Yesterday the Beer Society of the Low Countries and Culinaire AMBIANCE elected Joachim Boudens as the new Beer & Gastronomy ambassador for 2013. For you who don’t know Joachim Boudens, he is the sommelier and co-owner from the 3 Michelin awarded restaurant Hertog Jan in Bruges. Joachim will follow up Jean Blaute (known from his tv show about beer “Tournée Générale”) who was last year’s ambassador. When they asked Joachim what made him serve more beer in Hertog Jan, he said that sometimes when they are matching food and drinks for their new menu wine just doesn’t do the trick. One day for example they had a dish with lobster and butter for which they just didn’t find good matching wine, what they did find was a cherry beer which happened to be the perfect marriage with this dish. So sometimes it is just “faith” pushing you in the arms of Beer… although what I think made Joachim (and other restaurants) choose more for beer on their menu instead of or next to wine is that sometimes it looks like foreign people are more proud and willing to put Belgian beer in the spotlight than Belgians who should actually be doing it! Joachim told a story that once he was eating a fellow 3 Michelinstar restaurant in NYC (I think he was talking about Thomas Keller’s restaurant, but not sure as he didn’t mention a name) that from the moment the sommelier/chef knew there were Belgians in his restaurant, he proudly presented them the beer list (from 30 pages) instead of a wine list with more than 60% Belgian beer (which he was sooooo proud of). On those moments you start thinking why aren’t we this proud about this product?? But it must be said that is slowly is changing and more restaurants (normal as well as top gastronomical restaurants) are offering a beer tasting together with their dishes.
The best part (as my throat was getting dry) of the awarding was after the ceremony as Gert De Mangeleer (chef and co-owner Hertog Jan) and his team had prepared matching dishes for the beers of one of my (if not THE) preferred breweries Duvel Moortgat . The beers we received (in the order we got them) Vedette, Liefmans Goudenband, Bolleke from the Koninck and a Duvel Triple hop (I like a lot). The matching dishes were not only a feast for the eye, but also for the taste buds. One of the dishes they served was THE (or one of) the signature dishes from Hertog Jan Potato, vanilla, coffee, mimolette. (It looks a bit like grits, but is much tastier).
Those were some njammy dishes; my personal favorite was the Avocado with a tomato powder crust and Fleur de sel (which came with the Vedett). I also couldn’t imagine a better way to taste this heavenly food and beer than in the company of Michelin star awarded chefs and sommeliers like Wouter Keersmaekers (Schone van Boskoop), Andy De Brouwer (Les Eleveurs) and the man of the hour Joachim Boudens (Hertog Jan) and having a talk about our favorite thing in life “Food”!? I can’t (ok maybe having my fiancée with me would have made it even more perfect). I also have to admit that I now also added Hertog Jan on my wishlist 🙂
BTW I was on the evening News yesterday and I have the picture to proof it 🙂 But you can also see it on the website of VTM nieuws (link) around 30:18min 🙂 ooooooooooh yeah baby (ok I didn’t speak, but you can’t deny the fact I was on TV)