Culinaria 2013

The annual Culinaria in Brussels is back!

culinaria sign

Year number 5… and still going strong

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This year – hosted from the 29th May until the 2nd of June,  the theme employed was *pure street* – linking 30 top chefs with 14 street artists to create a space of food, art and fun. Held in the  Tour et Taxi building (albeit a bit cold and drafty – but who knew that May would still have weather like this???)

exterior of the front Tour et Taxi building
exterior of the front Tour et Taxi building
inside one of the halls - reminds me of St Pancras Station in London!
inside one of the halls – reminds me of St Pancras Station in London!

We had tickets to the opening night – 97€ per person (a bit on the steep side – but clearly it attracts a certain type of visitor) – this essentially got you the following tickets/cards in a little concertina booklet:

  • 1 mise-en-bouche (an appetizer from one of the up and coming chefs)
  • 5 meals (from one of the 10 well-known chefs)
  • 2 desserts (there were only 2 dessert stands)
  • 1 campari cocktail
  • Open bar (wine, beer and champagne) – only available on the opening night (the rest of the week there is 3-4 wine/beer tickets)
  • 1 Coffee
  • 1 Swiss Cheese (although we never actually handed over a ticket here either)
  • Options to attend any of the workshops in the Foodie Square (we signed up to the cocktail one – but more on that on a future post)
  • Viewings of Demonstrations through out the hall
  • unlimited water provided by Pellegrino
  • nibbles and snacks at some of the supporting stands

All in all – the taste explosions were phenomenal across all the dishes that we tried – but I can comment that for a well-fed gal like me – 5 tastings portions were a bit on the small side…

Another smart initiative was the wine matching menu at the bar… pick your

But details… photo’s… you want to see more – right?

Mr Draper and M accompanied me on this food mission – and all three of us were bowled over by the ‘t vijfde Seizoen (the fifth season) stand – where the chef Broes Tavernier served up an amazing piece of “Black Angus” raw (tartare) with a herring caviar and oriental spices. A definite 5/5 from all 3 of us.

delicious... delicious... delicious... more - more - more... i want more!
delicious… delicious… delicious… more – more – more… i want more!

the next item on my list (as we had been armed with a map and details of each stand) was the infamous Sea Grill, where Yves Mattagne provided a delightful bowl filled with a piece of ravioli filled foie gras, smoked eel and duck consommé. The Ravioli and the consommé were beyond amazing… while the eel left me feeling a bit let down. As a total dish however – it was fab! (funny story is that the guy standing in the queue in front of me dropped the bowl on the serving table sending the troop of chefs scurrying to clean up the mess… chef was not impressed and the guy who did the offending act didn’t even crack an apology… ??)

signage around the venue was pretty good!
signage around the venue was pretty good!
the little smoked eels...  topped with a gold mushroom
the little smoked eels… topped with a gold mushroom
THE dish
THE dish

My 2nd Main meal ticket was used to enjoy Pigeon with foie gras from chef Mario Elias from Le Cor de Chasse – this is the first time that I have tried pigeon and although exceptionally tasty – I am not sure that I would be willing to battle for this little piece of meat on such a small bird…

served on a disposible painters pallette!
served on a disposible painters pallette!

The 3rd (golden) ticket was given to Couvert Couvert, whereby chef Vincent & Laurent Folmer provided an interesting combination of a fried gaufrette (wafer) rolled into a cigar shape, filled with a cream, guacamole, sliced radishes and shrimps… and then topped with 3 fried shrimp heads. I passed on the crispy shrimp heads… and nibbled my way through this delicate and creamy treat. Verdict – nice and tasty but nothing something that blew my socks off.

can you spot the fried shrimps heads? Are they looking at you funny as well???
can you spot the fried shrimps heads? Are they looking at you funny as well???

Down to 2 tickets… I was hard pressed to find a plate that would satisfy my need of deliciousness – and guess what – I found it… my favourite dish of the day – Foie gras with a breaded and fried langoustine, served with kumquat gel … YUM… I could have eaten another 20 of those breaded langoustines! (This dish was proudly brought to you by Laury Zioui from L’Eveil des Sens.

deliciousness on a cork board plate...
deliciousness on a cork board plate…

and for my last and final ticket – another winner (probably my second favourite dish of the evening and a very close contender for spot #1) was from the only female chef in the house – Arabelle Meirlaen (from the restaurant of the same name Arabelle Meirlaen) – who provided a dish of Asparagus, chlorophyll and wild herbs/flowers… it was refreshing and tasty… and I wish that I could have had more!!

Nom nom nom...
Nom nom nom…

With our meal tickets behind us – we knew that we didn’t have to worry about dessert – there were only 2 providers and 2 we had 2 tickets….

Marc Ducobu of Ducobu fame – created a piece of artwork on a plate – cream cheese on top of mango and passion fruit mousse – sprayed with a bit of Cointreau – topped with individual meringues of lemon & orange – mango coulis and a white chocolate swirl.

the plate is made of mulitple different coloured pieces of paper sewn together - smart, eh?
the plate is made of mulitple different coloured pieces of paper sewn together – smart, eh?

Not to be outdone – but the fresh chocolate and hot street waffle from Jean-Philippe Darcis of Darcis was just as amazing

the spoon on the side... its  a teaspoon - just to give you a relative size to reference to
the spoon on the side… its a teaspoon – just to give you a relative size to reference to

I think that this is a SUPER initiative… and something that I would recommend any (and every) foodie in Brussels (if not in Belgium) to attend! If you didn’t get tickets this year – I recommend putting it on your list for 2014!!

happy eating!

www.culinariasquare.com

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6 thoughts on “Culinaria 2013

  1. Actually the open bar was available on every night, you just had to pay like $20 EUR extra. I went on Sunday and it was great, not too many people, and the weather was warm enough we could enjoy the drinks afterwards on the terrace 🙂 Cant wait for the next edition!

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