Since October 2012, the brewery has belonged to the group of breweries around Duvel Moortgat, and cheesemaster Van Tricht (whose store was singled out as the best cheese shop in Europe by the Wall Street Journal) has housed a cheese ripening centre in the brewery.
In the summer of 2015, De Koninck brewery opens a visitor centre. The brewing process, Belgian beer culture and beer tasting are central to this innovative beer experience centre.
Huisbrouwerij ’t Pakhuis brews Antwerps Blond, Antwerps Bruin and Nen Bangelijke.
Seef or Seefbier is the name of a historic local beer from Antwerp. The Antwerp Brouw Compagnie brought it back onto the market in 2012. It is a cloudy blonde beer with a spicy kick.
A digestive liqueur made of 32 plants and herbs, prepared according to a time-honoured tradition by the De Beukelaer distillery since 1863.
Crazy though it may sound, coffee is definitely a regional product, in the sense that roasting methods vary from region to region. The Antwerp coffee Amberes made by Koffie Verheyen from Deurne is typical of the local coffee preference. This coffee is made up of South American and African coffee types including Maragogype, Costa Rica Tarazu, Guatemala Antigua, Zimbabwe Chïhosa, Sulawesi Makassar, Ethiopia Yirgacheffe, Nicaragua Las Brisas, Santos Fancy Screen and 3% Robusta Flores.
GingerLove ginger tea originated in the vegetarian restaurant Lombardia. It has quickly become a huge success.
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Nothing is more fun than a market.You get a taste of the city and its local offerings. Antwerp has several weekly and monthly markets spread all over the city.They’re highly recommended for those who want to experience the real Antwerp.
“There are so many beers today that the knowledge of the barkeeper has become very important.” On the sunny terrace of beer café ’t Waagstuk on the Stadswaag we meet beer connoisseur Hans Bombeke. Please don’t call him a zythologist or beer sommelier; he finds those fancy titles inappropriate. “For that you have to complete the corresponding studies” he says while smoking his pipe.
My meeting with Ben starts with a tricky question. What’s my favourite beer? I decide to confess the truth: ‘I’m not really a beer connoisseur and would be glad to take your advice on the matter.’ I’ve reckoned without Ben’s expertise. ‘What flavours do you like?’ I am served an Armand from Limburg. Fruity, soft and not too ‘hoppy’. I feel like a cliché of a woman.
Belgian beers are world-famous, and Antwerp is an excellent place to improve your acquaintance with them. The De Koninck Antwerp City Brewery offers an ideal introduction to the world of beer. Het Pakhuis is another brewery where you can taste authentically brewed beer. In addition, there are plenty of typical ‘brown cafés’ which often have dozens and in some cases hundreds of Belgian beers on the menu. Examples include Bier Central, ’t Waagstuk, Paters Vaetje, de Kulminator and Gollem.