Great Escapes

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The best views in Belgium

A beautiful country, Belgium is filled with many a fantastic photo opportunity. But in case it’s your first visit, or you’re looking for a little inspiration for some truly magnificent views both from the ground and the sky, we’ve selected a few of our personal favourites which may help you see a little bit more during your short break in Belgium.

Belfry Tower, Bruges

One of the most prominent buildings in the city, the belfry of Bruges is a magnificent medieval bell tower right in the heart of the town. Standing 83m tall, to look up at this architectural splendour from the ground is a grand sight, however if you’re feeling energetic and choose to climb the very respectable 366 steps up to the bell tower at the top, one of our favourite panoramic views awaits, over the market square below and the surrounding area of Bruges.

Belfry tower

Image credit: Wolfgang Staudt, Flickr

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Image credit: John Cooke, Flickr

Meuse Valley

Located in southern Belgium, this luscious countryside balanced on the edge of the glorious River Meuse is certainly a sight to behold. Limestone cliffs are a backdrop to charming little towns and dense forest, as well as some breath-taking architecture. Capture the best pictures from the river, or on the numerous hiking and cycling trails available to explore.

Meuse Valley

Image credit: Peter.Lorre, Flickr

Grand Place, Antwerp

With cobble-stoned streets leading to ornate 17th century architecture and a bustling Grote Markt (Main Square) filled with flower stalls and bird markets, there’s not just one great view here but far too many to count. From the Brabo Fountain to the Guild Houses and magnificent city hall, many a photo opportunity awaits for visitors to the Grand Place in Antwerp.

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St. Peter’s Church, Leuven

In the centre of Leuven, shining a glorious gold hue is St Peter’s Church (or Sint-Pieterskerk). A very well preserved example of 14th century Brabantine Gothic architecture, this church is just as impressive inside as out. With a museum dedicated to religious art, with metalwork, paintings and sculptures as well as a stunning baroque carved pulpit, you’ll be truly absorbed into a past world.

St Peter's Church

Image credit: Renata Sedmakova, Shutterstock

Panoramic views from the Musical Instruments Museum (MIM), Brussels

Located in central Brussels along Rue Montagne de la Cour, an intriguing museum and stunning terrace awaits. The building itself is rather spectacular, being art nouveau in style and boasting a fabulous glass elevator. However, the sunlit rooftop café is what we really love, as this is where you can sit and enjoy a Sunday brunch whilst ogling over the 360° panoramic views of Brussels. If you’re inside, you’ll find that the decorative building design will frame your photographs, and when outside on the terrace, you’re met with a breath-taking cityscape. This is certainly a perfect afternoon spent during your short break in Brussels.

Image credit: Daniel Lobo, Flickr

Image credit: Copright of WBT – Ricardo de la Riva

Automium, Brussels

With an interesting and rather unique infrastructure, the Automium comprises nine spheres which are linked by escalators. Constructed for the 1958 Brussels World Fair, its purpose was to symbolise peace among all the nations, as well as being a vision for a more modern, technological world. A vision in itself, a 360° panoramic view of the 19 municipalities of Brussels also awaits at the top sphere, 102m up.

Image credit: http://www.atomium.be – SABAM 2011 – Axel Addington

Image credit: http://www.atomium.be – SABAM 2010 – Axel Addington

Ardennes

For those in search of views not of architecture but nature and wildlife, simply head south for the rugged hills of the Ardennes. With cave systems, river valleys, wooden canyons and limestone hills, as well as lynx, deer and wild boar to be discovered, we couldn’t possibly name even ten great views here, as there are just so many. A town called Dinant, in the province of Namur is a good place to start your adventure in Ardennes, located around 100km south east of Brussels.

Image credit: Daviddje, Flickr

If we’ve inspired you to take a short break in Belgium and see some of these wonderful sights for yourself, you can visit Great Escapes to book.

 


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Tis the season…

Christmas has finally arrived! So we wanted to treat you all to a compilation of beautiful Christmas photos from around Europe – a mixture of food and drink, markets and lights – arguably all the best things about this wonderfully festive time of the year.

So let’s make a start with a classic Christmas in Paris, the city of love…

You can’t really beat the gorgeous Eiffel Tower, covered in a glistening layer of snow, a beautiful backdrop to a very festive looking carousel.

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As you can see, Galeries Lafayette knows exactly how to decorate for Christmas and keep up an ambience of class.

