This weekend (from Friday 13th to Sunday 15th September) sees some thirty restaurants come together in the Bois de la Chambre (French) also known as Ter Kamerenbos (Dutch) park in Brussels for the culinary extravaganza, eat! BRUSSELS.
Sharing their passion for delicious cuisine, both traditional and new, they will also be joined by various culinary partners from around the globe enabling festival goers a chance to sample dishes and products from Europe, Africa, the East as well as neighbouring France and, of course, Belgium. The park, and its lovely lake, make a beautiful setting for this festival held for the first time just last year. Small portions, but plenty of them, is the order of the day!
This year’s participating restaurants include The Tram Experience, featured in a previous post, 5 Unique Dining Experiences in Brussels. Since it was launched in February 2012 it has been a dazzling success and it has definitely earned its place in eat! BRUSSELS. This year, the Tram Experience is showcasing Brussels-based chefs, and the dishes served up for the festival are the creations of the project’s patron, Lionel Rigolet, chef at the legendary Comme Chez Soi.
Cuisines from around the globe
Sichuan is famous for its pandas and gastronomy. Its cuisine is among the eight most important in China. By focusing on the delightful variety and sophistication to be found in the province’s gastronomy, the eat! Brussels Festival is a good opportunity to promote friendly relations between Brussels and Sichuan. Sichuan’s gastronomy will be superbly represented by chefs from Daronghe, an acclaimed restaurant in the city of Chengdu.
Katanga, in southern Democratic Republic of Congo, is known for being multicultural. Katangese cooking is renowned for being warming and spicy, to be enjoyed with friends and family and will be represented in Brussels by the traditional cuisine found at Café Baraka in Ixelles.
Budapest, the Hungarian capital is proud of its roots and has a flourishing social, artistic and scientific life. Both banks of the Danube, the Buda and Pest, are home to thousands of restaurants, bars and cafés. As well as the culinary delights of master chef Áron Barka, a wide range of Hungarian wines will also be presented by the Master Sommelier, Jim Bauters. In addition, Budapest will this year offer its traditional Hungarian goulash originating in the country’s great plains, to be prepared by a genuine shepherd calling on centuries-old traditional techniques. Something not to be missed!
Bratislava is a border region with Hungary, Austria and the Czech Republic. Although it is the smallest region in Slovakia, Bratislava is the nation’s economic engine. Geographically, the mountains of Malé Karpaty and the Little Carpathians divide the landscape into two plains: Záhorie plain and the fertile Danube plain. The Little Carpathians are a rich wine-growing area and, from a culinary viewpoint, Bratislava Region also has a great deal to offer. For example it boasts a wide range of vegetables of every colour under the rainbow, not to mention a stew of red and white cabbage, stuffed pike, catfish soup, lokše (a kind of pancake) and pastries with sweet names such as fánky and koblihy. Young people will be guests of honour this year on the Bratislava stand, which will be represented by hotel school students at the Farského Secondary Vocational School.
Rabat-Salé-Zemmour-Zaer (known in Arabic as ال رب اط س لا زمور زع ير ) is a region in Morocco; its administrative centre, Rabat, is also the nation’s capital, famed for its cooking, notably specialities such as the meat of lamb and sheep cooked on a spit (‘mechoui’) or in a tagine pot. This stew, which is cooked slowly with salted fruits such as dates, prunes or lemons, is traditionally accompanied by couscous. Dates and milk are among the region’s nutritional staple foods. In addition, the region’s gastronomy includes a mix of rich seasoning spices, such as ‘kama’, which comprises nutmeg, black pepper, ginger, turmeric and cumin. The nation’s favourite beverage, mint tea, goes well with Moroccan cakes and biscuits such as ‘ghoriba’ or layered crêpes. The region will be represented by the caterer Samraa from Rabat.
Beijing‘s gastronomy is complex, sophisticated and full of flavour. It has been based on pork and mutton since the Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties, notably through the influences of Mongolian and Manchurian cuisine. Beijing’s cuisine has also been influenced by culinary traditions to be found throughout China. This year the city will be represented by the Beijing Golden Million restaurant.
In Quebec, the passion for fine food has been passed down through the years and continues to thrive! Influenced by France, Canada’s Aboriginal peoples and Britain, the province’s cuisine is today renowned for the variety of its local produce and by the ingenuity of its chefs and artisans.
During the festival, Kanata, the site selling produce from Quebec, will introduce the province’s culinary side. This includes beers, teas and herbal teas, maple products, and locally produced sweets and liquors. Visitors to eat! BRUSSELS are also invited to a highly typical ‘épluchette de blé d’Inde’ (corn roast) during meal-time tastings.
Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria, is the nation’s political, cultural and industrial centre, as well as a major university centre. Sofia’s cuisine is strongly influenced by Slavic and Mediterranean cooking. It is also very healthy, calling chiefly on vegetables, spices and herbs such as garlic, onion, chubritza, parsley, mint and dill. This year, Sofia will be represented by the famous restaurant Shades of Red, located in the Grand Hotel Sofia, and its talented chef Joro Ivanov. A graduate of the well-known French Culinary Institute in New York, he has practised his art in France, Germany and Italy. Ivanov has also twice taken part in the prestigious Le Bocuse d’Or competitions. Moreover, he has a special link with Brussels, since he was chef at La Truffe Noire, a Michelin-starred restaurant in the Belgian capital. Joro Ivanov will be offering a superb form of fusion cuisine, featuring great Bulgarian flavours.
Related article: Why I am not skinny’ reviewed last years event, EAT! Brussels is Brusselicious.
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