Discover Benelux | Best of Benelux Gastronomy | Belgium
Bringing the best of Belgium to the wider world TEXT: MARTIN PILKINGTON | PHOTOS: PANIER D’ELOÏSE
Belgium has a wealth of artisan producers of food and more. Fabienne Van Isacker wants to introduce them to a far wider audience. In 2011 she wondered why Belgium’s fine food producers, small brewers and distillers and innumerable other artisan suppliers had such limited exposure to their home market, let alone the rest of Europe. She was also struggling to find organic and ethical sources of natural products to suit her personal philosophy. A lightbulb went on in her head and internet outlet Panier d’Eloïse was born. “Beer and chocolate illustrate the situation. Everyone knows Belgium’s major brands, but we also have hundreds of craft enterprises making superb products – many of them organic – known little beyond their locality. Con-
sumers can discover new experiences, and it helps the artisans.” Her website currently lists more than 900 such products, including whisky, sparkling wines, spirits, pâtés, biscuits... “As a snapshot of Belgian excellence – delicious excellence – many businesses buy hampers as corporate gifts,” she says. “But it’s about how we sell, not just what. I believe people want transparency in their purchases, so our listings show provenance and ingredients, and maybe some relevant background or history.”
Panier d’Eloïse has established a discerning clientele across its home market, and ships further afield too: “We’ve customers in France, the UK, Germany, the Netherlands... people buying our hampers, or making up their own, or simply sourcing individual gastronomic and wellness products, even toys. The idea has caught on.” www.panierdeloise.be
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