Discover Benelux | Food & drink | A Taste of Belgium
Photo: Femke Delbeke
Photo: Femke Delbeke
Q&A WITH CLAUDIA DELBAERE
Beer and chocolate In Belgium, it is inevitable to combine two of the products the country is most famous for. Besides being typically Belgian, beer and chocolate have quite a few similarities when it comes to their taste: think bitter, fruity, sour, or burned. Both specialties have a very strong personal character, so it is essential to combine the right beer with the right chocolate when opting for both. Does that sound like a difficult task? Discover Benelux met up with Claudia Delbaere, a bio-engineer currently working at Cacaolab, a spin-off of Ghent University focussing on research and development of chocolate and confectionery products. Along with Prof. Koen Dewettinck, a professor at the Ghent University department of food safety and food quality, and beer connoisseur Geroen Vansteenbrugge, she recently published Bier & Chocolade. As the first book to exclusively combine Belgium’s famous culinary staples, it spoils readers with 40 mouthwatering combinations. Beer and chocolate! Tell us more… Bier & Chocolade is a book about the combined tasting of beer and chocolate. 54 | Issue 38 | February 2017
There are many books about chocolate and many about beer, but this is the first one exclusively focussing on a combination of the two. After a short introduction and a brief history, we show the reader 40 combinations of beer and chocolate – after which we hope they will further explore this mouthwatering combination! Are beer and chocolate not an unusual combination? That is what I thought too! But there are actually a lot of similarities between the two and they go well together. A lot of flavours are found in both products. And with the right combination, whole new flavours can present themselves. It can be tough to find the right combinations though, that is where our book comes in. What characterises a good piece of chocolate? Good chocolate is smooth, shiny, and hard – it must make that snapping sound when you break it. Creating the perfect chocolate has everything to do with the process of preparation. For example, the right way of tempering ensures the correct types of crystals are created in the chocolate, which gives it that flawless finish.
Can you give away one mouthwatering combination from the book? The initiator of the book, Geroen Vansteenbrugge, regularly hosts evenings around beer and chocolate tastings. From those tastings, we know that one of the most beloved combinations is the Ambiorix beer and a milk chocolate praline in the shape of a skull, filled with caramel, white chocolate, and roasted pine nuts. Delicious! For more information on Bier & Chocolade, please visit www.bierenchocolade.be
Photo: Ymke Vansteenbrugge
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