“The eat!Brussels concept is simply genius!”
Two loyal visitors of eat!Brussels and its village of the international partners, Aude Peduzzi and Renaud Lenne, are very enthusiastic about the festival. When and how did you find out about the eat!Brussels festival? On the Internet while looking to see what was on in Brussels. It was in 2012. The event seemed promising, we went on the first day. We liked it so much that we returned every evening and even spent the entire weekend there. Since then we have never missed a day of the festival! Do you know who took the initiative for the festival? And if yes, what do you think of the initiative? I know that the festival was originally created in 2012 during the Brusselicious year and that the Brussels-Capital Region and the City of Brussels organise it. I have no idea who came up with the idea to organise it. Whoever it was, please tell them thank you on our behalf! What do you like about the festival and what in particular is so appealing about the village of the international partners? The festival concept is simply genius: bring gastronomy to Bois de la Cambre, in a pleasant setting where you can relax in between two tastings. Gather twenty Brussels restaurant owners and ten international partners for a wide range of tastings of Belgian or international cuisine. And all this at an affordable price because everyone can choose what they want to eat and at what price: there are so many choices! The atmosphere is fun. All the ingredients for some good times. The festival also bridges the gap between restaurant owners and their clientele and is a perfect opportunity to talk to the participants and to thank a chef for the lovely experience we had. I really like the village of the international partners because it gives us the opportunity to taste some foreign specialities: it combines culinary discoveries with a cultural exchange. The partners who travel to Brussels are happy to be here and share their traditions with us! Is there one partner whose food appeals to you more? How would you define their cuisine? We are long-standing fans of the Szechuan stall since the first year they participated! Szechuan cuisine is jam-packed with peppery flavours and the dishes are often quite spicy. Renaud really loves Szechuan pepper. So obviously we took advantage of the unique opportunity to taste dishes that were prepared by the chefs of a restaurant in Chengdu. We even became friends with Chen Jing, the communications officer of Daronghe restaurant since the first year the festival was organised. We love meeting up with her again every year! How about this year? Did you make some interesting culinary discoveries? As was the case in previous years we focused on the stands of the international partners. Here are some of our favourite stops on our culinary world tour: In Szechuan, a peppercorn chicken that was both fresh and spicy, with the typical explosion of flavours for which Szechuan cuisine is so well-known. We love discovering new dishes, year after year. And tasting the famous dan-dan noodles of course! In Ljubljana, the tarragon cake, which was really surprising! I really enjoy discovering other ways of using products that we also use in our cuisine. In Mazovia, the traditional sauerkraut dumplings, with minced meat or mushrooms but we definitely enjoyed the sauerkraut ones. In Île-de-France, violet cider. We even enquired about the producer’s name! Have you seen the festival change over the years? This year the festival was renamed eat!Brussels, drink!Bordeaux due to a partnership with Bordeaux wines. Several Bordeaux producers organised tastings of their wines. Maybe other partnerships will be established in the next years but I don’t think that this changes the festival. On the contrary even. I think that over the years eat!Brussels is increasingly becoming a must attend for foodies who enjoy a pleasant atmosphere. Did you notice the stand of the Brussels-Capital Region? If yes, what did you think of it? Did you taste anything? Yes, the stand offered visitors the opportunity to taste the combination of a traditional Belgian product and an exotic product: chocolate and crickets! There were so many people that we were unable to taste it though. We only sampled the different types of chocolate they had. It is interesting to compare the different percentages of cacao as well as the different single-origin cacaos. Did you discuss the festival with your family, your friends? If so, what did you have to say about it? With everyone! And with so much enthusiasm that some of our friends from France may even join in the fun next year. This event makes people happy. I remember my first evening at eat!Brussels, in 2012. I had just moved to Brussels and I sent a message to a friend to say that I was falling in love with my new home already!