Showing posts with label belgium. Show all posts
Showing posts with label belgium. Show all posts

Wednesday, 17 May 2017

An introduction to Flemish food and beer

The other week I was invited to a luncheon featuring Flemish food and beer.  It was a lovely introduction to this region's fare. The Flemish chefs came from Antwerp and Sint-Marteens-Latem (Near Ghent)  to London to showcase their craft and food. Together with Belgium chocolatier Pieter Vaes (The Cacao Project), and Jef Janssens, the brewer of family run Hof Ten Dormall in Tildonk (near Leuven)  Flanders.

Hof Ten Dormall is a brewery in a small farm that creates very innovative recipes using seasonal ingredients and a variety of grains, fruits, and vegetables to devise unique and diversely flavoured beers.

Jef Janssens from Hof Ten Dormall

The Flemish Region is one of the three official regions of the Kingdom of Belgium—alongside the Walloon Region and the Brussels-Capital Region. Informally referred to as Flanders.

The chefs

Michael Yates is based in Antwerp at Sail & Anchor, and is originally from Lancashire, north-west England.  His passion for the restaurant industry took him to Michelin starred restaurants around the UK, including a role as sous chef at Restaurant Martin Wishart in Edinburgh, to Oud Sluis in the Netherlands. Michael puts his own "Modern British" style on the best local ingredients, giving traditional cookery a refreshing touch.

Sam D'Huyvetter runs a traditional Flemish brasserie, the Brasserie Boulevard in Sint-Martems-Latem close to Ghent,  serving sophisticated and modern dishes with creative twists.

The dishes


Blue asparagus with brown butter and cured egg yolk, that was grated on to our dishes at the table. Paired with Troebel in Paradise from Hof Ten Dormall

Main course

New style Flemish Stoofviees (beef stew) served with pickles, mustard cream, roasted onions and a large fries on top.  Paired with The Politician beer from Hof Ten Dormall


Ecuadorian dark chocolate, beer foam edible sand & glass and salty crisps paired with Oak aged Armanaf by Hof Ten Dormall.

I thoroughly enjoyed the meal, and I can't wait to discover more about then Flanders food and drinks scene.

Disclosure:  I was a guest of Visit Flanders at this luncheon. All views are my own.

Monday, 29 February 2016

Travel: 10 Must Things to do in Brussels

views over Brussels from Square Meeting Centre

Travel: 10 Must Things to do in Brussels

Ferris Wheel at Ste. Catherine during Christmas

With what seems to be a growing popularity each passing year, travellers are finally catching on to the fantastic endless list of stuff available to them when visiting beautiful Brussels. If you are included in that bunch and are planning your first trip there but not quite sure what to fill your days with, consider the following great options. Walking around Brussels is easy and highly recommended.

1. The Grand Place & Hotel de Ville

As one of the most loved tourist attractions in the city, The Grand Place provides a medieval square where visitors can enjoy an array of terrace cafes, interesting museums and, of course, the ever popular Hotel de Ville; also known as the Town Hall. This building was constructed in the early 15th century and is still to this day used for civil purposes as well as being the official seat of the Mayor of Brussels. Hotel de Ville along with the square’s many other incredible aspects have undoubtedly helped in making it a Unesco World Heritage Site since back in 1998 and a must-see for all Brussels visitors. 

2. Les Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

The Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert or Koninklijke Sint-Hubertusgalerijen

Located just a short walk away from the Grand Place and housing a total of 200 meters of listed glass galleries, this site is surely something not to be missed. Split into three different parts that include Galerie du Roi, Galerie de la Reine, and Galerie des Princes, visitors will get the chance to both marvel at the incredible works of art as well as find themselves just steps away from some of the city’s most charming boutiques and restaurants. Take the entire afternoon to spend here and you will see just as to why 6 million people each year do the same.

