Amanda Cherrin

Correspondent

  • Brussels, Belgium, Europe

Amanda Cherrin is a correspondent who lives in Brussels and covers the Belgium city for Forbes Travel Guide. She is a freelance writer and the editor of Brussels Weekly, a lifestyle publication for the American community in Belgium. Originally from Berkeley, Calif., Cherrin enjoys the perks of expat life and finds time to write about her favorite travel, food, health and lifestyle topics between bites of chocolate, sips of beer and weekend trips to her favorite European destinations. Her work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Glamour, and Oakland Magazine, among other publications.

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  • On September 18, 2012
    Amanda Cherrin answered the question: Amanda Cherrin

    What are the best Belgian beers and where can I sample them?

    The beer in Brussels is absolutely fantastic. While Stella Artois is well known, it’s a large international brand that you can find at home. While in Brussels, Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest you seek out a local Chimay, Westmalle, Maredsous, St. Bernardus, Duvel, Delirium…there are so many amazing brands to choose from. And, the beauty of drinking Belgian beer in Belgium is that is actually affordable. Remember that $10 Chimay you ordered in the U.S.? It’ll set you back about €3 (US$4) here. If you’re an amateur beer drinker, head to Moeder Lambic, one of the city’s best beer bars, where the knowledgeable servers will talk you through the nearly 50 beers they have on draft. Or try Delirium, a local institution that is in the Guinness Book of World Records thanks to the 2004 varieties of beer that it carries. You can sample a few and enjoy the dive bar ambiance. Just remember, Belgian beers pack a punch — drink more than two and you may be seeing double.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Amanda Cherrin answered the question: Amanda Cherrin

    What is the best thing to bring home from Brussels?

    One word: Chocolate. Of all of Belgium’s delicacies — waffles, frites, beer, mussels, etc. — Forbes Travel Guide editors think it’s certainly the most portable and perhaps the most delicious. Belgium is the home of wonderful Brussels-based chocolate houses, including Neuhaus, Leonidas, Pierre Marcolini, Wittamer and Zaabär, to name a few, all with stores throughout Brussels. If you’re pressed for time, you can pick up a box of chocolate from the many kiosks at Brussels airport, but for the best selection (and free samples), make time to browse the shops in the Sablon district. Surrounded by truffles, nougat, ganache, marzipan, mousse and more, you’ll feel, well, just like a kid in a candy store.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Amanda Cherrin answered the question: Amanda Cherrin

    What are the five best Brussels food experiences?

    Belgium is home to some fantastic food and unique eating experiences. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s editors’ five favorite food experiences in Brussels:
     
    1. Mussels. If you only have time to sample one Bruxellois dish, make it mussels. The tender mollusks are revered here like nowhere else. Volle Gras and Chez Leon are well-known spots for mussels, but if you go to the Rue del Bouchers, you’ll find it lined with restaurants that serve mussels with a variety of seasonings. Forbes Travel Guide editors like them simply prepared with white wine, onions and herbs. Your tender mussels will arrive in a big pot that’s enough to feed two, along with fries.
     
    2. Frites. There really is something special about Belgian fries: they’re fried twice so they come out soft inside and perfectly crisp outside. You’ll find frittur all over the city, but Maison Antoine is said to make the best. A cone of frites with one of their 30 delicious sauces (Forbes Travel Guide editors are torn between the andalouse, a spicy mayo, and the curry ketchup) will set you back around €3/US$4 — the best value in Brussels. Take your meal into one of Place Jourdan’s many frites-friendly bars and enjoy with a cold beer.
     
    3. Belgian waffles. Forget the waffles you’ve had at home — the ones in Belgium where they’re called gauffres — are amazing airy and light thanks to a yeast-based batter.  Head to Dandoy near the Grand Place Square and order a waffle with a simple dusting of powdered sugar, with fruit and ice cream or loaded with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. The whipped cream is so fresh and natural; it’s like a taste of heaven. For a real treat, enjoy your waffle with some tart cherry kriek beer.
     
