Belgium's World Famous Ganda Ham

Ganda Ham is a world famous Belgian dried ham, which has obtained a specific taste through the process of drying salts and maturing. The ham has its origins in the 1950s, when Roger Cornelis and his wife Maria Mattheeuws founded a butcher's shop in Wetteren, a small town near the city of Ghent.


For the production of the naturally dried Ham, only 3 ingredients are used: pork, sea salt and ... time. No nitrites, flavorings or colorings are added. The traditional process of drying salts and natural ripening have a specific and rich aroma as a result. The Ham is dried and matured naturally for a minimum of 10 to 16 months.

The name Ganda comes from the Old-Celtic name for the city of Ghent and indicates the confluence of the rivers Leie, Schelde and Lieve. Today the Ham is a Flemish regional product recognized by the Flemish Center for Agro and Fisheries Marketing.

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Ganda Ham is rich in biologically valuable proteins and also contains little fat, most of which consists of unsaturated fatty acids. The Ham is used in all kinds of typically Belgian recipes.


Ganda, the company that produces the Ham, works with around 44 employees delivering 3350 hams a week. In 2012, the Ganda Ham was awarded with a Gold Star Superior Taste Award from the International Taste & Quality Institute for its exceptional Taste.

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So whenever you are in Belgium try to get hold a this extraordinary delikatesy. That is, if you are not an vagitarian of course.




Unique old firehouses in Antwerp

Emiel Van Averbeke is one of the key figures of Antwerp Art Nouveau. Among other things Van Averbeke was a city official and in that capacity he was often instructed to design new fire stations. The first of the series of three is the one in the Paleissraat, dating back to 1907.

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He works together with Jan Van Asperen, a fellow student. The fire station was built in a sober Art Nouveau style, following the architectural ideas from the Dutch architect Berlage. A 2nd fire station of his hand is in the one in the Halenstraat and is built between 1910 and 1913.

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The last firehouse that Emiel Van Averbeke designed is the one that is located in the Siberiastraat. That building has been recently modified and has a diamond shaped structure built on top of it. It is now in use as the new Antwerp Port House.


This is where Belgian chocolates were born


In 1857 Jean Neuhaus opened a pharmacy in the prestigious Brussels Royal Saint Hubert galleries. To give his medicine a better taste, he put a thin layer of chocolate around it. Jean Neuhaus Jr., inherited his father's passion for chocolate and came up with the ingenious idea to use a delectable soft filling instead of the medicine. That is how the praline was created in 1912.


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In addition, Louise Agostini, the wife of Jean Neuhaus Jr., created in 1915 the first 'ballotin', a gift box with a ribbon around it, in which the chocolates were sold. The Belgian pralines were presented as a real treat.

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In the following years, the praline in Belgium boomed when chocolatier Charles Callebaut discovered in 1925 how he could transport liquid chocolate. Ten years later, Basile Kestekid├Ęs (a relative of the founder of Leonidas) created the legendary Manon: a large praline based on buttercream with coffee flavor, with a layer of white chocolate around it. That delicious delicacy is still popular today.