A Girl’s Weekend in Antwerp

A Girl’s Weekend in Antwerp
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Was planning to go to Paris for the sales, but was diverted to Antwerp instead.  Home of Rubens, Dries Van Notes and frites – ok by me!  Invited a few other shoppers along and a girl’s weekend was born. 

Antwerp

Getting to Antwerp

Hopped an empty Eurostar to Brussels and then a connecting train to Antwerp – total of 3 hours to a different world and we found there were so many things to do in Antwerp.

Shopping in Antwerp

There were a load of great finds and some memorable eats.  The sleeps were not so great – tried two as one friend had not checked res confirmation and we were booted out after a night. 

Must admit that frites were not up to my high expectations…but that did not stop me from having some at every meal bar breakfast.

I have tried to list these by areas so you can plan more easily on your next trip:

The Shopping district near the Cathedral

DRIES VAN NOTEN
Het Modepaleis, Nationalestraat 16, +32 3 470 25 10
Gorgeous store filled with DVN wonders

LOUIS
Lombardenstraat 2, +32 3 232 98 72
A treasure trove of the most wonderful clothes – fabulous sales assistants.  Bought a Martin Margiela sweater here 50% off!

COCCODRILLO
Schuttershofstraat 9, T / +32 (0)3 233 20 93
Upstairs from the main shop – which has shoes galore – is the outlet store.  All over 50% off! I still am kicking myself for not buying a pair of Sergio Rossi royal blue suede boots.

VERSO
Langegasthuisstraat 11
Gorgeous department store with a great bar attached – had a fire going and comfy seats – wanted to sit down and enjoy but it closes at 18:00

ANNEXE 39
Wolstraat 31, +32 475 70 25 79
Vintage clothes, hats and persian lamb muffs – one of which I brought home with me. (It’s in the freezer right now debugging.)

AVe (not a typo – that’s what it is called)
Lombardenstaat 18, +32 3 227 44 01
Happened upon this tiny store overflowing with fabulous clothes and shoes.  The girls did very well here.

ACCESS
Nationalestraat 75, +32 3 231 70 75
A quirky store filled with fun stuff – like sugar cut to fit on the edge of a teacup or fabulous colored candles.

GRAANMARKT 13 (BEAUTIFUL CHAOS)
Graanmarkt 13, +32 3 337 79 92
A beautiful concept store with the likes of Marni and Sonia Rykiel, as well as Nymphenburg China that is too beautiful for words.

BURIE
Korte Gasthuisstraat 3, +32 3 232 36 88
Old fashioned chocolate shop that sells Antwerp Diamonds and Hands filled with lusciousness.

GÜNTER WATTÉ
Steenhouwerstraat 30, +32 3 293 58 94
A newer cooler hipper chocolate shop – couldn’t resist buying their hot chocolate with honey. Yum.

The Antique District

SALIMA THAKKER
Oever 28, +32 3 237 37 49
Gorgeous jewelry – not the typical diamond dealer stuff.  Her MODULAR line is to die for.

N˚5 AR5ENAAL ANTIQUES
Arsenaalstraat 5, +32 477 25 73 51
Great antique dealer on a side street.  Love that the saint was resting on the chaise-lounge.

VIAR
Kloosterstraat 65, +32 3 292 3780
Another great furniture and vintage clothing shop on the street.  Wanted to take these lamps made of drink umbrellas home with me but they wouldn’t fit inside my suitcase!

Eating in Antwerp

All of these are fabulous examples of Belgian cuisine! If you want to make a Belgian favorite, see below for a simple recipe!

DE GROOTE WITTE AREND
Reynderstraat 18, +32 3 233 50 33
Ate what looked like a huge pile of mashed potatoes which they assure me is a national dish of the Belgium.  No matter what, it tasted great especially washed down with a Belgian raspberry beer.  Great local place.

DE VAGANT
25 Reyndersstraat, +32 3233 1538
Across the street from DE GROOTE WITTE AREND is this bar which serves 200 types of Jenever (Belgian Gin) – among us we tried prune, mint (yuck), sour lemon, currant, gingerbread, cinnamon, elderflower, passion fruit, blood orange, banana creme, and many more.  Next door, they sell bottles that you can take home with you.  Prune was my favorite but the Cypriot thinks it tastes like cough medicine.  I do not agree (hic).

MARITIME
Suikerrui 4, +32 3 233 07 58
If you want moules (and you do, considering this is Belgium), you go to Maritime – that’s the word on the street.  This lovely restaurant serves you a bucket of mussels – about a kilo.  The pic is of the chef’s type – 18 herbs and spices- we could only make out tarragon and curry but it was delish.  They have about seven different kinds including white wine, Provencal and garlic and cream.  The other food looked fabulous and our dessert was homemade coffee ice cream with hot fudge. No wonder I gained weight this trip!

CHEZ FRED (Sunday afternoon!)
Kloosterstraat 83, +32 3 257 14 17
While Antique shopping, make sure you stop here if you get hungry!  Their cheese croquettes (another Belgian specialty) should have a warning attached and their stew looked amazing.

Try this easy famous Belgian recipe at home!!

Belgian Vol au Vents
Yield: 4

Belgian Vol au Vent

A vol-au-vent is the French name for a baked puff pastry batter. The name means "windblown" and describes the lightness of the pastry. A round opening is cut in the top and the pastry cut out for the opening is replaced as a lid after the case is filled. In Flanders, the pastry is filled with a chicken, meatball and mushroom sauce.

Ingredients

  • 4 baked puff pastry batters
  • 1 boiled soup chicken
  • 250 g/8,8 oz minced meat
  • 150 g/5,3 oz grated cheese
  • 250 g/8,8 oz mushrooms
  • 100 g/3,5 oz butter or margarine
  • 100 g/3,5 oz flower
  • 1 l/1 quart chicken stock
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1.5 dl/0,15 quarts cream
  • juice of 1.5 lemon

Instructions

  1. Make small meatballs from the minced meat and boil them in the stock until cooked
  2. Rub the mushrooms clean and fry them in a little butter or margarine
  3. Season the mushrooms with salt and pepper
  4. Remove the bones, grease and skin from the boiled chicken
  5. Cut the chicken in small pieces
  6. Make a white sauce with the butter or margarine, flower, cream and stock and add the egg yolks and lemon juice
  7. Mix in the mushrooms, chicken pieces, meatballs and grated cheese
  8. Heat the baked puff pastry batters in the oven
  9. Remove them from the oven and fill them with the hot sauce
  10. Serve with fries or rice.


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