After Piemonte, now time for some Nebbiolo delle Alpi at Mamete Prevostini

A few weeks ago it was time for my yearly trip to my beloved Valtellina (to see my Nonna), with this year a little detour via Trieste (to visit my dear zia Livia) and a pitstop in Franciacorta (near Brescia).  As I got accompanied by my dad and stepbrother, this year’s trip was a more gastronomical version 🙂 . Nevertheless with whom I’m travelling, a yearly returning event is me visiting a new vineyard in Valtellina. With new I don’t necessarily mean one that doesn’t exist very long… but rather just one I haven’t been at before. This year I finally managed to visit the winery of Mamete Prevostini. I say finally, because unlike all the other wineries in Valtellina that are located between Tirano and Sondrio (roughly spoken), their winery is quit outside of the Sondrio area near the very charming little village of Chiavenna and not too far from the Como lake.  The area still falls under Sondrio jurisdiction and it technically speaking just at the other side of the mountain (in a matter of speaking), but is just quit the drive to get there.

The fact it was so ‘far’ from the others intrigued me for a long time… Maybe it was also the trigger for wanting to visit them… that, and the fact they make extrodinary wines. During previous trips it wasn’t easy to fit a visit in my trip, so this year I build my trip around the visit and make everything fit around it 🙂 .

An interesting finding (but then again that is the reason why one visits a winery :-)) was to find out that it all actually started with their restaurant and next to that they were making  a small wine production for own use to  eventually become major winemaker in Valtellina.  This story immediately made me think about the one I heard a few months ago at Gaja (funny enough also producers of Nebbiolo wines) where they also started with an ‘osteria’ that eventually grew into a major winery (and even around the same period in time). The only difference being that Gaja’s guests were mostly people wanting to cross the river, at Mamete is was to cross a mountain 🙂 .

If you are ever in the neighborhood I do recommend  you stopping at Mamete Prevostini!! For their wines obviously, but also for their restaurant Crotasc (located next to the winery).  The meal we had there was without doubt and exaggerating AMAZING. Dishes made with top quality ingredients (prepared how they should be),  very friendly and competent staff and a very nice wine selection (Next to their own wines they also have a very nice selection of both top wines from their colleague winemakers in Valtellina, but also from the rest of Italy).  Combine all of the above mentioned with a cozy authentic location (old and new interior design styles combined) and you have a winner (or at least for me)!! Maybe I should plan my next trip to Valtellina around a stop at this restaurant 😉 . The dishes on the pictures below might seem regular, but I can say for a fact I could have licked my plates clean. All accompanied by a very nice 2015 Sommarovina (Valtellina Superiore) with on the nose herb/balsamic aromas combined with a firm palate of dried black cherry and I might even say mocha.

Techically speaking the history of Mamete Prevostini started around the 1960’s, but it wasn’t until the moment Mamete took over the torch in the late 1980’s from his father that the way of winemaking started to change. It must be said that this was the case in many wineries in Valtellina, as before they opted quantity over quality… luckily thanks to people like Mamete (and some of his colleagues) they started understanding ‘Quality’ was the way to go 🙂 .

Mamete’s arrival brought many innovations both in the cultivation of vineyards and in winemaking. With a very recent highlight or better latest innovation, in 2013,  their CasaClima Wine Cellar. CasaClima basically stands for sustainability and eco-friendly . At Mamete Prevositi they see it as their responsibility towards the future and it’s new generations to treat nature with respect and try to pollute as little as possible.

The CasaClima is not open for public, so you can only visit their historical cellar… but is also very charming to visit, especially if you have the lovely Daniela showing you around 🙂

Mamete’s vineyards are spread over 2 area’s (or that’s how you could see it). The first and smaller area is close to their historic winery in Mese or better in Piuro. At this vineyard they cultivate the Gewurztraminer and Riesling grapes for their Passito. All the other grapes are cultivated in vineyards spread between Sondrio/ Montagna In Valtellina and Tirano. This is also why they decided to build their new wine cellar closer to where all the grapes are, to avoid stressing the grapes but also to pollute less by avoiding use of all trucks driving for the vineyard to the historical winery.  Which all fits in their vision of trying to be very ecological.  95% of grapes they grow are obviously Nebbiolo (or Chiavennasca as they call it in Valtellina), the remaining 5 procent are Chardonnay, Sauvignon, Rieseling, Traminer, Pinot Bianco and Incrocio Manzoni for the few white wines they make.

