Discover Benelux | A Taste of the Benelux | Best Food, Beverages and More
The beauty of Belgian wine TEXT: MICHIEL STOL | PHOTOS: DOMEIN DE KLUIZEN
It may not be the first country that springs to mind when you are looking for a great wine, but Belgium in fact has plenty to delight oenophiles. “The sparkling wines made here are particularly great,” says Herman Troch. He should know, since he has been running his own vineyard, Domein de Kluizen near Aalst, for more than 20 years. And the best part is that he produces his wines almost entirely on his own. Domein de Kluizen produces several smooth white wines and a variety of red wines. “My father used to have his own little vineyard as a hobby, which I always liked. So to do this professionally felt natural to me,” he explains. Troch works a lot with grapes that can be found in the Alsace region, because they work the best in the Belgian climate. “That gives us fresher wines, containing less alcohol,” he points out. The pride of Domein de Kluizen is their ‘Optima Noblesweet’, made from the Optima grape, a hybrid of Riesling and
Silvaner grapes. “This is a very sweet dessert wine with aromas of pineapple and honey, but it does not taste ‘sticky’. It’s great for drinking with dessert and cakes.” Today, the vineyard totals almost seven acres in size, with more than 8,800 vines. Troch still does almost all the work himself. “Come picking time, I have some help. But the growing of the grapes and wine production is all done by me.” Troch also loves to show guests around the vineyard and the factory. “With a tasting afterwards – of course,” he smiles.
A foodie favourite in Arlon Located at the heart of the charming Belgian town of Arlon, Le Chef est Une Femme (The Chef is a Woman) has become a must-visit foodie hotspot since opening its doors in 2015. Featured in the Michelin Guide and rated highly by Gault&Millau, the restaurant specialises in modern French cuisine made using fresh, seasonal and local produce. The restaurant’s namesake is Sandrine Brasseur, who worked for 20 years as a social worker before retraining as a chef and following her dream to launch Le Chef est Une Femme. Her idea was to create a contemporary, cosy venue where people could enjoy delicious, home-cooked cuisine in a friendly atmosphere. Housed in the former Le Gaulois establishment, right in the centre of town, the venue was redesigned and renovated before the opening of Le Chef est Une Femme. The restaurant is a favourite among couples and groups of friends, many of whom like to
TEXT: ANNA VILLELEGER | PHOTOS: OLIVIER FRESING
make the most of the superb set-menus: for 37 euros you can enjoy a delicious three-course meal made using the freshest and finest quality ingredients. Also famous are the great value lunchtime menus. “Every Thursday, Friday and Monday lunchtime, you can enjoy a starter and main course for 19 euros,” explains Sandrine. “These are popular with those looking for somewhere to enjoy fresh, quality food during their lunch hour. At lunchtime we also offer suggestions
made with ingredients which have just arrived from the market.” The intimate restaurant can accommodate 20 diners on the ground floor and 20 upstairs. The upstairs banquet room can be privately hired, and is a wonderful venue for celebrating special occasions.
Issue 63 | March 2019 | 73
Promoting Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg.