The Trappist trail: hiking and tasting
The Walloon Trappist abbeys in Orval, Rocheford and Chimay are now connected by a 290 km hiking trail (GR). This new trail has two routes, each with its own theme; one is dedicated to beer and the other to wines and spirits. It is an addition to the almost 5,000 km of the signposted Gourmet Wallonia network.
The Trappist label is an "appellation contrôlée". Eleven of the world's twelve Trappist beers bear the "Authentic Trappist Product" label and three of these - the Rochefort, the Orval and the Chimay - come from Wallonia. To use this appellation, the beer must be brewed in a Cistercian abbey managed by the Trappist Community. Trappist abbeys produce top-fermented, unpasteurised beers that are refermented in the bottle and brewed according to ancient brewing traditions developed by the monks. All these brown ales, light ales and amber beers have their own characteristic flavour and are prepared in the traditional way in these three abbeys.
Two Topo-Guides, each covering two sections, Orval - Rochefort and Rochefort - Chimay, can be downloaded from www.grsentiers.org for 5 euros. The Topo-Guides include a description of the itinerary in both directions and maps of the route. They also contain practical and tourist information on the regions in question.
For a foretaste of the hiking trail, please watch the news bulletin on Belgian TV (RTBF) at: https://www.rtbf.be/auvio/detail_circuit-gr-des-abbayes-trappistes?id=2259466