Something I cannot say enough (and I repeat myself) is that next time you drink, buy or want to drink or buy a wine from Valtellina and are wondering why they have a ‘higher’ price… you must actually ‘Google’ the words ‘Valtellina vineyards’ and take a look at the pictures that are presented. Unlike in many other wine producing areas, for winegrowers in Valtellina it’s not possible to use machines to do the grape picking for them… ALL IS DONE MANUALLY  ( for the whole 6000ha of land in Valtellina where grapes are grown). And all of this is even before all of the work in the cellar has to get done. Respect!!  In case Googling is not your thing, feast your eyes on below pictures.

The wines Mamete Prevostini produces all have a very distinct and unique character . I would say a mix of elegance, finesse, power, for a great interpretation of Nebbiolo in Valtellina.  Lucky us for beeing able to try them all 🙂 🙂 under the  expert guidance of Daniela. FYI Daniela has only recently joined the Mamete team, after finishing her studies (not in wine). Although she has only been working here a short period of time (and even in wine in general), I must say she sounds like a real pro who has been in wine for many years (but I guess that’s what happens when you do something with passion).

Starting with the young wines, to the classics, through the cru’s and reserves to finish with an apotheosis aka their Sfurzat wines!! What a tasting 🙂  Even when you taste their young wines you feel the potential they have… so you can imagine how it was to taste the big guns. If I would have to pick a favort I would go for the ‘Valtellina Superiore Riserva’ that in my opinion had everything I like in a red wine: well balanced palate alongside fine-grained tannins and bright acidity!! Real beauty.

I would be a big liar if I would say the Sforzat wines (Corte di Cama and Albareda) didn’t do me anything as they are some of the best I’ve ever tasted. I was astonished  by the freshness they still have in them. I mean it are wines that have been ‘aging’ for almost 3 years.  Very delicate aromas and concentrated palate. But if you really want to know if I’m right or not… only 1 thing to do… or maybe 2:  to either traval to Valtellina or find out where they sell these beautiful wines close to where you are living and by it 🙂 🙂

I could keep talking, but one has to stop somewhere…



Tour de France without bikes but with wine and food

Travelling on an empty stomach isn’t advisable or at least I would never do it :-). So before setting sail towards Beaune Carlos and I decided to enforce our inner person in a local eatery recommended by locals (in this case Laure and Florie). This brought us to ‘La Ruche’ in the heart of the Cornas town centre (Cornas city if you will ;-)). La Ruche means ‘beehive’ in English, this is also why the restaurant’s logo is a part of a beehive…(I’ve been told the story about it, but I can’t remember :-() We were not sure what kind of food to expect , but in the end it was exactly the kind of food were craving and looking for (comfort food with high quality ingredients)… Simple, very tasty and accompanied by a good glass of local wine… Sweet as honey (to keep it in the ‘bee’ theme 😉 ) Their nice interior and the lovely young lady behind the counter were a bonus. 😉






Not that we were in a big hurry, but as we still had to drive 3hours towards Beaune we didn’t want to take too long to eat. This is why we chose La Ruche’s lunch menu (the other dishes on the black board also look appetizing) existing out of a main dish and dessert (we also got some njammy homemade Humus as taster). As main dish we were served was Codfish with a parsnip purée and Jerusalem artichokes with which I took a refreshing glass(es) of white Viognier by Alain Jaume . Our dessert was an all time favorite, a ‘moelleux au chocolat’ made with the local Valrhona chocolate from Tain-l’Hermitage (15minutes from Cornas). A nice glass of Port (a Vintage or Colheita), Madeira of Sherry (Oloroso) would have made even more perfect… but sometimes one just doesn’t have to exaggerate 🙂 🙂 This was only day 1… I know you normally should see every day as your last day, but my cholesterol sometimes things otherwise 😉




If you are ever in the neighborhood, I definitely recommend you to make a stop at La Ruche because you won’t regret it!!

Up to Beaune …


La Ruche

Address: Quai du Docteur Jules Bouvat 13, 07130 Saint-Péray

Phone n° : +33 (0) 982 404 438

My favourite places combined in 1: the food part

A reason besides surfing to visit San Sebastian would be the food!! San Sebastian is for me one of the culinary highlights of Spain and it seems the Michelin guide agreed with me as San Sebastian has the biggest amount of  starred restaurants in 1 city per X  inhabitants. They have for example 3 three Michelin star restaurants (Arzak, Akelare and Martin Berasategui), Rekondo a restaurant with one of the most incredible wine cellars for old Spanish wines you’ll ever see (in the sommelier’s world an institute) and only 15 minute drive of one of the best fish restaurants in the world aka restaurant Elkano (to name a few) . I behaved!! YES I did!! I wanted to try all of these restaurants, but I promised my wife I would take a hold of myself. Now I have the perfect reason to go back with my favourite partner (after my wife) in crime to go to good restaurants aka Carlos 🙂 🙂 (YES Carlito prepare yourself for another trip after our next trip to France 😉 )