3. Place Royale & Parc de Bruxelles

Parc de Bruxelles

For a fantastic outing during your time in Brussels, head to the famous Parc de Bruxelles where you will get the chance to explore its many features including lovely fountains, statues, the bandstand, fun outdoor shows, and, of course, all while being encompassed by the beautiful Place Royale. Depending on when you go, you may just get lucky enough to enjoy one of the park’s lively concerts or events!

4. Magritte Gallery

Once you have spent a good amount of time wandering around Parc de Bruxelles, make your way just a short distance to a newer establishment within the landmark Altenloh Hotel, the Magritte Gallery. Here, you can admire the many displays of works done by the surrealist artist himself. The more than 200 works include several gouaches, canvas oils, sculptures, drawings, vintage photographs and films, painted objects, and musical scores amongst others. 

5. Place du Jeu de Balle – Brocante Market

Place du Jeu de Balle, Brocante Market - Flea Market

Open 365 days a year, no need to worry if it is going to be operating during your trip to Brussels! Filled with antiques, an array of unique collections, foods, and so much more, Place du Jeu de Balle is much more than your average flea market as it exudes this particular type of atmosphere and feel unlike any other! Wander about…you never know what you might find! I loved this place - highly recommended.

6. Like a Local Guide

If you don’t typically like planning out your entire day and deciding what to see, do, and eat, then leave it up to the guys at Like a Local to do it for you! Spend your time with them sightseeing, chocolate tasting, beer tasting, checking out the best spots to eat, and gaining an inside view of all the best spots from actual locals who know the city best! It is worth every single penny!  (about£50) I really enjoyed the experience.

7. Admiring Street Art

Manneken Pis (literally Little Man Pee), is a famous Brussels landmark.
Whether you are an art lover or not, this is an absolute must as art is such a huge part of Brussels overall culture and provides you the opportunity to see some of the unique, intriguing and inspiring works throughout different parts of the city. Whether you head to random street walls, the TinTin stature, Janneke Pis, or Mannekin Pis, heading out on an exploration to find them all makes for a fantastic day in Brussels.  

8. Indulge in the Food & Drinks

Moules-frites or Moules et frites

Belgian Bintje potatoes, cooked twice and served in a paper cone with a side of mayonnaise
lots of delicious pastries in Brussels

lots of Belgium beers

Waterzooi (traditional Flemish chicken stew) and stoofvlees (beef stew)

the lightest waffle!

Le Falstaff cafe, the oldest places in Brussels
Of course in between all of that sightseeing and exploring, you are going to need to eat in order to satisfy that big appetite you have just worked up. The good news is, Brussels is one of the best cities to do just that! Consider heading to Le Falstaff; one of the oldest places in all of Brussels where you can enjoy excellent food as well as great art! For beer lovers, be sure to check out Delirium where you can choose from over 2,000 types of beer and enjoy live music. For a more laidback atmosphere, A I’Imaige Notre-Dame is the place to head as it is located in a small alleyway and still boasts some fantastic brews.  Also, a visit to Marche du Midi is a must for food lovers.

9. Atomium

Atomium in Brussels

Built specifically for the World Fair of Brussels in the year 1958, it certainly did its job serving as the main pavilion and icon of that event. Symbolizing the democratic will to remain peaceful with all nations, continue to progress through faith, and have an optimistic future for a better world, the Atomium is nothing short of a sight to see. Stretching 102 meters high, each of its parts help to symbolize something has gone on to create not only an iconic landmark of Brussels but as an inspiring peace among its neighboring countries and allies. Don’t miss out on seeing this unique structure!

10. Christmas Market & Light Show (December)

If you are fortunate enough to be traveling to Brussels during the holiday season in the winter months, then there is a huge chance that both the Christmas Market and the Light Show are on your list of things to experience. With a real sense of holiday charm, wandering about the lit up Christmas Market is nothing short of a spectacular outing filled with trinkets, treasures and, of course, delectable goodies at every turn. Once you are done with that, just steps away at the Grand Place will offer you the perfect ending to the perfect night with its annual Light Show that boasts not only beautiful lights but also a magnificent Christmas tree and sounds to go along with it all. 

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