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Restaurants

De Kwizien, Lady Chef of the Year

Belgium could be famous for so many things, yet the ones that are mostly catching the tourist attention, are hardly the things making the Belgians most proud. There are a few exceptions like waffles, chocolate and beer, but underneath the lacy cover of the obvious, there are so many other remarkable things to discover. I don’t know how many people may be considering Belgium the culinary capital of Europe, yet there is a constellation of rising young chef stars, opening trendy restaurants and delighting the eager guests with stunning dishes and modern and fragrant cuisine.

De Kwizien restaurant in Hasselt is one of these creations. Charming, family restaurant with a central open kitchen and surrounding tables hosting no more than 40 guests, the place looks open and bright yet cosy, intimate and embracing. Making a special reservation for a family birthday lunch, we have indeed chosen well, despite taking the risk of selecting an unknown restaurant. Starting with a traditional toast of champaign, enjoying each other’s company and sharing gifts and our love with the birthday quest of honour, could not have been done in a better location or accompanied by better celebratory food. Starting with small bites of various flavours as a compliment of the chef, the main dishes of the season menu placed on our table looked like a piece of art too beautiful to savour. But savour them we did, every bite bursting with flavour and harmonious perfection.

Looking around in the restaurant, we where initially surprised to see so many flower bouquets gracing the counter top of the kitchen. Have there been other festive celebrations next to the one of our own? But when the young lady chef, Anne-Sophie Breysem came go say hello and enquire if we have enjoyed the food a whisper settled around the table, that she is someone special, a rising star who only a couple of days ago has been awarded the prestegious Lady Chef of the Year title for her culinary accomplishments. Having tasted and fallen in love with her food, we completely understand why and we were trilled to see such a young lady receiving recognition for quality, creativity and class.

De Kwizien, is just one of so many delightful places to visit and it is a privilege and joy, looking underneath the obvious to be continuously surprised of the beautiful treasures that Belgian could offer.

Restaurants

Restaurant 6 Zinnen, Hasselt Belgium

It is a rear pleasure to walk into a restaurant on a casual Sunday evening and unexpectedly to be delightfully enchanted not only by the delicious food, but by the overall experience. Nothing has prepared us to what may lay ahead when stepping through the open doors of the 6 Zinnen restaurant in Hasselt. Yes, it has been our choice to test what the best rated, number one restaurant in the city has to offer. Looking for the perfect place for a family birthday celebration, we have decided a few days in advance to travel to the city examining if the location, the sphere, the food could eventually be suitable for a big family reunion.

Welcomed by the smiling face of the charming hostess, we were guided into the impeccably designed modern interior of classic turn of the century city house. Intimately arranged into separate dinning areas, the restaurant isn’t large. It reminds of the glory days when a well-to-do family will meet for a Sunday lunch served and catered by a butler and a kitchen staff. Not surprisingly, in this setting it is the young chef himself who suddenly steps out of the kitchen, bending over our tables, offering us a taste of the first exiting meal. What an honour and what fun!

Our Menu

  • Sweet Beetroot 7 Potato Canapé
  • Mackerel with lettuce 7 pickled beetroot
  • Beef, flat green beans, courgette 7 white cauliflower pure
  • Vanilla Peach Crumble
  • Vanilla Chocolate Ice-cream

 

The food is an utter delight. Deliciously balanced flavours of fresh local meat and seasonal vegetables, every bite singing to life. We often watch on TV renown culinary experts praising the intensity of flavour in cooked vegetables, but I must admit in all my restaurant dinning and international travels, I could never boast of any similar experience as enjoying tasting the vegetables in the 6 Zinnen Restaurant in Hasselt. Innovative, lightly cooked but fresh and deliciously sublime the theme of embracing nature at its best has been repeated over and over again in every single dish, in a well thought about and executed menu.

Enjoying the purity of flavour of the dishes on our table, we tend to forget that our dinner is a test, quickly turning in an unforgettable and unexpected romantic date. When was the last time when we were so much taken forgetting where we are, who we are and only focusing on with whom we are? This is the magic of the place. Letting go of reason and agenda, to submit oneself to an amazing experience and by tasting natures best be reminded of life’s best, which sometimes may sit just across the table.

