A five star gastronomic picnic on a budget

“Ahhh….this is the life”, I thought, as I took yet another unlady-like gulp of cherry flavoured Kriek, comfortably ensconced in one of the prettiest of patios in Bruges, conveniently located just down the stairs from my room at Hotel Malleberg.  One of the primary reasons that I chose this three star budget friendly hotel was not only for the spacious rooms, but for its charming flower strewn garden inner courtyard.  Languishing in a Belgian café after a long day of shopping and sightseeing was not the most economical of options, as my frugal penny pinching scrooge had to stretch each and every Euro in order to ensure that the Kid was well fed and that most importantly, there was sufficient vino for you know who, as well as a few leftover coins in the kitty for that oh so pricey designer satchel I had my eye on.  With a little bit of ingenuity and resourcefulness, my ever so clever thriftiness enabled us to partake of yummy gastronomic fare and indulge to our heart’s content for a fraction of the price one would pay at the exorbitantly priced tourist trap restaurants located a hop, skip and a jump away from our courtyard away from home.  How then, was this possible, without breaking the bank, as, after all, remember when we had to pay a ghastly 2 Euros for tap water at one such fine dining establishment?  Well, dear reader, it’s called stocking up at le not so fashionable supermarket, where the Kid and I were able to load up her knapsack with a cornucopia of goodies and feast like the pretend royalty we so desperately aspired to be (I’m strictly speaking for the Kid here).

Le Niece was none too pleased with having to relinquish her image as an up and coming aristocrat (like, seriously, Kid, grow up, will ya) and be seen schlepping groceries along the rues and avenues, a commoner forced to stand in line at the Boulangerie, queuing with the rest of them for a fresh out of the oven melt in your mouth buttery croissant.  Adamantly refusing to stuff that aromatic spit roasted chicken in her sac, the Kid bawled and protested, mortified that a salivating pack of mongrel mutts would follow her trail back to the hotel, sniffing and yelping their way to a tasty supper.  Rumblings and misgivings aside, Miss Aristocrat Niece had no choice but to comply with her cheapo relative’s directives and help tote the assortment of foodstuffs back to the hotel.  Bribery worked like a charm as the ever contriving Kid had struck the deal of a lifetime with her pink-sneakered Auntie, her bag now overflowing with a mountain of chocolate and gallons of sugar-laden soda, a gluttonous banquet of the stomach ache kind.  Sad but true.

Pleased as punch at having now saved bucket-loads of Euros by setting up our own makeshift picnic in the flower strewn courtyard of our hotel, I couldn’t help but be proud of my ingenuity, teaching Miss Aristocratic niece that it was indeed possible to dine like kings on a pauper’s budget.  As for those stray dogs that the Kid was hesitant to befriend, well, let’s just say that even our four-legged friends blissfully napped the afternoon away, dreaming of a feast like no other.

Come dine with us as we picnic on divinely scrumptious fare in our cute as a postcard garden courtyard, indulging in gastronomic delicacies from our five star non Michelin rated local supermarket. 

Next week – Au revoir Bruges!  Where do our pink-sneakered footprints take us next?   Stay tuned for the continuation of the Kid and Auntie Nora’s hilarious escapades as we traipse throughout Europe. 

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