Martin Berasategui

So to keep my promise I asked a few Spanish friends of mine which pinxtos (tapas) bars they would advice me to try (THANKS again César and Jaime). In Spain every tapas/pinxtos bar has one or more tapas/pinxtos it is famous for and it therefore is a habit to change bar after having tried their best one(s).The only problem being in our case was that the places we went to had such a great and big selection, that by the time we tried everything we wanted we didn’t feel going to another bar anymore (already ate too much 😦 )… with as exception to one night where we obliged ourselves to do it the Spanish way and move to another bar after 1 pinxto. What my wife on the other hand didn’t always like was the standing up to eat… and the ones where you could sit down were indeed the most popular with most non-Spanish people.

We liked all the tips Jaime and César gave us, but there are always places that are liked more than others…The pinxtos bars we enjoyed the most were Zeruko, Bergara and Zazpi. They were just more special and gave that extra attention to their pinxtos/tapas. This is also why we ate more than once in these places and I think we tried almost everything they had displayed or on the menu (no not greedy). FYI in these Pinxtos bars you can also sit.

Bar Zeruko was the bar with the biggest and most advanced (modern) pinxtos. They didn’t have the classic pinxtos you can find in all the other bars you’ll find in the old part of town. They thought out of the box and tried (and succeeded) with use of local ingredients making special pinxtos and serving them with a little sauce or serving them to get a different eating experience. With the last I mean for example that they serve it like you would get it at a Michelin star awarded restaurant with for example a smoking plate or used special food pairing techniques… hope the pictures below show you what I mean!? If not, just go there and see for yourself 🙂 or look on their facebook page. Do try the Bob-limón as a dessert!!

Zeruko 01

Zeruko 02  Zeruko 04

Zeruko 03


zeruko 11

Zeruko 07 Zeruko 09

Zeruko 10

Bar Bergara on the other hand served more classic refined homemade pinxtos. What made them so special was that you could just taste they were all made with fresh ingredients and sometimes they did give some combinations you wouldn’t immediately expect to be good. Even something as ‘simple’ Iberian ham croquet, where most bars wouldn’t even bother of making them freshly and just buy them “freshly made” Bergara prefers making them themselves… but I’d choose homemade ones over the factory made any day!! They are so much more ‘moelleux’ and tasteful. It of course didn’t stop here… each single pinxtos was a delight to taste! Do try the Bakalao ajoarriero!!

 Bergara 04

Bergara 01


Zazpi was a place we looked up ourselves and was also a big surprise. When we entered we weren’t sure what to expect as unlike in most pinxtos bars at Zazpi there were no pinxtos on the counter yet (besides olives and a tortilla). Again here we tried ALL their pinxtos (or almost) + salted potatoes with garlic mayo 🙂 (no, not the patatas bravas) and still don’t regret it one bit!! We did start of slow with only ordering 2 croquettes to see how they were, but my wife was so greedy she ate both of them 🙂 🙂 No, I’m just kidding… she was just so hungry that I gave mine to her and decided to order all the rest from on the blackboard for me :-). Here again they were able surprise me in the way of serving and the full taste of every pinxtos. My favourite however was the ‘’Cubo de Panceta’ as the taste in some way reminded me a bit of one of my all time favourite dishes Rendang (Indonesian dish)… but everything we got was very tasty no doubt about that.

Zazpi 01

Zazpi 02

Zazpi 03

The restaurants that are still on my list to try the next time I get to San Sebastian can be found below and are all tips from 2 guys who know their gastronomy and therefore I don’t doubt the level of the list below is exceptional… so if you get to try them before me, let me know 🙂

I was surprised there was such a big bread culture in San Sebastian. I love bread so this made me a happy camper!! With bread culture I mean that they have different kinds of bread in all their bakeries and there were lots of bakeries in San Sebastian. One of our favourites and our fix value for lunch during our stay was “The loaf”. One of those places where you cannot pass without walking in and having the thought you immediately want a piece of bread or cake 🙂 . For our lunch I would always buy some fresh cute ham from a local butcher, one sliced whole-wheat bread (pan integral in Spanish) and as dessert a brownie with nuts… to eat it on the beach… talking about lunch with a view (our view on picture below).  We also ate at Loaf itself once… also very nice I had a BLT sandwich and orange cake and my love had a grilled cheese sandwich.

The loaf 04



The loaf 01   The Loaf

The loaf 03


San Sebastian is a true paradise for people who like eating as much as I do!!

To be continued….

