Going home for the holidays? Coming to Brussels for a Christmas break? Either way, you will want to bring presents for loved ones and friends.
We’ve got you covered: Here are five (Christmas) gift ideas to bring from Brussels.
1) Something Sweet
Because who doesn’t like Belgian Chocolate? As the bigger brands are available all over the world these days, we would advise to go for a lesser-known, local Belgian shop like Mary’s, Elisabeth or Bruyerre.
As I regularly meet people who – even if they have been to Brussels before or are living here – don’t know this, I feel it’s worth mentioning: At every Chocolatier, you can buy a box of pralines and pick them yourself. It’s fun choosing – and if you know that the recipient has a thing for, say, pralines filled with coffee creme or all thing dark, you can choose according to their liking.
An overview of the best chocolatiers in Brussels can be found here.
2) Glass with Class
As beer can be tricky to transport – escpecially if you are only flying with hand luggage -, here’s an idea: Why not bring one of the many, many different glasses that accompany Belgian Brew?
Our favourite glasses include Westmalle and, of course, the quirky Kwak, which is more a piece of art, really, than just a beer glass. The Hercule Stout mug, too, is rather special.
3) Belgian Cuisine
You could try bringing fries from Maison Antoine, Bompa or Chez le Grec as a present – but by the time you arrive, you probably will have eaten them all (and those that are left will be cold).
A nice alternative is a cookbook about Belgian Cuisine. If you go looking for them, you will probably notice that there are not that many out there – and of those that exist not too many look too promising. One that we have tried with great results over and over again is „What’s Cooking in Belgium“, which as many traditional Belgian dishes, sometimes with a modern twist, always delicious.
4) Something from the small Local Hero
Ok, so it is weird to have a small, peeing boy as one of the widely-recognized symbols of your city. It’s kind of fun, too.
We wouldn’t normally recommend spending too much time in the touristy zone of inner Brussels, let alone send you shopping there. But if you want to get someone (or maybe yourself?) a quirky gift from Brussels, this is the way to go: You will find T-Shirts depicting Manneken Pis, Postcards, etc. And you will also find bottle-openers (see above), candles and, specially quirky, almost life-sized chocolate Mannekens.
5) Something from the big Local Hero
Almost as quirky as little Manneken Pis, but for completely different reasons, is another Brussels hero: Rene Magritte.
His paintings are not only great to look at, they inspire some pretty cool gifts as well.
The gift shop in the Magritte Museum – which can be entered separately, without having to buy a ticket – will provide something for all age groups, budgets and suitcase sizes, starting with postcards that make for a great debate at home: Now, is it a pipe – or isn’t it?