One year older

The fun part about celebrating your birthday is getting gifts (no doubt about that!). When my fiancée asks me what I want for my birthday, my answer is usually the same… having a nice meal 🙂 FYI having a nice meal doesn’t mean it has to be a fancy restaurant, if it is that’s a bonus. For me the most important is that I get to eat/drink well and this in her company!  And ok, she spoils me a lot as she always gives me some extra presents on top of the meal. What did differ from last year was that this time I gave no tips on where I wanted to go, I just gave her the names of a few friends who could advice her where to take me (in case she didn’t know it herself that is), this way it stays a bigger surprise than when I give her a list of places…. It got proven once again that I’m a very lucky guy, she took me to “La Table de Maxime” in a little town near the Luxembourg border called ‘Our’. Even though it was ‘only’ for 1 day and night we were gone, it felt like much longer. La Table de Maxime is located in a green relaxing oasis… talking about the full experience: good food, nice drinks, great company and the outdoor silence. Some people might find it hard to believe I like complete silence, because I have the tendency to talk A LOT (I hate awkward silences)… but believe it or not I do love the sound of silence from time to time and I enjoyed every minute of it! I find it unbelievable that there are still places in Belgium where you hear NOTHING!! Like most restaurants in places like this, La Table de Maxime also has a few rooms to spend the night. Either you stay in one of the few rooms attached to the restaurant itself in the “La fabrique du pré maho” or alternatively in one of the rooms in a house they have 1km from the restaurant (that’s where we were) also known as “Les Jardins de Maxime” as this is where he also has a little vegetable and herb garden.

IMG-20140610-WA0002

IMG-20140610-WA0004

kamer

20140601_101905

IMG-20140610-WA0001

IMG-20140610-WA0006 

I can strongly suggest a nice walk, bike ride or visit to some of the little towns in the area like Rochefort, Bouillon (some nice cheese and beer makers in this area) or maybe a kayak sail on the “Lesse” is more something for you? ( I have already done it twice, the sunny day had my preference).

As if the fact that we were in such a relaxing place wasn’t enough, drinking a glass of a grand cru Blanc de blanc from Pierre Moncuit and getting our appetizers served in La Table de Maxime’s garden (or terrace, depending on how you see it 🙂 ) gave us an even bigger “on holiday” feeling as this was beautiful sunny day… I was also soooo glad my hay fever/allergy didn’t ruin the moment!!

IMG-20140610-WA0008

IMG-20140610-WA0009

20140531_193008

20140531_192917

 

20140531_192948

20140531_192954

20140531_193000  

La Table de Maxime either serves a tasting menu (3 – 5 course menu) or either you can choose ‘à la carte ‘ (with also other dishes than on the tasting menu)… Although I did feel like going the whole way, I decided not to as I’m trying to eat less (Not on a diet, but just watching out with my quantities 🙂 )… so we took the 4 course menu with wine pairing. There were a few Jean-Luc Colombo wines on the wine list that did catch my interest, but I always like to see and taste the wines the sommelier pairs with the dishes. We were served the following menu:

Trout fillet from the Ardennes with zucchini parfait, cucumber flower, a fennel gazpacho and puffed Beluga lentils. Served with a 2011 white Bordeaux (Chateau Penin)

20140531_203849

Birch syrup lacquered cod, poached Rhubarb with hibiscus, barigoule style artichoke, minted peas and dried ham. Served with a 2012 Riesling (Dirstelberg)

20140531_210258

Local veal with a wild garlic crust, green asparagus, morille mushrooms, capers, parmesan and fried Gnocchi . Served with a 2012 Sancerre (François Crochet)

20140531_215910

Wépion strawberries, lemon sorbet and emulsion, almond cream and Japanese pearls (FYI, no real pearls that is 😉 ). Served white an everybody’s friend a glass of Cremant dAalsace (Jean-Marc Bernhart)

 20140531_223919 20140531_223924

Overall a very refined meal with local products playing the main role in all dishes with lots of them grown in his own garden (I like, compliments to Maxime Collard). It is very satisfying when chefs are proud of their local/own products, especially when they have so many good ones!! BTW, I’m not sure what the sommelier’s name was, but for what I could tell he really seemed like a perfect “Best Belgian sommelier contest” candidate! (You could just feel his passion for wine when he was talking about them) He reminded me of some of the candidates from previous years and I think he would make a chance… nothing ventured, nothing gained I’d say…

I finished my meal with a nice tea to set the mood for a good night sleep…to eventually wake up with that same nice sound of silence (not taking the birds into account that is, I love the sound of birds in the morning)

People who have already met my fiancée will know that what I’m about to tell is true… I always look forward to my breakfast when I go to sleep, even more when I’m in a hotel!! Maxime’s breakfast met to ALL my expectations (I even didn’t want to take the time to take pictures). Something I must absolutely add is that La Table de Maxime has very hospitable people working for them that make on top of the good food and location this weekend get-away even more harmonious and worth a going/coming back place 🙂 (too bad I only have 1 birthday a year).

Thank you woman of mine for yet again a perfect birthday gift (on top of having you in my life every day that is….)

La Table de Maxime

Website: http://www.tabledemaxime.be/

Address: Our 23, 6852 Paliseul – Belgium

Phone n°: +32 (0) 61 23 95 10

Tomorrowland aka foodie heaven

Tomorrowland logo

I am pretty jealous of the people who went to Tomorrowland, not really for the music as I could hear that in my livingroom due to the wind direction and also I’m not really too much into the music they play… or at least not for 3 days in a row. I’m more jealous about the great selection of eateries they had!! Really!! They have really outdone themselves.

Did you know they even had a food inspector from the “Gault & Millau” guide quote every food stand and give it points? Of course there was a lot to give points to like the food stands in the International Street where you could taste Mexican, American, Greek, French, Spanish and (obviously) Belgian food. Or the fresh bakery shop… They also didn’t forget the vegetarians in cooperation with Lombardia.

Icecream

Hamburger Fruit

Bakery Baking fries

Belgian Beer

Belgian Waffles

Cupcakes

A reason I almost bought a ticket was the amount of top gastronomy present restaurant Wout Bru (Maison Bru *), Roger Van Damme (Het Gebaar *), Manuel Wouter (SIPS cocktail bar)

Wout Bru photo by Zita 2012 Maison Bru

Cocktails

The people who I envied the most were the people who got a spot at the secret restaurant!! First of all because having a dinner prepared by two 3 Michelin star awarded chefs Sergio Herman (Oud Sluis) and Jordi Roca (El Celler de Can Roca) and one of the few Michelin awarded “chocolatiers” Dominique Persoone (The Chocolate Line) and secondly to be in the company of yet another 3 Michelin star awarded chef Peter Goossens (Hof Van Cleve)… like food porn for me 🙂  Don’t get me wrong, the hamburgers would have also tasted well, but this is a different level of experience 😉 If only I won or was able to get a place at the secret restaurant…

Secret Resto view

Secret Resto Sergio Herman

Secret Resto food

Jordi Roca

Maybe next year they should have a special Gastronomical pass that one can try all food @Tomorrowland?

Congrats too the organizational team of Tomorrowland, you really did a hell of a job (also for the non-food part)