Roadtrip with my dad: the non- vineyard part

Finally you might say 🙂  I think or no I’m actually sure Tuscany is the most talked and written about region in Italy… writing something new would therefore indeed be difficult, but this doesn’t mean we cannot share our experience! Does it? This trip to Tuscany wasn’t the first trip, I’ve already crossed it quite a few times.  The thing I don’t like about traveling to Tuscany is the amount of tourists  (just double the amount of people you’re imagining). That’s why I prefer traveling to the regions around Tuscany that are more or less the same when it comes to landscapes. BUT there for some cities  you just have to go to Tuscany to see… you can’t get around it!! Like Siena, Firenze, etc… Most of the cities we went to this time I already visited in the past, but when the occasion presents itself are to be revisited…This time our trip guided us to Firenze, Lucca, Pisa, Volterra and San Gimignano. I’ve never been a Firenze fan though (I have the same feeling about Paris). I know it has beautiful buildings and all, but for some reason the city doesn’t float my boat :-). Or maybe it is because it is soooo busy?? I remember being there once with school and everybody was telling me about how long they had to wait in line to see “Davide” (can be found in Accademia di Belle Arti Firenze)… the thing that I’ve been wondering ever since is how I managed to get in and out in just a few minutes??? (I think walked in via the backdoor… I can’t find an other explanation .) For people who want to see Davide and don’t want to wait in line, outside there is a replica. (Not sure what Ignace was trying to grab on the picture below 😉 )











What does float my boat is visiting small picturesque towns like Volterra, Lucca and San Gimignano (or in southern Tuscany Pitigliano, Saturnia,…) that even-though they aren’t as big or well known as for example Firenze,  to my opinion are as magnificent! First of all they are less touristy, feel very cozy and mostly have amazing panorama’s as they are 9/10 located on top of a hill. The only “disadvantage” about them being on top of a hill is that there are not “flat” streets… but hey, this means we’ll have to spend less time at the gym ;-).







20140423_174304 Voltera 8 

Voltera 11

Voltera 14

Pisa is maybe the city in Tuscany where I have to most mixed feelings as besides the square where you have the leaning tower and the Duomo it stops… unless I overlooked things the few times I was there? Again the buildings are beautiful and you always wonder how they managed to build it??!! OK, it official now you guys think I’m a barbarian 😦 Of course when you are in the neighborhood a quick visit won’t hurt 😉 because although there nothing else to see (to my opinion) you have to have seen the real leaning tower…




I like seeing old buildings, get thrown back in history and walk around, and I don’t want to seem like a barbarian, but a good trip isn’t a good trip without some good food and wine…I do realize that I said I wouldn’t be talking about wine anymore, but hey that’s the way  the cookie crumbles 😉 My preference always goes to asking local people where I should be eating/drinking… the more typical we can eat the better (I mean I’m not travelling to Tuscany to eat Pesto Genovese or Mexican food…) AND the nr 1 thing to avoid is the so called “tourist traps”!!!  In this case it was Guiseppe Cantoni (from Fattoria Fibbiano) who was the source of gastronomical information in the area.

This lead us to some wonderful eateries that were exactly what greedy me and my partners in crime needed :-). Already from the moment we left home Carlos was “whining” about his quest to eatthe famous “bistecca alla fiorentina” (like a T-bone steak) during this trip… His request was my demand…so we went for a search of a good Fiorentina… Result of the search Osteria La Gattaiola. When you see an Italian “mama”  in the kitchen you just know the food will be great… what I found out in this restaurant is that there are more people like my dad… I mean with the same extreme energy and always joking around (comparable with Roberto Benigni in La vita e bella)… that was a loooooot of energy in 1 room 🙂 🙂 As if the 1,2kg Bistecca fiorentina wasn’t enough food for one night, we also needed to have a “small” antipasto just to get the appetite going… (FYI, I ate something lighter O:) )

gattaiola 1

gattaiola 2

gattaiola 3

Our table for the night

Gat 1

Gat 2

Gat 4

Gat 5

Gat 6

Gat 7

Gat 8

Gat 9

Gat 11 

Another restaurant I definitely would like to mention is ristorante La vallata… where besides there very nice typical Tuscany dishes prepared only with local ingredients (mostly from their own yard including the meat as they grow most animals themselves) and in a refined way .They also serve pizza’s… but not your average pizza…  pizza normally isn’t really to call special and yet at La vallata they manage to make it something special to also only using local ingredients to top the pizza’s like with dried duck ham, or Pecorino, pears, honey and Gorgonzola… or ‘Carpaccio di Chianina Rucola e Spolverata di Cacio di Pienza’ (all pizza’s)… I think we liked the restaurant as we went there twice in 5 days :-). They also have a very nice wine list also here only local producers (they also have Andrea Boccelli’s wine on the list) or own production with a very nice Nero Puro.

