Sticking with food, gastronomes will want to head for Gourmet’s delicatessen which stocks fine European delicacies such as variously smoked Scottish salmon, excellent duck or goose foie gras; plus products from brands such as Rougié and Fauchon. Then step into the extremely upscale Epicure for vintage or grand cru wines, champagnes or whiskies to accompany your food purchases, or to buy cigars from the glass humidor.
The main duty free shop has an enticing and more regularly-priced choice of liquor including what the airport claims is “probably the biggest assortment of Belgian beers” not to mention a further choice of champagnes and malt whiskies. Tasting sessions are always on, especially for new launches, so don’t be shy to try.
If you can’t wait to sample the beers, quaff on the premises at the Belgian Beer Café where dozens of varieties await you. Just remember the alcohol content of those deceptively disarming, sweeter-tasting ales can come in at a whopping alcohol content of more than 8%!
Other attractions in this pier are Gautam’s Diamond and Gold store and its fashion shop. Diamond cutting is another of Belgium’s established industry’s and this store offers 18kt gold fine jewellery set with Antwerp-cut diamonds, and/or precious stones such as sapphire, ruby and emerald, or semi-precious stones such as blue topaz, citrine, amethyst and lapis lazuli. You can also buy certified Antwerp-cut diamonds as loose stones.
Gautam’s fashion store brings together very high-end leather and shoe labels including Church’s, Daniele Tucci, Fratelli Rossetti, Loake, Moreschi and Pollini. Also offering leather handbags footwear, jewellery and clothing made from fine Italian fabrics under its own brand is Uterqüe as does the Hermès boutique. More accessibly-priced brands such as Bric’s, Delsey, Guess, Kipling, Longchamp, Picard and Tumi can be found in the Leather Shop.
In Pier B, the shopping is less extensive with some necessary overlap for products such as chocolate, gourmet food and fashion. The two main duty free shops there will give you the staples; a large selection of perfumes and cosmetics in one, and liquor and tobacco in the other. But also try the Leaders store if you are looking for electronics. This store (there is also one in the other pier) stocks top brands such as Apple, Canon, Casio, Nikon, Packard Bell, Panasonic and Sony for anything from memory cards to mobile phones. And again, the beer can’ be ignored. A stop at the Leffe Plaza, a bar named after the internationally famed beer, will be hard to pass up.
- Passenger traffic 2011: 18.7 m
- Main international airlines: Brussels Airlines, Jetairfly, Jet Airlways, Easyjet, Royal Air Maroc, Europe Airpost, Thomas Cook Airlines Belgium.
- New developments: An underground rail link between the airport’s train station and the new Schaarbeek - Mechelen railway line has been a long time coming but should be in service by 2012.