Depending on the time of day (I think after 2 p.m.) when you walk into the entrance to the Belgium Pavilion, you’re offered a cookie and a piece of chocolate. It’s really a nice introduction to this small, but charming pavilion. Oddly, I haven’t taken a photo of the outside entrance, but the next time I’m at the Expo (probably this Tuesday), I’ll take a shot and post it here.
There are three main areas of the pavilion. Upon entering, you’re in a room that features interactive screens about Belgium and its relation to the ocean. Also in this room is a rotating platform where you can view a few chocolatiers plying their famous Belgian trade. The smell is, obviously, quite nice and you may be able to get a few more free samples. (I’m not sure about that because I didn’t spend enough time at the chocolate carousel to find out.)
Another area is the great souvenir shop, where you can buy, what else, chocolate and other Belgian products. It’s one of the better souvenir shops at the Expo, so give it more than a cursory look.
Finally, there’s a delightful restaurant, featuring several different Belgian offerings and a small selection of Belgium’s famous beer. I haven’t tried the food yet, but it definitely looks appetizing. Here’s a shot of the restaurant and the food menu.
And here’s Corrie, a colleague, enjoying a refreshing Hoegarden beer.
Another interesting thing about the pavilion, for me, at least, is that several of my former students work there, mainly on the weekend. Walking into the pavilion is like walking into one of my English classes! The young men and women working there are extremely friendly and their English skills are pretty good. Definitely pop in and say hello to them and tell them that Ron sent you. Also ask for Ian or Etian, two of the Belgian supervisors and great guys. Here’s a shot of some of the souvenir shop workers and one of the Belgian chefs. The two in the middle are former students.
So, here’s a concise rating of the Belgian Pavilion:
time and day visited-several different times, including weekends and early daytime weekdays
lines–haven’t seen any very long lines, probably because this is not a guided tour
multimedia–several interactive screens
cultural assets–chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate!
restaurant/bar–quite nice, appealing looking food, small but nice selection of beer
overall rating–very good, you can spend some time here watching the chocolatiers, browsing the souvenir shop or enjoying the restaurant offerings. Definitely put this on on your list of places to visit, especially if you’re a chocolate lover.