Valatta 1


Valatta 2

Valatta 3

Valatta 4

Valatta 5

Valatta 6

Valatta 8

Valatta 9

Valatta 10

Valatta 11

A few other places to try:

Enoteca Del Duca in Volterra: very good for refined Italian/Tuscan food

Voltera 9

Il latini in Firenze : just fun to eat here… no fancy or special food, hams hanging around and eventhough there is a menu you’ll have to eat what they tell you to 😉 Also they do have a nice wine selection, but standard they open a Fiasco of wine…(unless you specify you don’t want it)





L’osteria di Gianni Brunelli in Siena: good food with a great wine selection.

I really had a great trip and I would like to thank everybody who helped making it so wonderful!!! Traveling with the right people is always great 🙂 After trips like this I really wonder why I’m still living in Belgium and working with SAP:-) ???


The Bistronomy story continues

Sunday I was at the introduction of the already 3rd edition of the Bistronomie guide. I’m a fan of the bistronomie concept! No I’m not saying this because they invited me for the introduction…. I’m saying it because they (Steve, Johannes and all the chefs who are in the guide) have the same idea as me about food… Keep it simple and no nonsense. For me it all comes down to that as you now more than ever you see people all going and wanting to go back to basics. Everybody (including me) wants honest food, for honest prices and without too much fuzz. A good example would be restaurant Les Eleveurs that changed its concept from having a Michelin star into stepping in the Bistronomie “concept”. To quote Andy De Brouwer “the fact that I can wear a polo-shirt instead of a regular shirt is a huge difference”… there obviously is more to it than only the clothing, but I’m sure you know where I’m getting at 🙂

The fact that the Bistronomie guide every year has more restaurants in it proves that what I said before is right :-)…if you know which ones got added, only one way to find out 🙂 🙂 When I read through the guide I’m always surprised how many restaurants I already did, but even more how many more there are still to try…


In the hands of Belgium’s best sommelier

21-02-2014 09-56-44

I had been looking foward such a long time to have dinner at Sir Kwinten, the restaurant from the 2013 Best Belgian Sommelier (my blogpost)… but when the day was finally there I was feeling sick or rather at that moment not 100%  Not that this stopped me from going.  The partner in crime joining me was the one and only Bram Van der Aa (Also one of Belgium’s best sommeliers)… So 1 thing was already clear before coming here, I wasn’t going to pick the wine myself :-).


When ordering our food, I was still convinced I was able to manage it all. To open our taste buds they served us some smoked duck with young goat cheese accompanied with a glass of Argentinean sparkling wine made from 100% malbec grape (the colour was slightly pink) by Bodegas Alma Negra.  I could also have taking a glass of champagne, but when they suggest something special like this I’m always keen on trying it. Anyhow this was already a good start.


As First course I choose the catshark (funny that if I would translate its name from Dutch to English it would be dog shark 🙂 ) with a parsnip cream, Thai soup and sot l’y laisse. I was a big fan of the Thai soup, it had the coconut cream/light curry taste I like. Bram took the Beef cannelloni with crab, razor shell, a cream of artichoke and wakamé. By the look of his empty plate it wasn’t a too big struggle 🙂 with this our friend Yannick paired what looked like a bottle of Matteüs wein, (but luckily wasn’t) he paired a 2012 Hans Wirsching Silvaner.



As “in-between” dish was prepared according to a authentic recipe they had learned in Bologna: Ravioli stuffed with lobster, organic vegetables served with a consommé. Here Yannick want to test us (mostly Bram I think) on serving us to wines without telling us which ones… these (at the end) seemed to be a 2010 Bon Baron (a Belgian wine of high class I must add, we never guessed it was from Belgium) and a Sauvignon Blanc by Gross


For the main course I had the Guinea fowl with sweetbreads, a cauliflower and parmesan cream and hazelnut. Bram on the otherhand took a 2 months aged Holstein with béarnaise, hand cut fries and a garden salad both paired with a 2011 Dolcetto d’Alba Giuseppe Mascarello.



Unfortunately I was only able to taste all the dishes and wines and not able to finish all of them as otherwise my way back home would have become more adventurous as a safari 🙂 We also didn’t have dessert, what we did have was a glass of Riesling (Docil) by Niepoort (which really made me feel better that evening, but didn’t cure my illness unfortunately). I’m still feeling bad for not finishing everything 😦


The above did look tempting I must say!

