Despite the obvious inference, it is today believed French fries originated not in France but in Belgium. A Flemish manuscript dating to 1781 contains the first reference to the fried potato. Today, frites pair with another quintessential ingredient of Belgium, mussels, to create the national dish: moules-frites, a comfort-food dish popular throughout other parts of Europe, particularly in France.
Mussels, once considered a food of the poor, were eaten in the winter months in Belgium, when no other seafood was available or abundant. As were potatoes. The dish peaked in popularity after World War I, when friteries popped up across the country, churning out the dish in large quantities affordably.
Moules-frites remains ubiquitous in modern-day Belgium, a social dish that brings people around a table to enjoy bowls of steaming mussels and perfectly fried frites. The dish is served in separate bowls so the French fries do not become saturated and soggy, the mussels typically displayed in the same pan and stock they are cooked in. The best mussels come from the Scheldt, a shallow river connecting Western Belgium to the Netherlands. Mussels should be shaken during preparation to ensure they cook evenly. The bintjes potato is preferred for frites due to its high starch content; the potatoes are typically double-fried with a hint of cayenne. While a variety of sauces may be available, mayonnaise traditionally accompanies the dish.
Moules-frites can be found anywhere in Belgium, but it doesn’t have to be the same each time you enjoy the dish. Several popular variations for the mussels exist. Perhaps the most popular, mariniéres prepares the mussels in white wine, shallots, parsley and butter. A simple preparation, au vin blanc mussels are cooked in white wine. Natures means the mussels are prepared with celery, leeks and butter. À la crème is similar to the mariniéres version, but with flour and cream for a thicker consistency. À l’ail, another popular method, marries the mussels with sliced or minced garlic.
More modern interpretations of moules-frites infuse the steaming liquids with different flavors, such as smoky chili or curry, or with another traditional Belgium staple, beer — moules à la bière. Also increasing in popularity is moules parquées, mussels served raw on a half-shell with a lemon-mustard sauce.
Once you’ve boarded Regent’s Seven Seas Grandeur, it is immediately apparent this recently launched cruise ship delivers what the name promises. Jewel box opulence dominates in most of the public areas, while quiet luxury teamed with clever function defines the cabins (save for the individually decorated top-tier suites). The ship, designed by internationally acclaimed Studio DADO and constructed by Ancona, Italy, ship builder Fincantieri, holds up to 746 guests and is serviced by a staff of 548 for optimal passenger-to-staff service.
The Saronic or Argo Saronic Islands of Greece call travelers to explore its seven small islands and islets brimming with history, natural sites and more. With most easily accessible by boat, the islands’ proximity to ports of Athens make the Saronic Islands an ideal destination for those preferring shorter boat rides. In fact, trips from Athens ports to the islands take only between 10 minutes and two hours, depending on the island you choose, making them perfect for day or weekend trips. From Piraeus port, you can access Hydra, Spetses, Aegina and Poros directly. Come explore these stunning islands with us and find the inspiration to plan your next trip to these islands. Hydra Hydra town curves around a slope overlooking the Argosaronic Gulf like an amphitheater and is considered one of the most romantic destinations in Greece. Most unique to the island is its lack of vehicles. People on the island get around on mules and donkeys as well as water taxis, making for a peaceful and laid-back day. Hydra lies a two-hour ferry ride from Piraeus port in Athens.
The St. Regis San Francisco recently debuted a Lunar New Year-themed The Art of Tea to celebrate the Year of the Dragon. Available for only a few more days, through Feb. 25, the afternoon menu boasts Asian-inspired sweet and savory items, a selection of tea and a complimentary welcome toast with Champgane Lallier R.018.
Reconnecting the World: GBTA Convention 2023 Spotlights the Vital Role of Business Travel and In-Person Connection
In an increasingly digital and interconnected world, the Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention remains an indispensable platform for business travel industry professionals seeking to make the most of the power of face-to-face connections. Taking place August 13–15 in Dallas, the 2023 GBTA Convention provides the unique opportunity for professionals and companies to join visionaries, thought leaders and industry experts for meaningful networking, cutting-edge insights and inspiring innovation.
After a stressful pre-holiday season and a busy work schedule, there was no better time for a relaxing spa experience than during my recent trip to Pasadena with the FXExpress Publications, Inc. team. We headed to The Langham Huntington, Pasadena for the 20th anniversary of the GT Tested Reader Survey awards, which meant a jam-packed trip, but I managed to carve a little time out of our busy schedule to visit Chuan Spa at the hotel.
Whether it's the people, the craic (fun) or the coasts, travelers always find something to love about the island of Ireland. What fills your heart?
Keep New Year’s resolutions going with a stay at The Westin Tempe. The hotel recently launched a wellness stay offer in partnership with Lululemon. The limited-time Lululemon In-Room Fitness Experience includes accommodations in a guestroom equipped with a Lululemon-branded yoga mat and yoga block.