    4. Beer. Belgian brew masters are considered among the best in the world and this is your chance to find out why. Experience a range of brewing styles at famous pubs like Poechenellekelder, Mort Subite or Delirium; for a more artisanal selection, head to Bier Circus. Brussels is especially known for lambic beers, which are fermented with natural yeast, but the range in Brussels includes tart gueze style, elegant wheat beers, fruit beers and trippels and dubbels with richer roasted flavors.
     
    5. Chocolate. Leonidas is the best-known Belgian chocolatier, but there are artisanal chocolate shops throughout the city. Wittmaer isn’t as well known, but it’s the chocolatier for the Court of Belgium. The Place du Grand Sablon is filled with chocolate shops with delightful specialities. In case you don’t get to a chocolate shop in the city, you can also pick up last minute chocolates at the airport.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Amanda Cherrin answered the question: Amanda Cherrin

    Where is the best nightlife in Brussels?

    Brussels is big happy hour city, with diplomats and government types heading out after work to let off some steam with a craft Belgian beer. During the summer months, Belgians take advantage of the warm weather, preferring to drink outside on patios. Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest the Saint-Géry area as a favorite destination — during the summer you’ll find the entire area filled with outdoor seating and tourists and locals with cocktails in hand. Some of the area’s more popular bars include Café des Halles, Mapa Mundo, Zebra and Le Roi des Belges. If you go, plan to come early, stay late and be prepared for a raucous evening — don’t be surprised if you see people dancing on tables. If you’re in a clubbing mood, head to nearby You Club. A few tips: Belgians are casual, so jeans are fine; don’t be afraid to push your way to the bar (everyone else will); and being friendly will get you further than being demanding. End your night in the Bourse area with a late-night snack of frites smothered in the sauce of your choice.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Amanda Cherrin answered the question: Amanda Cherrin

    What is the best way to see Brussels in one day?

    If you’re looking to see all that Brussels has to offer to in one day, Forbes Travel Guide editors suggest you put on some comfortable walking shoes and invest in a 10-jump (read: trip) Metro card. Many of the city’s finest sites are within walking distance of each other and parking is nearly impossible in downtown Brussels. If you prefer to be on two wheels, the city has a popular bike share program. You can pick up a bike at one of the many kiosks located around the city, just look for the rows of yellow bikes. Start any tour of Brussels at the Grand Place — the beauty of the 15th-century square offers a taste of Brussels in its heyday and will energize you for a day of sightseeing. From there, either head to the Sablon for a day of antique shopping or wind your way to bustling Place Sainte-Catherine via the Bourse, the city’s impressive stock exchange building, and the clothing shops on Dansaert Street. Either way, make sure to grab a cone of frites and a waffle from the many trucks and stands en route. Finish your day with a pot of steaming mussels and a local beer for the full Brussels experience.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Amanda Cherrin answered the question: Amanda Cherrin

    Where is the best shopping in Brussels?

    If you’re seeking a high-fashion shopping excursion, head to Avenue Louise. It’s the Fifth Avenue of Brussels, boasting brands like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermes, Versace and Dior, mixed in with more affordable stores like Zara and BCBG. American shoppers will especially appreciate the opportunity to shop some hard-to-find European brands like Zadig & Voltaire, Essentiel and Comptoir des Cotonniers. Trendsetters and those with a more “downtown” aesthetic should head to Dansaert Street, the heart of the  Belgian fashion scene, featuring local design houses like Christophe Coppens, Annemie Verkeke and Stijl. Nearby Léon Lepage Street hosts more up-and-coming designers and is also worth a look. You won’t find any bargains here, but are likely to score that to-die-for jacket that you’ll wear for years, coyly answering, “Oh, this little shop in Brussels,” when folks beg you to tell them where it’s from.