The fact that the food tasted good now that I was feeling sick, I’m sure if you are healthy it can only be better :-)… But just to make sure I’ll have to come back and try Sir Kwinten, again when I’m feeling 100% 🙂 😉

Restaurant Sir Kwinten


Address: Markt 9, 1750 Lennik – Belgium

Phone n°: +32 (0)2 582 89 92+32 (0)2 582 89 92

2013 not over just yet

Huis van lede

My New Year’s resolution for 2014 will be to eat less at restaurants (When I said this last year, a few days later I booked a table at El Celler de Can Roca  🙂 ) and I’ll try to stick to that resolution… BUT it is not 2014 yet 🙂 So Last weekend I had a nice dinner with my buddy Bram (aka one of the top sommeliers @ Pazzo Antwerp). It was Bram’s turn to pick a restaurant and he picked “’t huis van Lede” which I had never heard off before. Sometimes I prefer not knowing something, this way the experience will be much better as you go there without expectations.  Something I should maybe also mention that the restaurant got awarded with 1 Michelin star, which is something if you enter the restaurant you wouldn’t expect as it is very unpretentious and not that fancy like usually is the case. I mean they don’t use tablecloths, they have very basic chairs, etc… Once you taste the food and see the wine they have you know why they have that Michelin star… and personally I prefer a low profile interior, this makes one feel more comfortable and/or cozy.

Huis van lede 2

Huis van lede 3


If I should describe the type of food they serve, I would say that they serve a classical kitchen with a bit of fine-tuning and replacing some “classic” ingredients with a ‘newer’ one. What I liked about this kitchen is the fact they didn’t hold back on the ‘real’ butter :-). Which doesn’t necessarily have to mean it is heavy food.  Picking what to eat was more than ever the most difficult part as again I liked everything on the menu. The dishes that stood out for me were as starter the ‘Fried langoustines, Iberic ham, croquette of pork leg and mustard, celeriac salad and puree of roasted onion’ and as main course the ‘Vol-au-Vent from range chicken, sweetbread, veal tongue, salsify and mushrooms with a mash from Rat potatoes’ (this just stood out as I love Vol-au-vent). Bram first had the ‘Goose liver cannelloni with scallops’ followed by the ‘Slowly in Westmalle beer cooked hare buttock with plum, black pudding, endive with fresh herbs salad and fries’.  Before we stared with all these treats we got a pigeon mousse taster… very light consistency, but very rich of flavor (great way to pet the taste buds).






I cannot speak for Bram’s dishes, but the combinations I had on my dishes I liked. The surf and turf in my starter worked just great, and  the combination of the croquette of pork leg, mustard and celeriac salad gave me a christmas spirit… when tasting it I pictured myself at a German Christmas market eating “sauerkraut with sausage”… So basically felt like a little holiday at my table ;-). For my main course the fresh grey shrimps and mousseline that came with the dish definitely did the trick for me and were as they say ‘the frosting on the cake’ :-).

To pick the wines I gave full trust to Bram as he for sure knows more about wines than me…Bram trusted sommelier Stijn 100% (who  Bram knows from when he was doing an internship @ 3 Michelin star awarded restaurant Hof van Cleve, and Stijn was their sommelier at that time) and gave him carte blanche with a glass of white wine for with the starters and a bottle of red for the main course. To make it more interesting Stijn never told us in advance which wine it was… For the white wines I have to plead guilty I forgot to write down which wines it were (but once I find out, I’ll share it). As for the red wine, Stijn couldn’t have done a better job as he gave us a 2010 Valpolicella by Pieropan which happens to be a wine of one of my preferred Italian wine regions (together with Piemonte and Valtellina  for red wines).

A dinner wouldn’t be complete without a dessert … I went for a dessert that my chocoholic fiancee would die for 🙂 chocolate mousse with a chocolate brownie, sour cream sorbet and vanilla caramel (FYI the chocolate mousse was served like a Melo cake with chocolate mousse instead of egg white and without the cookie). Bram picked the Dame Blanche or was it chocolate sauce with a  bit of ice cream 😉 .




To finish what was already a perfect evening in good company, Stijn had us taste a few of the many ‘Stählemühles’ AND still warm  Madeleines with he coffee (I like) . To make long story short Stählemühles’  is aquavit that comes in 1001 different flavors and combinations (just check pick from the closet) made by Christoph Keller and Christiane Schoeller  who Gin lovers will know from their gin ‘Monkey 47’. For the record I just had a sip of the aquavits 🙂





Restaurant ‘t Huis van Lede, a unpretentious restaurant serving honest food at a Michelin star level !

Enjoy !

