If the Americans have burger and fries and the British fish and chips, the Belgians also offer one of the best comfort pairings in the world – a potful of steamed, juicy, sweet mussels with crispy-fried potatoes occasionally dipped with freshly made mayonnaise.
Moules-frites is popular all over Europe, most especially in France, but there’s a few good reasons to believe that this dish originated from Belgium. For one, the way the frites were prepared and cooked by local cooks during winter is first cited in a Flemish manuscript dated 1781. The Belgian farmers were also the first to switch from growing wheat to cultivating potatoes. Mussels are cheap and plentiful, a Belgian staple that were originally considered as commoner’s food and they’ve been paired with fried potatoes ever since.
Reims is a city in the Champagne-Ardenne region, north of France that is known for its cathedral as the historical coronation site for generations of French kings. Yet most of all, Reims, together with Eperney and Ay, is the main area of champagne production. Particularly this city is home to many largest champagne houses – les grandes marques as they call it, are simply the likes of Moët & Chandon. Last year, my husband and I traveled to Reims for a tour around champagne cellars, French gastronomy, and a few bottles of the most celebratory wine.
My husband surprised me with a fancy dinner at Auberge de l’Union in Arzier on my birthday. Well, we had been trying to come up with a surefire excuse to visit this restaurant for a long time, even though in fact, it is not so far from our place. So far for this year, we’ve already celebrated two special occasions somewhere else – his birthday at 2-star Michelin Nuance and our Valentine’s day at the top of Jungfrau. At the same time, whenever we go hiking around and pass by it, we’d sometimes start talking about this restaurant, which would leave me relentlessly curious about. Then come my birthday, and me, the celebrant got lazy to organize. It’s such the best timing for hubby to take me to this quaint, classy resto I had sought out for quite some time.
It was beautiful and sunny the following day we arrived, fitting for what we planned to do first in the city of Cebu. Since I’ve been here several times, as expected, I prepared an itinerary for the first-timer – my hubby of course! He had also been looking forward to this tour, as this was going to be the start for him to truly explore what my home country has in store, beyond the beach life that he’d ever been acquainted with.
This is the second part of CEBU ONCE MORE series. If you missed the first part, read it here – BE in Mactan.
Mactan Shrine Park is a must for first-time visitors in Mactan island. Here, you will see the shrines erected in honor of the two most significant figures in the Philippines history – Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese explorer who led the Spanish-commissioned expedition for the Spice Islands that resulted in the first circumnavigation of the world and the commence of discovery of the Philippines; and Lapu-Lapu, the chieftain of Mactan who bravely defended his sovereignty, through which it led to a battle that eventually killed Magellan.