Dining in Antwerp

Belgium's kinship to brewing figures high in the country's culture, and regional differences give way to local flavors. Antwerp has its own brewery, De Koninck (The King), and its light-amber beer is drunk in a special 8-ounce glass. Some prefer the beer in a smaller glass called a prinske (prince).

In the past, every household had a bottle of Elixir d'Anvers in its medicine cabinet, a homemade remedy respected for its healing properties. Touted as strong enough to cure a horse, it consists of 32 different kinds of herbs; saffron gives it a yellow color. Nowadays, it's simply a popular aperitif.

Worstenbrood (sausage in bread) is typically eaten the Monday following January 6. Tradition dictated that corporations and guilds hold annual meetings at the beginning of the year, after which people didn't return to work, leading to verloren maandag (Lost Monday). The butcher offered employees sausages and the baker, bread—hence, worstenbrood was born. Over time, it became a ritual among laborers.

Turning to the more exotic, paling in 't groen (eel in green sauce) is cooked in a special sauce with an assortment of herbs. Fricadellen met krieken (meat loaf smothered with sour cherries and a lot of sugar) is popular during holidays or feasts.

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