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)

Cookware for life!

I am one lucky guy! You want to know why?? Not only was I fortunate to be surrounded by a group of lovely ladies like Ruth Sas (Niente di particolare), Kim Recour (Cookanista) and Caroline Dhont (Avocado van de duivel). On top of that I got to visit the Demeyere factory!! This is so special as they don’t have that many visit opportunities so this was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

DEMEYERE7

For my foreign readers the name Demeyere  might not sound familiar, so let me give you a short (or at least I’ll try to keep it short) introduction. Demeyere  is company making high quality cookware since 1908 and makes 98% of its products in Belgium or better in Antwerp (I bet now all know where I’m from 😉 ). Initially their factory was in the heart of Borgerhout/Deurne (just outside the Antwerp City center) where they until 1967 mostly made tableware as cookware and the kitchen in general didn’t have the central place back then as it has now. In 1980 they moved to their current location Herentals as they needed more space to be able to perfect their production process and expand the production itself (FYI, still in Antwerp Area). Today their Herentals factory is around 30 000m², so I don’t have to explain the progress they made over the years and they keep investing in the future of the company.  Demeyere  was also the second company in the world to start making cookware in stainless steel and a thermal base. (I didn’t know this before my visit). Currently the company is lead by Christophe Demeyere who is the 4th generation and took over the leading position from his father in 2008.

Christophe Demeyere

Demeyere Herentals 4

It is indeed true that buying a Demeyere   pot is quite the investment… In my personal case when I moved out of my parents’ house I “borrowed” a few  Demeyere  pots/pans from my mom (I’m pretty sure she knows by now she won’t see them back any time soon (unless she comes to have dinner at my place)). I know it might sound like a sales talk (and no, I’m not getting a discount from them by saying this)but when you buy  Demeyere  you buy it for life!! Already for the fact that Demeyere  gives a 30 year guaranty on every pot or pan you buy!! Yes 30, one has to be very sure of their product before giving that much guaranty… It still stays a big investment but it will last much longer than when buying ragular cookware. You could just do like me and ask for Demeyere  cookware for Christmas :-). FYI, the Young series by Demeyere is the affordable option in case you are just moving out of your parents’ house.

Young by Demeyere

I was already convinced, but the factory visit opened my eyes even more! Unfortunately I wasn’t allowed to take pictures during my visit (but I did get my hands on a few to get a small view behind the scenes), because it is quite impressive to see how a flat piece of steel gets transformed into a usable pot/pan. I am always so amazed by the machinary used to make something, I think it must be a great feeling inventing/building machines like that.  When wanting to make a good product it all starts with using the good base materials.  Demeyere  uses stainless steel (in addition with cupper in some cases) as a base, which already differentiates them from the “regular” brands you’ll find around as they mostly use aluminum, which is cheaper, but less sustainable.  Before a piece of cookware leaves the Demeyere factory they will ALL be “used “1 time… not really for cooking, but they heat the pot or pan to a temperature of 250°C and cool it down to see if there are irregularities in the cookware base (bottom) to make sure that whoever buys the pot/pan will be able to have the ultimate cooking experience in the best conditions.

Demeyere Herentals 8

Demeyere Herentals10

Demeyere Herentals 7

Demeyere Herentals 6

Demeyere Herentals 5

Demeyere Herentals 2

Demeyere Herentals 3 Maurits Demeyere

One last thing I want to share with you (again something I didn’t know before) is how much thought and craftsmanship is put into the creation and design of every new pot/pan. Also how important the collaboration between the “architect” (like Stefan Schönig or John Pawson) and the engineers is to combine design and easy/good usability.  To give an example a regular cookware maker would just form a pot and leave everything as it is, at Demeyere  they will for example cut the edge of the pot in a particular way that if you are pouring a liquid fluid from your pot into something else the pot won’t be leaking afterwards (so no drops on the side of the pot)… just to give one example. or that there are no skrews from the handle visible in the pot itself as this could be unhygienic as “bacteria” could go under the skrews. My personal favorite set of pots and pans is the Apollo serie

Apollo serie

I’m always so proud when a small Belgian (Antwerp) company grows out to a company exporting its “Made In Belgium” products all over the world!! (Also great to know Christophe Demeyere  lives right around the corner of my street :-))

part of the Demeyere showroom

Don’t get me wrong I’m not saying normal cookware doesn’t do the job, as at the end it is the cook that will make the difference.  But when you use the better tools for some reason it always feels better … just like with a car a VW lupo drives fine, but a Audi A8 just drives better 🙂

Just try one and hope you’ll be as convinced as me….

