The New Locals:
from Belgium to Calonge

🕔 4 mins (total)

From Brussels in Belgium to Calonge in Catalunya, Spain

Aline d’Haeseleer is known around Calonge for her delicious homemade cookies and cakes. She moved from Belgium to La Costa Brava for love!

Where are you originally from?

From the city of Brussels.

How long have you been living on the Costa Brava?

I’ve been here eighteen years now.

Why did you leave your country?

Love! My ex-husband is Catalan, from Barcelona. We met in Brussels and we moved to Palamós first and then Calonge.

What do you work at?

I used to work for TAP (the Portuguese airline) and also EgyptAir in Belgium and when I moved to Catalunya I briefly worked for Ryanair at Girona-Costa Brava Airport. It was not a good experience though and I changed jobs completely to work in the cork-exporting industry, for which this region is well-known. I also used to make cakes as a hobby, sometimes selling them to order. Eventually, I decided to make a business of it and in June 2017 I opened my own patisserie in Sant Antoni de Calonge called Doucette: cookies and cakes.

Candy party: GatiCorn cookies and GatiCorn cake

Candy party: GatiCorn cookies and GatiCorn cake

Nutella cheesecake, and chocolate and Oreo and cake pops

Nutella cheesecake, and chocolate and Oreo and cake pops

Red velvet Magnums, and Naked Cake with chocolate, vanilla cream and red fruit

Red velvet Magnums, and Naked Cake with chocolate, vanilla cream and red fruit

As with most new enterprises, business was a bit slow at the beginning but then, just when things were starting to go well, I had a bad accident in November 2018 in which I almost lost a leg. Unfortunately, as I was unable to work, that was the end of the business! Nowadays I still make cakes at home though so if you have a birthday, or a wedding, or any event at all that you would like a cake for, please feel free to contact me through Instagram or Facebook.

What do you like most about living on the Costa Brava?

Like most people, I love the climate, the sea and the beautiful countryside here. We have a very good quality of life here and living by the sea makes it even better!

Favourite way to spend a day off?

If I have friends visiting I always bring them to the Far de Sant Sebastià (St. Sebastian lighthouse) for lunch and the spectacular views, and also to the village of Pals. I’ll bring them to other places too, but definitely always those two for sure.

Do you have one particular favourite place?

Not really. There are so many beautiful places around here it’s hard to choose just one, but the two places I mentioned above would be right up there towards the top of the list.

What’s your favourite food here?


Some of Aline’s highlights on the Costa Brava, including one of her beautiful wedding cakes at Cala de l’Illa Roja

What do you like most about Catalan culture?

I find the Catalans to be maybe more open to the rest of Europe than people in other parts of Spain, probably because we’re so close to the border with France here, and the rest of Europe.

Are your friends here mostly Catalan or foreign?

Mostly Catalan. It was easy to integrate initially with local people because of my Catalan husband, and then I also met a lot of people through the school where my daughter goes. Being a French-speaker I was able to learn Catalan quite quickly as the languages are so closely related, so that helped with making friends too.

How often do you travel home, or is this your home now?

I would normally travel “home” to Belgium about twice a year, but really home is here for me now. My daughter is a born and bred Catalan so this is home for her too.

Do you think you’ll ever return to live in your country?

Probably not, and one never knows for sure. I guess it could be possible later when I’m retired – but I’d prefer to have my friends in Belgium come to retire here instead!

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