Another sweet discovery of the I Love Belgium team: l'Arrière Cuisine (the 'back kitchen'). Aurélie and Jean-Benoît, born epicurians, are your hosts in this cosy cake & quiche house.
They are both mad about pâtisserie and artisan sweets and are constantly doing research in Belgium and beyond. Jean-Benoît has a huge sweet tooth and loves to create windows with chocolate or marzipan figurines or home made biscuits (speculoos, salt cookies with vanilla or cardamom, chocolat cookies with fleur de sel, cookies with sesame green tea,...). He's also very eager to try out new recipes, he even has a new cake each week! The I Love Belgium team loved his rhubarb crumble but there's more: brown sugar pie, baba au rhum, scones, flambéed apple pie, chestnut pie,... One of their other specialties is gluten free pastry and biscuits (at least one kind every week). Of course served with a great pot of tea, they have so many varieties of fresh teas, it's hard to choose!
But don't hesitate to go there if you're more a salty person, they serve a mean brunch and at lunch time, you can devour a piece of quiche (goat cheese with rosemary, chicken with forest mushrooms, salmon with endives,...).
A special shout out goes to an artisan chocolat exclusively sold at l'Arrière Cuisine: la Gayette (meaning "small piece of coal" in French). The inside of this sweet originally from Charleroi, an old mining town in the South of Belgium, is made of butter, sugar and chocolate and is coated with sugar with a coffee taste. The Gayettes refer to the puny pieces of coal that were given to the poor miners (the large pieces were of course for the rich people). Now it's a delicious chocolate, looking like a piece of charcoal. It looks a little odd in the beginning, but that doubt will melt away when you take the first bite.
When you're in the neighbourhood, do not only look at their mouth-watering windows, go inside and let yourself go. It's okay for this once...
rue des Grands Carmes 11