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I’m sure you’ll agree there’s nothing more magical than wandering around a Christmas market, mulled wine in hand, looking at all the trinkets and gifts on sale. And in the snow, it couldn’t be much more festive!

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As we all know, it’s not just Paris that are skilled in adding that little (or large) festive touch…

Lille, France is a dab hand at adding a touch of bling to their architecture.

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And Reims looks stunning when the markets start to pop up, coating areas of the city in lights.

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Now let’s take a stop next door to Belgium, and see the handsome buildings of Grand Place, in the central square of Brussels take your breath away…

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And definitely not forgetting one of the best activities associated with this time of year, ice-skating! Take to the ice in one of Belgium’s Flemish Christmas markets.

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Once you’ve spent the evening picking yourself up off the ice and probably feeling rather worn out, a Rakomelo is certainly well deserved. Actually a traditional Greek beverage, its warm, sweet (and alcoholic) taste will be sure to go down a treat – only for adults though, sorry kids!

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So moving along again, this time to Deutschland, we’ve found that Cologne is a trinket buyer’s paradise. With gifts galore and all sorts of wonderful bits and bobs to look at, we couldn’t not feature it in this blog.

Here’s a rather unique stall at one of the markets:

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Now here’s the bigger picture for you…

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And the ice-skating rink looks perfect for a family friendly race (if you can stay on your feet of course).

Blick auf die große Eisbahn auf dem Weihnachtsmarkt "Heimat der Heinzel" auf dem Heumarkt in der Altstadt Köln, im Vordergrund das Reiterdenkmal, im Hintergrund Dom und Groß St. Martin.

Our final stop on this festive tour takes us to a little place called Amsterdam, which embraces the Christmas spirit in a delightfully cultural way.

The most impressive perhaps, is this Christmas tree made of bicycles:

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Image credit: Xavier Vergés, Flickr

We then have performances from the ‘World Christmas Circus’, which is a festive tradition in Amsterdam.

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Image credit: DirkJan Ranzijn, Flickr

And finally, I can’t think of a better way to round up these images than with a drink, and better yet – a Christmas drink! Delirium Christmas, a festive Belgian beer will send your taste buds tingling with hints of fruit, spices, caramel malt and candied orange. You can buy a bottle or two here.

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Image credit: Hideyuki Kamon, Flickr

We hope you’ve enjoyed our mini festive tour around Europe, and are now well and truly in the Christmas spirit!

So now’s the time to go and get your favourite festive drink, a mince pie or two, put your feet up and await tomorrow’s fun and food filled day.

From everyone at Great Escapes, we’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

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24 hours in Brussels – Eating, drinking and shopping at the Christmas Markets

With Brussels being only a couple of hours from London on the Eurostar, it’s a great place to visit for a short break or even for the day! So what can you do in 24 hours in Brussels? I found out for myself with a whirlwind visit to this lovely city.

Hot Chocolate at Wittamer, Sablon

Having checked-in to our hotel, we headed straight out to explore and soon we were walking down quaint cobbled streets, passing beautiful historic buildings, quirky shops and a lovely park in Sablon.

Wittamer chocolate, Sablon, Brussles, Belgium

The area is known for its night life, restaurants and surrealism and is many people’s favourite part of the city but I had one thing on my mind… hot chocolate! Not just any old hot chocolate but a Wittamer hot chocolate. I’d been told by a few people that this was the very best in town. I knew it was on the Place du Grand Sablon and had a bright pink awning, which made it very easy to find.

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As I stared in through the shop window my heart did a somersault as my eyes beheld the exquisite cakes and pastries on display. I managed to tear myself away and we made our way upstairs to the charming café with its beamed ceilings, dramatic chandelier and oodles of character. Having ordered our drinks, we soaked up the atmosphere. A sense of serenity filled the air as everyone in the room indulged themselves in their favourite Wittamer treat. A couple sitting opposite, in unison, each picked up a white jug and slowly poured melted chocolate all over a delicious looking ice-cream creation decorated with an over-sized macaron. Then in front of us appeared our drinks, with a couple of Wittamer chocolates each and a large dollop of Chantilly cream. They tasted as good as they looked!

