Flavours of the World at eat! BRUSSELS festival
From 5 till 8 September 2019, the eat! BRUSSELS festival, which showcases the skills of Brussels chefs, once again highlighted the culinary offering of the Brussels-Capital Region (BCR). True to its reputation as a region that is open to the world, the BCR also welcomed chefs from around the world, like every year, who were given the opportunity to present their culinary specialities.
Foodies were able to discover some of the leading chefs in Brussels and from around the world at the 8th eat! BRUSSELS festival. This year’s festival drew record numbers of visitors, with the chefs serving a whopping 35,000 dishes, a 15-percent increase compared with 2018.
eat! BRUSSELS, a showcase for world cuisine
The BCR has signed 29 cooperation agreements with various cities, provinces and regions around the world. Every year, it invites its bilateral partners to present their culinary specialities and local products in the international village at the eat! BRUSSELS festival. In the age of globalisation, tastes have a tendency to become more standardised. These days, there are pizzerias and Chinese restaurants in every city around the world. The international village, however, sets out to do something different, introducing people to real, authentic flavours, with dishes that are cooked on the spots by chefs who travelled to Brussels for the occasion from their cities, provinces or regions.
15 BRC partners in the international village: a new record!
Since the first eat! BRUSSELS in 2012, the international village has continually expanded. 2019 marks a new record, with 15 BCR partners in attendance: the cities of Budapest, Chennai, Kiev, Lille, Ljubljana, Paramaribo, Beijing, Seoul, Sofia and Xi’an, the Voivodeship of Mazovia (Poland’s capital region), Sichuan Province, Québec, the Region of Rabat-Salé-Kénitra and the Federal District of Brazil (Brasilia).
Three of the partners were first-time visitors, namely Chennai, Paramaribo and Brasilia.
The spicy flavours of Tamil Nadu
On 18 April 2019, soon after the signing of the partnership agreement between the Greater Chennai Corporation and the BCR, its capital Tamil Nadu accepted the BCR’s invitation, delegating Hotel Saravana Bhavan, a vegetarian restaurant chain. This was the first time that an Indian representation travelled to the festival, adding a flavoursome note to the festival’s ample Asian culinary offering.
Tamil Nadu’s vegetarian cuisine, which combines delicate flavours with balanced nutrition, is very elaborate. It is also the most traditional of Indian cuisines, with very few foreign influences. The effervescent team of the Hotel Saravana Bhavan served visitors a wide range of patties, fritters and spicy stews, with interesting condiments and spice mixes such as tamarind, coconut, pepper, curry leaves, etc. A flavoursome journey!
Latin America also made a noteworthy debut in the international village with the participation of the Paramaribo District (the capital of Suriname) and the Federal District of Brazil (the Capital Region of Brazil, Brasilia). Suriname’s cuisine reflects its cultural diversity, combining an incredible array of world cuisines, including India, Java, China, the Netherlands… Over time, these influences have given rise to a veritable melting pot, and this Creole cuisine has incorporated flavours from African, Jewish, Portuguese, Lebanese and even Native American cuisine. The stand of Paramaribo was manned by the TorCuisine group, in partnership with the Suriname Chefs Association. The menu was a real treat for guests’ taste buds, with galangal and lemongrass soups, a rice pilaf with peanuts and coconut, fritters made from pulses served with mango chutney, satay and much more.
Brazil’s Capital Region was represented by Chef Lui Veronese, who has honed his talents in various prestigious restaurants around the world, including El Bulli in Spain and the Manoir aux Quat’Saisons in the United Kingdom. He put together a menu that showcased Brazilian products, combined with his superior know-how of fine dining. It included a dish with pirarucu (the giant fish of the Amazon), beef picanha and cupuaçi ice-cream. He used plenty of typical ingredients from his home country, including tonka bean, açai berries, baru nuts, the toothache plant…
International cooperation on the menu at eat! BRUSSELS
eat! BRUSSELS also provides Brussels International with the opportunity to meet the official delegations of its partners. This year, we welcomed representatives from Chennai, Paramaribo, Xi’an, Mazovia and Sofia. Among other things, these exchanges enabled us to make headway with our development cooperation projects with Chennai and Paramaribo.
Save the date: next year’s edition will take place at Tour & Taxis, from 3 to 6 September 2020
This was the last year that eat! BRUSSELS was held in the Park of Brussels. The time has come for a well-deserved overhaul. The travelling festival, which was first organised in Bois de la Cambre, will move again in 2020 to the Tour & Taxis freight station. Save the date of next year’s flavoursome festival, from 3 till 6 September.