My cousin’s wife, Pascale, seems somewhat shocked to learn that yes, yes, this chocoholic addiction her husband, my cousin Alexis, suffers from is actually a family affliction, and that no, the massive quantities he ingests is by no means cause for alarm.
We cap off the weekend with a Sunday night at the Brussels Christmas Market at Place Sainte Catherine, and glühwein in hand, Céline and I solemnly nod our consensus that we, too, carry the Van Doo trait of chocolate obsession.
The only difference, we explain, is that les Theirrys sont laits et les Philippes sont noirs with les Alains divvied up the middle, Papa and I on the dark chocolate fence, Maman and Yannick on the milk chocolate side of things.
Chocolate is a major topic of conversation here: Belgians eat roughly one pound of chocolate per month per person, and even I, a dedicated chocoholic, stagger behind and suffer from over saturation of chocolate when onsite too long.
Sometimes, the little square of chocolate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner is just a touch too much.
Back to more serious matters, Pascale and Alexis shop for their secret Santas, stopping by another Belgian must, the comic strip: This is the land of TinTin, the Smurfs, Spirou, Lucky Luke, and countless others, so what better than a namesake strip?
Yes, yes, perfect.
Now, for the final hurrah, a dinner of croque monsieur at Lombard, simply because the great little tapas place is closed and we are famished after rounds of vin chaud and conversations on all that is good and scrumptious.
Note comic book mural in upper right. Telling you–they are everywhere.