Over the years, as children go back to school and parents return to work in September, foodies rub their hands in glee at the thought of eat! BRUSSELS. During the popular four-day culinary festival, the spotlight is on Brussels chefs and the culinary diversity of the international partners of the Brussels-Capital Region in our international village. This year, eleven of our partners signed up, offering the most comprehensive array of world cuisine since the start of this festival.
In 2018, Asia was the star, with four different stands, including two partners who travelled to Brussels for the first time.
Just one year after the signing of the cooperation agreement between our region and the City of Seoul, the Korean capital decided to join us at eat! BRUSSELS. The dynamic team from Seoul introduced people to a wide range of South Korean specialities. Many of the visitors were pleasantly surprised by Korean cuisine, which is experiencing somewhat of a boom even though it has had a hard time breaking into European dining.
Beijing’s stand has been a familiar feature in the international village in the past seven years. The Quanjude restaurant served different takes on lacquered duck, which is its speciality. This was the first time, however, that this iconic dish was served at the festival. And what a resounding hit it was! The Beijing stand often had trouble keeping up with demand, because it was so popular.
The Daronghe restaurant from Chengdu took us on a culinary journey through its fragrant dishes. Festival-goers were able to discover traditional Sichuan recipes, including a sticky rice and chocolate, panda-shaped snack called Kongfu Panda! Preparing these tiny cakes in a festival setting proved quite challenging.
Unlike its compatriots, Xi’an was a newcomer at the festival. Visitors really enjoyed sampling the Biang Biang noodles of the Intoxicating Chang’an restaurant. Many visitors looked on in awe as the chef ‘pulled’ the noodles, in the traditional way.
The Region of Rabat-Salé-Kénitra
Every year, visitors rave about the delicious dishes of Samraa caterers! Their tajine and their couscous with seven vegetables have become a firm favourite with the crowds in the international village. Like them, we just can’t get enough of them!
La Petite Cabane à sucre from Québec and chef Andréanne Marcil, who hails from Québec but who has made Brussels her new home, created a menu that promoted some of the typical products from the region. This year, they decided to focus on comfort food, like Pâté chinois, Tourtière from lac Saint-Jean and several tasty desserts with maple syrup.
Europe was well-represented too, especially the east of the continent, with four different restaurants. This year was also the first time that the European Metropolis of Lille participated.
The Kupidon restaurant introduced visitors to Ukrainian cuisine, with a different theme every day. Festival-goers were able to sample traditional Ukrainian and Tatar dishes as well as Jewish specialities from Ukraine.
The European Metropolis of Lille
The northern French metropolis travelled to the festival for the first time, and decided to be represented by a different ambassador every day. Five young, renowned and talented chefs manned the Lille stand over a four-day period. They were Nicolas Choquet, Steven Ramon, Alexandre Suergiu, Christophe Pirotais and Mickaël Braure. A fantastic opportunity to discover some classic dishes of northern French cuisine, to which the chefs added an inventive and elegant twist.
This year, Chef Jorg Zupan of the Atelje restaurant made us discover some surprising Slovenian delicacies, including a delicious fig and rosemary cake and sour cream ice-cream for dessert. The stand was overrun, and sold out early on several days.
The Masovian Voivodeship
This year again, visitors were able to experience Polish hospitality, warmth and generosity. The friendly Masovian team served up different types of pierogi (Polish ravioli) and nalesniki (Polish crêpes) with forest fruit.
The Laila Fashion Cooking restaurant once again introduced visitors to various traditional Bulgarian dishes including mezze, soups, salads, grilled meats, with something to tantalise everyone’s taste buds!
BRUSSELS IN THE INTERNATIONAL VILLAGE
Like every year, the Brussels-Capital Region also had a stand in the international village. This year, Brussels International invited the Boentje Café, the first zero waste coffee house in Brussels.
The café’s dynamic team invited visitors to taste their savoury and sweet waffles, which are prepared with food scraps (peels, vegetable tops, and so on).
Shake eat, meanwhile, organised workshops during which participants learnt how to make their own vinegar or flavoured salt.
Several of our partners also sent an official delegation to the festival. A delegation from the Region of Rabat-Salé-Kénitra, led by Naima Cheddadi, the region’s Vice-President, who is responsible for culture and heritage, travelled to Brussels for the festival. Eat! BRUSSELS is also an excellent tourist promotion vehicle, both in our region, as well as for our partner cities and regions.
The presence of this official delegation also allowed us to develop a new aspect of our cooperation, namely tourism and the appeal of regions. The Moroccan delegation visited Kanal – Centre Pompidou, met with the CEO of Visit.brussels, and discovered the Greeters network. Several specific opportunities for cooperation were identified during the various visits and exchanges and will be implemented in the following months.
A working meeting was also held to discuss the progress and adjustments to the project for the construction of an eco-centre in Rabat with the support of Environment Brussels.
All the official delegations were also invited to a lunch, which the Minister of External Relations offered in their honour.
The 8th eat! BRUSSELS festival returns in September 2019!