Although many people will think of New York when asked about the origin of bagels, the actual roots of this fine peace of bread lies in Eastern Europe. Legend has that a Jewish baker in Austria created the bagel to honor the Polish king who saved the country from a Turkish invasion. It were the Jewish immigrants arriving in North America who launched the Big Apple’s famous bagel industry early 20th century.
Brussels has its own little bagel-heaven called Au pays des merveilles. It’s a small shop located nearby the fashionable Antoine Dansaert street, owned by Alice Romaniuk. The menu is -seriously- never ending, so making up your mind on what to order is a challenge. The shop interior is almost as sweet as the brownie which is smiling at you as you walk into the shop.
I tried the Bagel Discovery, which allows you to choose 3 different bagels from the menu. They come to you in mini version, but even the small sized ones are stuffed with a huge amount of ingredients inside. I had goat cheese+pesto+sundried tomatoes+rucola, warm chicken breast+guacamole+cream cheese+lemon and finally italian ham+sundried tomaties+cream cheese+rucola. Yes, that all came on one plate and yes, I did finish it all. I gathered all my courage and even ordered a brownie and do-it-yourself chocolate milk for dessert.
A little fait-divers, APDM invites an artist every first Saturday of the month for an art exhibition. Cause the eyes need to be fed as well.
Au pays des merveilles, Avenue Jean Volders 42, 1060 St-Gilles.