Anyhow, good thing they had Roger Van Damme (Het Gebaar) there to sweeten our factory visit with some heavenly desserts!

Roger Van Damme

Summer dessert

Chocolat dessert

Proud to be a Belgian

One should always be proud of its local products! Me for example I ‘m very proud to be Belgian and Italian (I’ve got both nationalities). Lucky for me that these 2 countries are filled with products from a very high quality and that are world renowned! Yes both countries!! I’m sure you’ll probably be able to some up more Italian products than Belgian products or Brands. I think a reason for this might be that sometimes you know the name (or heard of it), but you didn’t realize that it is actually a Belgian product. A perfect example of one of these products is “Mandarine Napoleon”, I always thought it was a French brand… but boy was I wrong 🙂 This product is 100% Belgian.

For who doesn’t know “Mandarine Napoleon”, I’ll give a little history lesson which will explain more about the background from this drink of Emperors.  What you first of all need know is that “Mandarine Napoleon” is a Belgian fruit liqueur. Although the liqueur originates around 1892, it was actually much earlier that the “foundations” for this liquer got discovered. Around the end of the 18thcentury and begin of the 19th century one of the main ingredients of “Mandarine Napoleon” (Mandarins 🙂 ) were seen as a luxury product as they could only grew in China and you can imagine how long a boat trip from China to France around 1769 would take. A bit later they discovered that mandarins could also be grown in places like Corsica, Andalusia or Sicily (basically they need very hot temperature to grow). One day a guy named Antoine-François de Fourcroy (aka Napoleon Bonaparte’s doctor) had the idea of soaking mandarins in a mix of alcohol and cognac (and of course distillate it). I’m not sure, but I also think it was because the mandarins were already cheaper than the time they had to be imported from China (so more affordable)so easier to start experimentig with them. FYI I’m imagining a dude with long white curly hair and white tights, you know like the English people in the House of Parliament in front of a copper distillery. I know this is not relevant info, but I needed to share it :-). (But the picture below shatters the image in my head) Anyhow, so to make a long story short, Napoleon tried the “drink” made by Mr. de Fourcroy and liked it a lot and dranks lots of them during his life! As I said it was after that only around 1892 that the Froucroy family (Belgians from around Brussels) decided that refine the Antoine-François’ drink by adding herbs and spices (the same recipe still gets used today). This resulted that on today’s day Napoleon gets exported to 137 countries and gives everybody who drinks or tastes it the same pleasure it gave Napoleon Bonaparte 200 years ago (maybe even more, because of the extra ingredients)….

What a nice piece of history, isn’t it? I have to be honest that I had never tried “Mandarine Napoleon”, not until last week that is! Last week the owners from “Mandarine Napoleon” had asked the Belgian/Dutch from Antwerp Michelin star awarded and Njam chef Roger Van Damme (het gebaar) to create 2 desserts that would match with a glass of Mandarine Napoleon on the rocks and with a cocktail based on Mandarine Napoleon. FYI, for making the cocktail they had asked the renowned Manuel Wouters (who knows really everything about cocktails) from Sips bar, who made a really beautiful and yummy cocktail (one of those that you don’t notice that you’re drinking alcohol)

It is obvious that it wasn’t an easy job for Roger to find and create a dish with this Liquor (or any drink for that matter), but during a small workshop in his kitchen Roger told us how and which steps he took for making this exquisite and beautiful dessert(s). Something he didn’t want to do was serve us the obvious, which would have been dark chocolate (just think of the orange filled cookies they sell in the supermarktet). So Roger started looking further and looked at what ingredients (or some of the ingredients) that get used to make “Mandarine Napoleon” besides mandarins.