The Grand Place (or Grote Markt in Dutch)

From Le Sablon we walked on through more cobbled streets and I caught my fi rst glimpse of the Grand Place, Brussels’ main square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and reputed to be the most beautiful square in Europe. I had high expectations. As I turned the corner I caught my breath. Beautiful is not quite the right word… awe-inspiring, breath-taking, stunning… neither my words or my pictures do it justice. Every building that opened onto the square was an absolute gem. Grand and imposing with the most intricate of decorative adornment, these buildings almost sent me into a blind panic, as I wanted to capture it all in my camera, but in which direction to point it first? In the middle of the square a huge Christmas tree added to festive atmosphere.

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Throughout the weekend we walked into this square a number of times and each time I gazed at the square not quite believing what I was seeing. What’s more I know it will have that same effect on me when I return and return I will.

The Christmas Markets

Each December a number of squares in Brussels are home to the famous Christmas Markets and should you visit at this time of year they are well worth checking out.

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Though crowded there is a wonderful atmosphere and plenty of arts and crafts to buy and food and drink to tempt you. I was delighted that my visit coincided with the festive season and we had plenty of time to explore the stalls and enjoy the entertainment. In 2015 they will be held in the Grand-Place, Bourse, Place Sainte-Catherine and Marché aux Poissons from 27th November to 3rd January. For more information visit Winter Wonders website.

‘Keep on Toasting’ Gourmet Street Food in Brussels

We were enjoying simply wandering around so much that when we stumbled across the food truck ‘Keep on Toasting‘, rather than have a sit down meal, we decided to try our luck with these, reputedly excellent, gourmet version of the traditional Belgium, Croque-Monsieur. We soon got chatting to the man behind the counter, chef Jean-Baptiste. I tried the Croq’ November (semi-soft cheese, bacon pieces, celeriac and parsley) – it went down a treat. The melted cheese was deliciously gooey, and the combination of taste and textures with the perfectly toasted spelt bread, really hit the spot.

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As I munched away Jean-Baptiste explained that having trained for two years at cookery school, followed by five years hands-on experience working with different chefs, he wanted to start his own business. While there were plenty of other food trucks around these were, more often than not, of the deep fat frying variety producing poor quality food. He wanted to offer the people of Brussels a healthier, higher quality alternative.

Croque-monsieur is an extremely well established Belgium snack but it rarely varies from the traditional cheese and ham filling. Jean-Baptiste took this popular dish to another level. Using taste combinations and ideas he had gathered over the last seven years, he developed a unique range of delicious toasties. He chose to concentrate on producing just this one type of snack, so that he could work within the confines of the truck and still produce something really good to the high standard he desired. Through the year the menu changes with the seasons but you’ll always find four types of toasty available including a veggie option, costing €4 to €5 each.

Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert

The next day, after an extremely filling breakfast from the huge variety of dishes on offer from our hotel, we re-traced some of our steps and sort out an arcade that I’d been told was well worth visiting, Galeries Royales, just around the corner from the Grand Place. Opened in the 1840s the arcade has been home to some 70 luxury boutiques including jewellers, fashion designers and the finest Belgium Chocolatiers ever since. In addition you’ll find theatres, a cinema and an art gallery as well as private residences. It’s the perfect place to explore on a rainy day but well worth popping by whatever the weather.

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Out of all the chocolate shops here we found Le Belgique Gourmande the most welcoming. The staff were very helpful and were handing out plenty of delicious free samples.

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Belgian beer

Before we knew it, it was nearly time to leave but not before sampling a glass or two of the beer that Belgium is so famous for on Rue des Brasseurs by the Grand Place. Somewhere so close to the most popular square in town is usually not the best place for a bite to eat or a drink but a particular bar had caught our eye and even though it was just a few yards from the Grand Place we decided to give Au Brasseurs a go. I think it was the parasol covered in pink elephants and a promise of a glass of Delirium that swung it for us.

As we stepped inside we immediately felt at home in this colourful down-to-earth pub that I could imagine locals enjoying as much as the tourists. Although they had a long list of beers
to choose from, how could we say no to a glass of Delirium and very good it was too.

Belgium beer

After a little more window shopping we popped back to the same bar. This time instead of selecting a beer by its name, we went for the shape of the glass! Kwak is served in a unique fluted glass with a round bottom, designed so that a coachman, who couldn’t leave his horses to enter an inn, could easily hold the glass while still wearing thick gloves. Once again this proved to be a perfect selection process as another fine beer slipped down our throats.

I really would love to go back one day to this very bar for a little more beer research work plus we hadn’t even scraped the surface when it comes to Belgium cuisine so a return visit is inevitable.

