Wednesday, April 21, 2010

We must have bread

I'm afraid a large number of my posts, perhaps the vast majority, will be about food. Which tells you something about my interests and priorities, even if it doesn't give you a broad overview of Belgian culture and society.

But then again, food is culture, right?

So... Belgians love bread. They eat a lot of it, on a daily basis, and they buy it fresh from the bakery. There's none of that mass-produced, preservative-laden, brand-name bread on the grocery store shelves. Even the grocery chains sell freshly-baked bread.

But the baker opens early and also closes early, and these days, even Belgians have to work all day and can't always make it to the bakery to buy bread. So what do they do?

They go to the Broodautomaat!

This is one of my favorite things about Belgium. I'd never seen one before I came here, but they're everywhere. I finally got to watch someone use one for the first time the other day and took pictures!

A broodautomaat is a vending machine for fresh bread. The baker stocks it every day, so that when he's closed for the night, you can still get your fresh loaf of bread on your way home from work.

You put in your 2€ coin and select which bread you want (hopefully the kind you like hasn't sold out) and then you take it from the machine. Fresh bread for dinner, and for breakfast the next day!


  1. We've never met, but I'm friends with Kaye, and she has often talked about your blog and just sent me the link.

    I lived in Wallonie for a year and a half and have friends all over, so have spend good amounts of time in Vlaanderen and Eupen as well. (You're totally right that the Walloons think the Flemish are uptight workaholics - some might even add "hateful xenophobes" to that as well! But we know better...)

    I love your posts about discovering all of Belgium's charms and quirks - hope you don't mind if I revisit my second home through you for a while!


  2. Now, that's something new to me. I have NEVER seen a broodautomat!

  3. Do you have a recipe for the basic fresh bread served for breakfast?

    1. Sorry, I don't. I don't bake my own bread. I always get bread from the bakery, and they have lots of different kinds!