The Magnum, a Belgian invention.

Magnum is an ice cream produced by Unilever. The characteristic of a Magnum are the thick layer of crunchy chocolate around a thick block of ice cream made with real vanilla. The weight of the ice cream is 86 grams. Unilever introduce the Magnum in 1989 as a snack and not just an ice cream. This concept worked and with that the company set a trend for others to follow.

Picture by Pixabay
The snack ice cream was developed in Belgium at the Ola laboratory and further improved by the Callebaut chocolate factory. In 1992 several new Magnums were developed, including Magnum White and Almond. From Magnum Mini to very recently Magnum Double. New editions are planned, even one with less calories.

The Castle of Licot

Before the castle existed, there was an old farm on the site called 'Du Maugré' The name meant 'cursed place' In 1465 the farm belonged to Jehan de Henry van Nimes.

In the 17th century the farm was sold to the Martin family. In 1745 Michel Licot, iron master of Vireux, bought the farm and the surrounding land.

Between 1864 and 1890 the farm was transformed into a castle, under the direction of August Licot, their grandson, because the Licot family made a fortune with the iron ore business. Later came the decoration of a park and a pond was added.

For 175 years the family Licot keeps making a fortune and owned the castle but the first world war ruins the family and makes an end to this. During the First World War the castle served as quarters for the German commanders. Because of this, it was never completely destroyed.

In 1923 the municipality bought the domain. In 1964 the castle underwent a restoration in Renaissance style. The Licot Castle as it is today, on the edges of the Eau Noire, was completed in 1977. After the merger of eight villages it is is now in use by the municipal administration of Viroinval.

The castle of Hassonville

The castle of Hassonville, in french "Château d'Hassonville", is a castle near Marche-en-Famenne in the province of Luxembourg, Belgium. The castle dates back to the 17th century.

Picture by Johan Leeman

The construction of the castle was commissioned by Louis the 14th to Messire de la Veranderie, the governor of Marche-en-Famenne. The so called sun king had the castle built after his attempt to conquer the Netherlands, but he was only able to conquer  the current province of Luxembourg. The king, however, never occupied the castle himself, which was meant to be a hunting lodge, The original garden was laid designed by a pupil of Le Notre, the designer of the Versailles gardens in France.

Picture by Johan Leeman

In 1986 the castle came into the possession of the Rodriguez family, who renovated it completely. The complex is almost exclusively built with natural stone, the local gray limestone was used for the walls. The style emphasizes simple lines. Somewhat different are the facades on the south and east sides of the highest part, which clearly show the forms of Baroque architecture of the time. The castle is located on the west side of a large park with deciduous forest, which is part of a 55 hectare estate. Central in the park is a garden in English landscape style.

The castle is now used a a hotel and restaurant and is open to the public. You can find it at this address: Route d'Hassonville, 6900 Marche-en-Famenne.