All this brainstorming resulted in a heavenly dessert with some the softest ice I have ever eaten! As surprise they also filled the ice cream ball with an extra flavor (when you cut the ball in two it looked like a boiled egg) . When eating dessert is was like a party in your mouth. A mix of sweet tastes from white chocolate combined with fresh flavors from mango and passion fruit with from time to time a salty taste in between that accentuates the flavor of the chocolate…and those are only a few of the flavors I tasted. To make the experience of the dessert ever better they served the dessert on a plate (I might even all it a box) that had all the ingredients from “Mandarine Napoleon” under it. This way you could experience the smell (as you know from my Foodpairing blogpost you taste mostly with your nose) from the ingredients and gives another dimension of tasting the dessert.

The second dessert were actually pancakes that got pimped with Mandarine Napoleon, this to show that food doesn’t have to be complicated to be good and tasty. (This dessert reminded me of Crêpe Suzette, but without the ice cream)

I wasn’t really a Liquor lover in the past, but Roger and Manuel did a good job convincing me to try Liquor more often 🙂 Thank to both of them and also to Mandarine Napoleon to let us have this great experience. It are products like this that make me very VERY proud to be a Belgian!

Btw, if you also want to try the desserts, you can always go to restaurant ‘Het Gebaar’ and hope these desserts are on the menu :-). If you want to try Mandarine Napoleon, you can find it in most supermarkets  ….

Mmm, what a long post, but now I’m sure you get the whole picture 🙂 🙂

Tomorrowland with a Gastonomical touch

Who knew a Festival could get a Gastronomical touch? When I think of a festival, I usually think of hot dogs, hamburgers, French fries… but certainly not of gastronomy

This year Tomorrowland decided to combine dance music with good food. During the 3 days of the festival from 27 to 29 July you’ll be able to enjoy all kinds of gastronomical food, going from a healthy or gluten free snack to a three to Michelin star meal.

Please find below a list of the gastronomical delicacies you’ll be able to enjoy during these 3 days:

Vegetarian and gluten free:

One of THE Belgium’s healthy food ambassadors Alain from the Antwerp veggie Walhalla Lombardia. FYI for the 2009 edition of tomorrowland he made a special ‘Tomorrowland Magic Mushroom’ per request of Moby. For people wanting their gluten free meal, they can already reserve it or request more info via lombardia@tomorrowland.be

Refined dining

Tommorowland also thought of the people wanting something more refined. These people will  REALLY get spoiled.

At the main stage you’ll be finding nobody less than Wout Bru with his team from the Michelin star awarded restaurant Chez Bru (located in South of France). Here you will be able to try a top dish with a nice glass of wine. For Wout, this is not the first visit to the festival, last year he served more than 1000 meals in 3days.

For our friends with a sweet tooth Tomorrowland has asked Master pastry chef Roger van Damme from restaurant ‘Het Gebaar’ (FYI, he has the only Michelin star restaurant in the world that is only open for lunch). He will be in his ‘peperkoekhuisje’ aka the house of cake from the fairy tale Hansel and Grettel , where he’ll be serving a dessert specially created for Tomorrowland

For those who want the TOP OF THE BILL, they can go for the 3 Michelin star 7 course meal at a for the moment still secret location and chef at the festival (my personal guess would be Sergio Herman)  Unfortunately only 8 lucky people will be able to enjoy this meal. What makes it even more special is that you cannot buy the seats for this meal, you can only win them. On top of the gastronomical dinner, you’ll also be getting some FULL MADNESS COMBI (VIP) tickets for the festival. More info on this later.

And as if this was not yet enough, they Tomorrowland has also forsee a Cocktail bar, where Manuel & Olivier Wouters from cocktail bar Sips will be showing the art of making cocktails (and letting everybody drink them aswell of course).

Hope this will make your Tomorrowland experience even more unforgettable! This even makes me want to go 😉

WHAT DOES THIS ALL COST?

A ticket for both restaurants (Wout Bru and Roger van Damme) can be booked via http://www.tomorrowland.be/. Wout Bru will be serving 3 dishes  for 27,5 EUR (includes a glass of wine), Roger Vandamme will be serving his dessert for 17,5 EUR including a glass of dessert wine or a cup of coffee. I’d advise you to be quick, as there limited seats available

Enjoy