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Last night I was invited to a chocolate event hosted by Leonidas in Vancouver, who were celebrating 100 years of the Belgium chocolate brand. I first visited Leonidas back in 2009, when I was studying for a semester abroad in Maastricht in the Netherlands. Maastricht is located right at the southern tip of the Netherlands, close to the German and Belgium borders, and is heavily influenced by its neighbours. A train ride to Brussels, was faster than going to Amsterdam. It was so close (and affordable!), I went multiple times. Within 2 hours, I was in the land of chocolate, waffles and Tin Tin.
And last night I was reacquainted with it all. As I was standing in that shop, learning about the chocolates and the store’s history, I was taken back to the months that I spent in Maastricht and of all the adventures and good times I had in that city.
The first time I tried Leonidas chocolate was in Brussels. Overwhelmed by all the choices, my friends and I elected to try different ones and share them. The chocolate was so rich and so different from chocolate back home.
I was most excited about trying the waffles that they were sampling last night. They were the Liège variety of waffles, which are made with a pearl sugar mixed right into the dough. The result is a slightly denser, slightly sweeter and slightly doughier waffle than the ones you normally eat for breakfast. This waffle, you don’t need to add any kind of topping.
I remember tasting my first Liège waffle in a small city in Belgium called Tongeren. We were wandering around the streets when we came upon a stall making them fresh. Of course I had to try them and with my first bite I was in love with these simple treats.
Lucky for me, Liège, where these waffles are from, was only 30 minutes away from Maastricht by train, making them popular there too. I could feed my addiction with 1 euro waffles any time I wanted. If it weren’t for my waistline, I would have ate them everyday – they were that good! Ever since, I’ve been on the hunt for these delights. None that I have tasted in Vancouver have come close unfortunately, so the hunt continues. Perhaps its a reason to go back to that region? Regardless, it was a nice way of revisiting some travel and food memories of mine.
Have you tried to find foods that you’ve tasted abroad at home? Were you successful?