Great Belgian Beer Dinner 2015
Author: Erik Verdonck / Published: 2015-04-30 10:47:15 +0200 / Last Updated: over 1 year ago
The composition of the dishes and pairings was well thought-out but unfortunately I had to pass on the last two courses or I would have missed my train. It turned out I was not the only one.
The 2015 edition took place in the Grand Hall of Leuven University, the former linen hall, just a stone’s throw away from Grote Markt and the City Hall, a pearl of flamboyant gothic architecture.
The list of participating chefs has grown from four to five and, for the first time, a patissier is taking part as well.
Chef Vincent Florizoone of Le Grand Cabaret in Nieuwpoort is orchestrating proceedings.
The other contestants: Wim Dejonghe of Het Land aan de Overkant (Leuven), Hans Lachi of De Rooden Hoed (Antwerp), Pascal Rubben of 't Molenhof (Oostvleteren), Sam Van Houcke of Onder de Toren (Hansbeke) and patissier Niek Bossaert of Bossaert Brood & Banket.
The cheese platter was selected by the internationally acclaimed cheese affineurs Michel and Frédéric Van Tricht based at the De Koninck brewery in Antwerp.
This year, in contrast to previous editions, all of the dishes will be served side-by-side in an open buffet. You have to follow the order of the menu but you won’t have to wait long before the next dish is ready to serve. One aspect has remained the same: the taste spectrum is explored to the full.
The ‘Harmony of home-made rillette of duck and smoked duck breast with a gel of Liefmans Fruitesse’ is paired with a Liefmans Goudenband.
The slightly sour touch provided by this Oudenaards bruin bier contrasts beautifully with the fatty meat and emphasises the sour aspect of the Fruitesse.
The ‘Razor of fennel, apple and parsley is calling out for an Oude Gueuze Megablend 2011 that was created thanks to the efforts of several geuzestekers.
A lovely pairing, as we often witness between fish, shellfish and crustaceans in combination with a gueuze.
Oven roast pork belly in a bouillon of West-Vlaams Oudbruin with nettles and carrots, covered in a herb crust accompanied by a mousseline made with Danko Power from the Struise Brouwers is done justice by the Embrasse made by Dochter van de Korenaar, a wood-matured, full-mouthed beer that veers between a dark abbey beer and a stout.
The ‘Geneugten van Ganda Ham’ (the pleasures of Ganda Ham) is accompanied by a darker St-Bernardus Abt 12 to reduce the saltiness of the ham.
‘Smoked eel, pomegranate, black radish with a jus of beetroot and hibiscus’ sounds promising. We are in for a dish of oily fish tempered by sharp and zesty flavours. In the face of this gastronomic assault, Girardin’s kriek more than stands its own.
The sourness of the kriek sharpens the appetite. At no point during the tasting of this menu did we feel sated. Every time we were keen, to sample the next round.
‘Hennepot’ prepared with SVEA IPA from the Struise Brouwers requires some explanation. ‘Hennepot’ is a preparation characteristic of the Poperinge region.
We are talking about veal, rabbit and chicken boiled in stock and vinegar, seasoned with white wine, lemon and herbs, all of it preserved in gelatin.
The well-hopped Zinnebir made by the Zennebrouwers from Brussels was selected to partner this characteristic dish from the hop-growing region.
We round off our meal with a ‘Cherry cool’ croquant, a crispy biscuit made with vanilla and almond, an olive oil cracker, a beetroot compote with granny smith, an infusion of krieken cherries and a whipped-up ganache made with chocolate from Opalys.
Now for the cheeses; the cheese platter, that includes a comté, demands a wood-matured dark Cuvée Zonderik. A great digestive beer to bring the evening to a close.
Afterwards, when mixing with the crowd, I overhear people saying ‘we should not agonise over beer’ and ‘let’s not analyse too much’. Also: ‘Let’s just enjoy it.’ Well, we certainly all did that.
Leuven Blog Posts
LEUVEN - Hordes of beer lovers are flowing towards Leuven. They come from all around Belgium and far beyond. ‘Zythos’ is an important event in the diary of every beer lover. ... [ read more ]
LEUVEN - Big, bigger, biggest... with around 17.000 visitors, it feels like the eleventh Zythos beer festival in Leuven is about to burst at the seams. Once the festival is in full swing, it is imposs ... [ read more ]
LEUVEN - As many as 79 Belgian breweries with 200 Belgian beers took part in the third edition of the international Brussels Beer Challenge. There was plenty of international ... [ read more ]
LEUVEN - Our passion for a good brew in the glass can make us forget that brewing beer is an important economic activity but Professor Jo Swinnen of Leuven University takes us back to reality. In his ... [ read more ]
You must be logged in to leave a comment
BASECLES - You may not have heard of this little village, halfway between Tournai and Mons. Its former quarries are now filled with water where the black marble that adorns Cologne Cathedral was once hewn; ... [ more ]
MELLE - Alain De Laet, CEO and owner of Brouwerij Huyghe, is a firm believer in the power of the Belgian beer brand around the world. The success of the brewery speaks for itself, with Huyghe be... [ more ]
SOIGNIES - Belgians drink their beer from the correct glass. An abbey beer tastes so much better from a traditional chalice, a pils beer from a pils glass... Only in Belgium, will you come across such a wide variety of b... [ more ]
WESTMALLE - Time appears to stand still in a Trappist abbey like Westmalle. However, appearances can be deceptive - even here the latest technologies are quietly creeping in. The abbey has an up-to-date ... [ more ]
The original name of this beer was IJzerenband (Iron Band). It used to be categorised as a 'provisie-bier' – a beer for storage – as it was slightly heavier in density and alcohol... [ more ]
Beer Tourism Newsletter Signup
Enter your name and email address on the right and click "SignUp" to join.