Feature image source – 6 Zinnen

Restaurants

Althoff Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg

In a fantastic location overlooking the bay of Cologne and providing wonderful views of Cologne Cathedral, the Althoff Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg certainly knows to fascinate all visitors – may it be on a business trip, a city break to Cologne, or a wellness weekend.

Travelling abroad for a romanic weekend, always offers rest and enchanting adventures. Visiting, seeing and experiencing something new is as equally exciting as it is tasting something new.

During our stay at the Althoff Grandhotel Schloss Bensberg, just a few kilometres out of Koln in Germany, we had the unexpected pleasure to feel transported to the Mediterranean for a moment by treating ourselves to a few indulgent hours in one of the acclaimed hotel’s restaurants, the Trattoria Enoteca.

The warm colours, authentic aromas, finest ingredients and select wines together with perfect service provided a setting for an unforgettable visit. The food was surprisingly delightful, offering experience of the full range of the Italian cuisine — hearty dishes from the country kitchen, light dishes from the coast, and irresistible home-made pasta.

Our Menu

  • Melanzana alla griglia, Grilles sizilian eggplant with kefir, saffron-vinaigrette and herbs
  • Ragu di costine brasate, Braised loin rip ragout with tomato, herbs and handmade Pappardelle
  • Cassata alla siciliana, Cassata siciliana, ricottacreme, pistachiobiscuit, dried fruit praline and orange flower granitée.

 

We set our eyes on a simple menu, offering a burst of taste and an unmistakable touch of sophistication. Grilled aubergine salad, mouthwatering braised loin rip pasta, and a scientific experiment looking delicious dessert of ricotta creme and pistachio biscuit.

Beautiful, surprising and delightful. Combined with the breathtaking hotel country setting, this 17th century meddival abbey transformation into a luxurious retreat, has all the recommendations it takes to entice the imagination and amaze every guest.

Restaurants

Voltaire, Heverlee Belgium

As much as we love cooking at home, there are those moments when nothing compares to going out, sharing intimate time together and enjoying a meal. Luckily our hometown offers quite a variety of restaurants – from the classic French and Belgian cuisine to cosy Italian, intoxicating Moroccan, Greek, Spanish, Portages, Thai, Chinese, Japanese… the list is really long and the possibility to be pleasantly surprised endless.

After the long dark winter days today spring has reworded us with a first glimpse of what a sunny day really looks like. We have walked for hours in the forest, we have caressed the new fresh green moss, we have picked up flowers, we have smelled the new-born leafs, we have spoken deeply, we have laughed heartily and we have ended a beautiful morning in a near by restaurant. Voltaire did not disappoint. All shines away, we have chosen to go for a three course menu with a glass of champagne, white wine and red wine accompanying every meal.

Our Menu

  • Cheese croquettes, dry ham, fig marmalade, grapefruit and lettuce
  • Piepkuiken (spring chicken) and rosted potatoes in calvados sauce
  • Lemon cheesecake

&

  • Toni-fish tapanade rolls
  • Victoriabaas (Lake Victoria Perch), rosted cheery tomatoes, terragon potato mash and hollandaise sauce
  • Speculoos ice-cream in hot caramel sauce

Restaurants

Dining at BVLGARI, Milan

Resent business trip to Milan.

Only hard work and no time for sight seeing, yet a last minute purchase from the airport is letting me take Italy home with me. The choice was not easy. Do I buy a well-rounded and well-rested piece of ham? Do I go for the tempting varieties of chocolate delights? Butter cookies, espresso coffee or wine?

Isn’t it amazing how we all want to take all of Italy home with us. The gentle voices of the elegant women speaking beautiful Italian, the chivalrous gentlemen opening the door and insisting on carrying my suitcase. The harmonious splendour of the medieval buildings. The summer taste in every strawberry… And the food and the wine and the warmth in the people’s eyes and the liveliness and the cheer and the beauty that is all around.