Discover Benelux, Issue 29, May 2016

Page 100

Discover Benelux | Flemish Coast Highlights | Eat, Drink, Sleep & Entertainment


Whether it is the Big Buddha, the atmospheric surroundings or the delicious smell of exotic spices coming from the kitchen, the moment you walk into Mama Thai, you walk into a different world. “The first thing we like our guests to feel is the friendly, welcoming atmosphere,” says owner Laurenzo Moerman. “Friendliness matched by authentic Thai cuisine,” adds his wife Kanteeya. She is the ‘Mama’ running the kitchen, although the name Mama Thai is in honour of her mother, who taught her the finesses of Thai cooking. Laurenzo and Kanteeya have been running Mama Thai for four years now, serving authentic Thai cooking from central Thailand, where culinary traditions are strongest. They offer a genuine Thai eating experience, encouraging customers to order a selection of dishes to share and combine. “It’s how the Thai eat them-

selves,” says Laurenzo. “It’s the ideal way to savour the typical Thai combinations of sweet, sour, salty and spicy.” Working with renowned suppliers, Toque Blanche award-winning chef Kanteeya uses only the freshest ingredients. “And to get the flavours right, everything has to be the ‘real thing’,” she says. “From Thai basil to Thai aubergines.” To accompany their meat, fish and vegetarian dishes, Mama Thai offer Thai beers as well as a selection of wines from Chateau Castigno in the French Languedoc. “Although it’s not Thai tradition, these wines beautifully match our dishes,” says Laurenzo. “Sat outside in summer on our cosy veranda, it’s the perfect accompaniment to a tasty Thai meal full of sunny flavours.”


From Michelin-starred The Jane in Antwerp, to exotic sensation Mama Thai in De Panne, more and more top restaurants are serving the wines of Chateau Castigno to accompany their prized culinary creations. Behind this extraordinary success is the equally remarkable story of a Flemish couple who followed their dream to turn a ‘lost paradise’ into ‘heaven on earth’. “It was love at first sight,” says Belgian entrepreneur Marc Verstraete. “When we saw the old chateau tucked away in the hills, we knew immediately this was going to be our new home,” adds his wife Tine. That was eight years ago. Since then they have turned the dilapidated estate in the French Languedoc into the ultimate sustainable wine chateau it is today. Fostering biodiversity and applying lowimpact eco-farming methods, the couple now 100 | Issue 29 | May 2016

grow nine organic grape varieties. Working closely with world-class winemakers Michel Tardieu and Philippe Cambie, they have developed an exciting range of organic wines, which have picked up a cabinet full of prestigious prizes. “Heaven is smiling on us here in the South of France,” says Marc. “That’s why we would like to share our experience,” explains Tine. “We have set up luxury accommodation for guests at the Chateau and we’ve opened a small restaurant in the nearby village of Assignan. It’s the perfect environment to enjoy the gentle pace of rural life – and a glass of fine wine.” From 5 to 12 June actor Gene Bervoets will host a week of cooking workshops, wine tasting, ceramic labs, local market getaways and other shared experiences. Booking is available through