23 December, 2007

Rochefort, Belgium At Christmas Time

Today Paula and I decided to spend the afternoon in Rochefort, Belgium for their Christmas Festival or as they call it here, Marche de Noel. Last week on our way back from Antwerp, we found that Rochefort was just a little more than 1 hour from our flat so we figured today would be a great day to spend the late afternoon at their Marche de Noel eating some local food for dinner and roaming the town to get the Christmas cheer.

Conveniently Rochefort is also the home to one of only 6 Trappist monestaries in Belgium that brew beer, Brasserie de Rochefort which is also the Abbaye de Notre Dame de Saint Rémy. They make a 6, an 8 and a 10. The 10 is one of the top rated beers in the world and a favorite of mine. Since we were heading to Rochefort for the afternoon, we also decided to try to find the Abbaye so that we could take a few pictures and be near brewing greatness. Although our GPS directed us right to where the directions on Beer Advocate told us to go, it actually led us to a dead end road around a few houses. Either the website was uninformed or the Abbaye moved. We headed back in the heart of town for the Marche de Noel and on the way I think we found the road for the Abbaye but we decided to pass and head to the fest for some dinner.

The downtown area of Rochefort is very charming with a good amount of restaurants, bars and little shops and plenty of shoppers to keep them busy. Although it was a Sunday evening, everything was open and hopping. After parking we made our way to the block or so that hand a handful of the little wooden huts we are used to seeing in this part of Europe. We quickly walked through all of the gift vendors and made our way to the stand that had little wursts. We each got a blanc wurst and a little cup of hot white wine that was pretty good. The wurst was great and we chased it all down with a nice sweet Belgian waffle.

We were a little disappointed that this fest in downtown Rochefort didn't sell any bottles of Rochefort beer so we found a cute little hotel with a restaurant and bar a block away that had all 3 Rochefort beers and some wine. I got a Rochefort 8 in the proper glassware and I could not be happier. Ok, I was a little happier when we got a little plate of cheese and salami. Yum.

After my beer and Paula's wine we headed to our car. On the way down we passed a little butcher shop that had a bunch of different Rochefort beers and gift sets in their window. I was blown away when I say a 1.5litre magnum of Rochefort 8 for only €13! The reason this was such a big suprise to me is that just a week earlier in Essen, Belgium I paid €30 for the same bottle. I guess not everything I buy here is a deal and it just teaches me a lesson to buy closer to the source.

All in all it was a very nice evening in Rochefort. A cute town that has alot of charm and it worth another visit in the time to come. Next time, we will definitely find the Abbaye.

Click here to learn more about Rochefort beers

Click here to see a few of our pictures from Rochefort at Christmas


Suzanne said...

Hey guys! Merry Christmas! We miss you so much! I'm glad to see you're adapting so well.
P.S. I just had Corsendock Christmas last week and it was Yumm-O! Did you add that to your 12 beers of Christmas or is it too common haha?

Greg G. said...

Hey Suzanne, it is great to hear from you. Merry Christmas! We miss you guys and will definitely miss hanging out with you guys today. I am sure that Ed and Keith and you will have some yummy beer treats tonight.

We didn't have Corsendonk on our list of Christmas beers but that would have been a good one to list. I think Paula had a bottle of it a few weeks back so maybe she should have had her own list!

Cheers and I hope Santa was good to you guys today.

Bryan said...

These are just the kind of stories that you're using to try to lure your friends to come over and visit, now admit it!!

Nice to hear you two enjoying the holidays European-style and with good beer.

Merry Christmas!