I found Brussels the perfect place for a weekend break and, while it may not be as pretty as Bruges or as cool as Antwerp, I can’t imagine anything, anywhere in Belgium (or even Europe) beating the splendour of Brussels’ Grand Place.

For more information about short breaks from the UK to Brussels please visit our website, GreatEscapes.co.uk.

Picture postcard from… Brussels’ Grand Place this Christmas

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Grande Place at Christmas, Brussels, Belgium

I recently spent a lovely weekend in Brussels, the highlight of which was without doubt the Grand Place lit up for Christmas. It took my breath away.

You can read about my visit and see more photos on my personal blog, Travel With Kat.

Keep on Toasting


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‘Keep on Toasting’ Gourmet Street Food in Brussels

Over the last few years gourmet food trucks have been popping up all over Europe and last November it was Brussels’ turn, as chef Jean-Baptiste Nyssen opened his truck ‘Keep on Toasting‘.

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It’s now one year since he opened the hatch and sold his first gourmet Croque-Monsieur, the classic Belgium toasted sandwich with a twist. During a recent visit to Brussels I caught up with  Jean-Baptiste, on the eve of the trucks 1st birthday, and tried one of his delicious toasties for myself. I had the Croq’ November and it went down a treat. The melted cheese was deliciously gooey, and the combination of taste and textures with the perfectly toasted spelt bread, bacon and celeriac really hit the spot.

As I munched away Jean-Baptiste explained that having trained for two years at cookery school, followed by 5 years hands-on experience working with different chefs, he wanted to start his own business. While there were plenty of other food trucks around, these were more often than not, of the deep fat frying variety producing poor quality food. He wanted to offer the people of Brussels a healthier, higher quality alternative.

Croque-monsieur is an extremely well-established Belgium snack but it rarely varies from the traditional cheese and ham filling. Jean-Baptiste took this popular dish to another level. Using taste combinations and ideas he had gathered over the last 7 years, he developed a unique range of delicious toasties. He chose to concentrate on producing just this one type of snack, so that he could work within the confines of the truck and still produce something really good to the high standard he desired.

Keep on Toasting

Croq’ November, semi-soft cheese, bacon bits and celeriac and parsley

Over the year the menu has changed with the seasons but you’ll always find four types of toasty available including a veggie option, costing €5 each, while each day’s stock last, that is!

Street food Belgium

Jean-Baptiste isn’t just interested in great food, he is also a big fan of social media and its ability to promote a brand so as well as being geolocated ‘Keep on Toasting’ is active on Twitter and Facebook with regular updates about where he is and what is in stock. You can also check where he will be over the coming week or so on his website. This is usually somewhere in Brussels but can be anywhere in Belgium as he is available for public events and private functions. The truck is custom-made with a built-in professional kitchen, its own generator and water supply, enabling it to cater for up to 500 people, even in remote places.

Jean-Baptiste loves working in his truck, as it gives him the opportunity to interact with his customers, learning from them as he goes and I really enjoyed meeting him and my toastie was delicious but don’t just take my word for it; here’s what some of my favourite Brussels’ bloggers have had to say about ‘Keep on Toasting‘ over the last year…

“I spotted it at Place Flagey last Sunday and tried the croq’français (Entremont cheese, chicken, leeks, rosemary-honey) as well as a mouth-watering toasted brioche with cream cheese and lime – oh yes, it was a happy Sunday indeed!”  S Marks the Spot

“We decided to share the Alpin (cheese, ham and carrots simmered in rosemary) and the British (scrambled eggs, bacon, stilton and green beans). Both of which had us grinning from ear to ear and making lots of MMMmmmm sounds.” Why I’m not Skinny

“Toastie three, the Croq-Vert, by all rights, shouldn’t have worked. In the end, it was my favourite and really enjoyed by all. This veggie croq is filled with a slightly sweet goat cheese. It’s mixed with green lentils, mango chutney, nuts and a hint of coriander. Spectacular!” Cheese Web

“Long story short – I’m definitely going back … If you’re in Brussels, it’s definitely worth a visit. Two big thumbs up!”  Doctorate Housewife

Keep on Toasting, gourmet food truck

Bruges Christmas


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Walk into a Winter wonderland and the magic of Belgium’s Christmas markets

Christmas and New Year is a great time to visit Belgium with so many of its most famous cities hosting fabulous markets and celebrations that will warm the heart of even the sternest of Scrooges. The smell of mulled wine, hot chocolate and roasting chestnuts pervades the air, while the distant sound of carols and the sight of thousands of twinkling fairylights, all add to the festive atmosphere.