‘t Huis van Lede


Address:  Lededorp 7, 9772 Wannegem-Lede – Belgium

Phone n° :  +32 (0)9 383 50 96

Bistronomie at its best

Les eleveurs logo

That I have a long restaurant wish list isn’t a secret, I literally have a spreadsheet subdivided per country and city which restaurants I want to do… you could see it as my list of how many restaurants to do before I ever die 🙂 and by the looks of it I’ll  be living for eternity ;-). Anyhow a restaurant that has been on my list for a while now is restaurant ‘Les Eleveurs’ lead by Andy De Brouwer who is already the 4rd generation  in the De Brouwer family  to keep the restaurant.

Old Les eleveurs

les eleveurs

Les eleveurs (2)

Maybe it was destiny, but there was no better time to visit restaurant ‘Les Eleveurs’ as lots of changes happend in its scenery as after a having had Michelin star and Andy being the Best Belgian sommelier, they changed their way of working and exchanged their Michelin starred food for an affordable and more basic Bistronomie cuisine. What this basically means is that they are a ‘bistro’ serving more gastronomical dishes than in a regular bistro, but still keeping it simple.  So I couldn’t have asked for a better table guest than Mr. Bistronomie himself Steve Engels 🙂

Bistronomie 2013

Something good to know before I go on is that ‘Les Eleveurs’ is a hotel and restaurant… so basically no excuses not to drink 🙂 that’s all I’m saying. I wanted to share this as with a top sommelier as Andy De Brouwer in the restaurant it would be a shame not to go 100% for the wines, beers and other great beverages (like Madeira or Sherry) they have.

Les Eleveurs’ Chef Nico Corbesier might be a lot younger than Sofie Dumont who used to be headchef at ‘Les Eleveurs’ (who decided to go her own way), but when it comes to experience Nico has already worked in lots of great restaurants and has been leading the kitchen upon Sofie’s maternity leave. I know it might sound cocky , but to my opinion age or where you learned how to cook or did chef school doesn’t really matter, it might influence you… you either have it in you or you don’t and I think Nico has it.

I don’t know if you guys like wild game dishes, but if you do it is worth to pass by ‘Les Eleveurs’  as they now have something called the “Wild Festival” (no, not the wet t-shirt kind). Basically they are serving different kinds of meat from wild animals (for the non-wild game lovers, they still have few other dishes on the menu). We took the tasting menu, this way we got to taste several things.

We started with an assortment of 4 pieces game pies with lettuce, red cabbage, celeriac and an authentic made remoulade sauce. With which Andy paired a white2011 Spanish El Pajara.

game pies

We continued our meal with a “vol-au-vent” of pheasant that Andy served with a Lustau Solera Reserva . A combo of one of my favorite dishes and one of my favorite drinks… so an easy score 😉

vol au vent

The main course of the evening was a deer loin with beetroot, pomegranate, truffle potato(purple), red onion and cherry sauce that got paired with a herby and bit stronger wine what is needed for piece of meat like deer loin (but not tooooo strong dough). It was  a French Malbec, Les Escures by Mas Del perie

deer loin

To finish this wonderful meal and evening we were served a nougat ice cream with quince and nuts that got served with a Gran Riserva PX by Toro Albala so basically stuff I like… because of the PX grape it is of course a sweeter drink, but a nice sweetness and not a toooo sweet drink.

nougat ice cream

Technically speaking ‘Les Eleveurs’ can be taken of my wishlist, but I think I’ll keep it on there as I’m pretty sure I’ll wanting to come back here and the experience will be as enchanting as this time!

Hope when you get to go you’ll be having the same opinion as me, but I’m sure Andy and his team will do their best that you do.

Restaurant  Les Eleveurs:


Address:  Suikerkaai 1A, 1500 Halle – Belgium

Phone n°:  +32 (0) 2 361 13 40

Rock-fort the restaurant, not the beer

rock fort

I have been wanting to try restaurant Rock Fort for a long time but every time I wanted to go it was either fully booked or something came in-between or it was weekend and therefore closed… but like they say in Dutch “De aanhouder wint” which basically means if you try long enough eventually it will work 🙂 so after a few years I finally made it here thanks to a very good friend of mine who likes eating almost as much as I do 🙂

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Good thing we didn’t enter the wrong door, otherwise the bill might have been a big surprise as “Rock-fort” is right next to the 3 Michelin star awarded restaurant Karmeliet… and their entrance doors are next to each other. One thing is for sure, I’m not sad to have chosen the door of Rock-fort (Maybe next time I’ll take the other door 😉 ) as it reminded me of my all-time favorite restaurant Pazzo in Antwerp… it is not too fancy, modern and even trendy but with comfortable furniture and a cozy vibe (I loved their chairs!!) .The choice on their menu is just lovely  (with the keep it simple motto in mind) and they have a great selection of wines that can be taken either per glass of bottle and you get a great view of their open kitchen (it was separated by glass)… so basically the recipe for success and a great night out.

