Itâ€™s been cold. We donâ€™t have to tell you, right? Itâ€™s been so cold, you havenâ€™t even wanted to leave the house to trundle to work or run errands or pick up the kids from school. But you must.
Beat the cold with the best hot drinks in Flanders
There is an antidote for the chill that doesnâ€™t seem to want to leave your bones. Follow the lights that glow inside a local cafÃ© â€“ a place where, for just a couple of euros, youâ€™ll get a piping hot cup of liquid, some kind of little sweet and the freedom to sit by yourself and while away an hour without being hassled to give up your seat.
After water, tea is the most widely-drunk beverage in the world. But this does not mean it shouldnâ€™t be savoured, and thereâ€™s no better place to do that than the Comptoir Florian in
Brussels (Sint-Bonifaasstraat 17).
Fifteen years ago, Vincent PerpÃ¨te left the graphic design world to create a calm space where people could sip a perfectly-prepared, select tea. His collection boasts 195 different types of tea from all over the world, including an unusual lavender brew and 10 sorts of Rooibos (red bush tea). (He also serves eight kinds of coffee for those who have yet to be converted.)
Although it's reminiscent of English tea shops with rows upon rows of canisters (and a poster of Agatha Christie), Comptoir maintains a laid-back, contemporary feel. By day, it's a haunt for people from local Ixelles businesses and the European institutions. By early evening, the clientele becomes more Bohemian, with artists and actors relaxed into the lounge chairs.
"I didn't like the way that tea is associated with being a snob. I wanted to make it accessible to everyone," said PerpÃ¨te. Pair that attitude with a fine selection of patisseries, and youâ€™ll find yourself returning again and again. Emma Davis