Antwerp

7th December 2013 – 31st December: Antwerp’s magical Christmas market is held at de Groenplaats, Handschoenmarkt, Grote Markt and Suikerrui. Whether you are looking for Christmas decorations, seasonal produce or simply wish to enjoy the markets charm with a glass or two of mulled wine, you’ll find a vibrant festive atmosphere here.

Belgium Christmas markets, Antwerp

Antwerp

Saturday 7th of December: Opening Celebration.

Saturday 7th of December to Sunday 5th of January 2014: Christmas market and ice skating rink at Steenplein. There will also be a big Ferris wheel at the Cruise Terminal.

Sunday 15th of December, 22nd of December and 29th of December: Shops will be opened on Sunday for Christmas shopping.

New Year’s Eve, Tuesday 31st of December: New Year’s Eve Fireworks at the Schelde.

Bruges

22nd November 2013 – 2nd January 2014: The Christmas market takes place on the Markt Square around the traditional open-air ice rink, with a smaller market located on Simon Stevinplein. Colourful lights illuminate festival stalls crammed with Christmas goodies, where shoppers can browse tables laden with elegantly packaged chocolates and locally made produce. Open: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday from 10:30 – 22:00 and on Friday and Saturday from 10:30 – 23:00.

Bruges Christmas

Bruges

22nd of November 2013 until the 5th January 2014: Snow & Ice Sculpture Festival at Stationplein. Open 10:00 – 19:00 daily (including Christmas Day & New Years Day)

Bruges ice sculptures

Bruges Snow and Ice Sculpture Festival

Brussels

29th November 2013 to 5th January 2014: ‘Winter Wonderland’, Brussels’s extensive traditional Christmas market, takes place on the Place Sainte Catherine and the Bourse with around 150 exhibitors from all over Europe offering traditional arts and crafts, jewellery, and Belgian chocolates for sale alongside an artificial ice-rink and numerous street artists. In addition to this there’s a multi-coloured Sound and Light show at the Grand Place.

Belgium Christmas markets, Brussels

Brussels

Ghent

6th to 30th December 2014: Ghent welcomes the festive season with a charming Christmas market in Sint-Baafsplein, Klein Turkije and Korenmarkt. Visitors can wander among the 50 wooden huts in search of decorations, candles, cards and gifts, serenaded by a choir. You can also enjoy live jazz, folk and rock performances, as well as Christmas carols.

22 November 2013 to 05 January 2014: A second Christmas market in St Pietersplein with a giant Ferris wheel, a fun fair, food and drink stalls plus an ice-rink.

New Year’s Eve, Tuesday 31st December at midnight: New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Graslei.

Belgium Christmas market, Ghent

Ghent

Leuven

13th to 22nd December: Leuven organises a very accessible and well organised Christmas market, known as the Leuvense Kerstmarkt, set with a fairytale backdrop of the Monseigneur Ladeuzeplein and the Herbert Hooverplein squares, where visitors can stock up on decorations, gifts and other festive items as well as enjoying the tasting stalls.

Leuven at Christmas

Leuven

Ostend

29th November 2013 to 5th January 2014: A covered Christmas market in Wapenplein square with delicious snacks and warming drinks, fabulous decorations and an ice-rink.

Belgium christmas markets, Ostend

Ostend

Ypres

30th November 2013 to 2nd January 2014: The Christmas market in Ypres is growing in reputation and takes place on the Grote Markt in the centre of town each afternoon and all day on Saturday. The Swiss style chalets, together with the popular ice rink, as well as live entertainment, will certainly put you in a festive mood. Open: Tue-Wed-Thu from 17:00 to 19:30, Fri: 15:00 to 22:00, Sat 10:00 to 22:00, Sun from 15:00 to 19:30, closed Mondays

Ypres Christmas market

Ypres

Please note that the above information is correct to the best of our knowledge but details are subject to change and should be checked with the individual organisations concerned before visiting.

Eat Brussels


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eat! BRUSSELS

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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!

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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.

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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.

eat brussels

Related article: Why I am not skinny’ reviewed last years event, EAT! Brussels is Brusselicious.

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