Rockfort 2 by cityzine

Rock fort by cityzine

Rock-fort is “subdivided” in 2 parts. The first part (where you enter) is the bar where you besides drinking (they have a big Gin collection) you can also have some tapas to go with your drink. The second part is the actual restaurant where you can see their “open” kitchen. The reason I say “open” is that the restaurant and kitchen are separated by a very big window, so let’s call it semi-open ;-). I actually like it when a restaurant has an open kitchen, this proves they have nothing to hide… (too bad I can’t show a picture, but you’ll see it yourself when you go)

Choosing what to eat is as always very difficult or maybe even more difficult than ever as everything on the menu looked so good and to make us doubt even more they also presented the Chef’s menu to us (which also sounded great)… in the end we took the Chef’s menu:

We received some homemade popcorn before to go with our glass of bubbles


We started with a Tuna tartar with cucumber and seaweed . A very refreshing combination I might add… I couldn’t imagine a better drink to go with it than a refreshing glass of 2009 Jané Ventura ‘Reserva de la Musica’ cava.


We continued with some scallops with a black pudding crumble, pumpkin and peas. I initially thought when they set the plate in front of me that it would be a dry dish, but I was very wrong it was a well out balanced dish and not dry at all 🙂 With this I drank a 2010 Morgadio Da Calcada Tinto. I know most people would drink a white wine, but this red wine was not too overpowering to go with the scallops.


Our main course was pheasant with chicory and earth apple (aka Jerusalem artichoke) cream. These are the dishes I just can’t get enough of 🙂 rich, full of flavor and the taste for more (that and stews). With this I went for a wine from one of my preferred wine regions, but made by a Belgian, it was a 2010 Langhe rosso from Le Cecche. One sip of the glass and you know why I like the wines of this region 😉


We finished our meal with a chocolate and figs dessert. Again a winner! I’m glad there was some fruit with it the refresh the dessert.


Moral of my story at Rock-fort, my fiancée can be glad this restaurant is closed over the weekend as otherwise we’d be spending lots of weekend in Bruges 🙂

Restaurant Rock Fort


Address: Langestraat 17, 8000 Bruges, Belgium

Phone n°: +32 (0)50 33 41 13


Date night in Ghent


I don’t know about you men out there, but I take my fiancée out for a date from time to time as even after being together for 14 years I still love spoiling her! It is a fact we see each other every day, but having a special night with just us 2  without having to cook  and getting served can be very nice. Don’t you agree?

This time I decided to take her for a night out in Ghent also known as the city where we lived for 2 years, it is a bit like going back in time. I took her to restaurant “Coeur d’Artichaut” located in the heart of the Ghent for dinner. It was the first time we ate at this restaurant, it did already exist when we used to live here, but we never made it here.. .BUT we did already have a meal made by the team from “Coeur d’artichaut” as they do the catering for the Liefmans Brewery and we once celebrated Valentine Day at the brewery. In the blogpost I wrote I said one day I’d be eating at the actual restaurant… and so a few weeks ago we finally made it there 😉

I do remember every time I passed by the restaurant it always looked very cozy and warm inside, so I hoped once I got inside it would be as I imagined it… it was.  I don’t know how I could describe the interior of the restaurant, a mix of old and newer I’d say :-).

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Their concept is actually eating healthy and showing the people this doesn’t necessarily means having boring low/light flavored food 🙂 and if you ask me they succeed very well in this “mission”… I have to admit that during my whole meal I felt like biting a piece out of the “pata negra” ham standing next to me 🙂 but I (or maybe it was my fiancée) was able to keep myself under control. What we did eat that night was as good as the ham probably was. We started with for me lobster with confit tomatoes, beurre blanc and hazelnut. My lovely fiancée had the terrine of foie gras with popcorn, mango and cashew. It tasted as good as it looked, maybe a bit too much foie gras, but who’s complaining 🙂 (Better a bigger portion than something to fill your hollow tooth)



We continued our meal with for me Cod with spice crust, whelks, a cauliflower and coconut cream and a curry mayonnaise. My fiancée took the Oven roasted figs with quinoa, goat cheese and crispy bread



Having a chocoholic fiancée I couldn’t finish this date with anything else than a nice chocolate dessert a white chocolate mousse with lychee, ganache and raspberry.


The perfect ending of a perfect night… it might have been the moment or the Romeo in me speaking, but my fiancée looked more beautiful than ever that night… (well she actually looks great every night)

Restaurant Coeur d’Artichaut


Address: Onderbergen 6, 9000 Ghent, Belgium

Phone n° : +32 9 225 33 18