Brussels, Buy, Drink, Eat, 2015-12-14
Chef de cave at Piper-Heidsieck since 2002 and chef and owner of restaurant Bouchéry spoke to us about their love for champagne and the must-visit places in Brussels for foodies. All the addresses you need for a mouthwatering menu during the holidays.
The entire day was dedicated to teaching us more about those golden wines. Piper-Heidsieck isn’t just a champagne, it’s a delicate sparkling wine with a full palate which accompanies a meal perfectly. Régis Camus, Chef de cave at Piper-Heidsieck since 2002, spoke with such love and enthusiasm about his wines that everybody seemed to be drawn in completely; Explaining to us, among other things, what makes theses bottles so remarkable and how we can compare one from the another.
I learnt that it shouldn’t always be a glass of red wine that accompanies your slowly roasted veal fillets, it can also be a nice glass of Piper-Heidsieck 2006 Vintage brut. As described by the house itself, this wine has aromas of dried apricots, notes of little red and black berries (raspberry, blackberry) and a hint of spices. It is a particularly dense and structured wine, whose generous structure is plush with candied orange peel, highlighted with a touch of smoked tea and toasted almonds. Its freshness lends itself particularly well to greasy meat. Have a look at their website if you want to learn more about their selection. Damien Bouchéry put together an extraordinary menu to accompany the selection of Piper-Heidsieck.
Damien Bouchéry opened his beautiful restaurant in an enclosed house in Uccle, Brussels. With a garden that reminisces the South of France and a light, minimal interior that makes one focus on his breathtaking plates. I can’t agree more with the Michelin guide inspector’s describtion: “Original and flavoursome – chef, Damien Bouchéry, has no qualms about taking risks as he concocts distinctively flavoured cuisine with a highly creative twist.” Damien talked about the importance of good quality ingredients to bring your dish to a higher level. These ingredients are so key to him, he even handpicks herbs somewhere in the fields outside of Brussels. Going to a high class restaurant is often better value for your money than a middle priced one. It is something you treat yourself with in the end. Perfect for the new year, no? Don’t forget to book way in advance, although we all know when our birthday is – right?
Back to the farm
Finding good meat can be quite a challenge when you live in the city. When preparing a holiday menu you want the best quality and that’s why you need to get out of the city and go back to the countryside. Fifteen minutes outside of Brussels you can find La Ferme Curvy: an old family farm specialising in pork meat. Their small shop offers a selection of high quality ingredients by local farmers, at a good price. The owner gave us a tour of the facility, explaining why their pork is of such high quality. It all begins with what you feed the pigs and trying to make sure their food is organic.
Spoiling your sweet tooth
When it comes to chocolate there is only one address in Brussels: Elisabeth Chocolatier. These cute chocolatiers are no strangers to WNM. With their selection of high quality treats it is the ideal place to buy anything you need to spoil your guests after dinner. A lot of their products are also the best option to create a flavourful dessert yourself. Maybe a Pavlova with cream cheese, meringues and a blood orange sirup or a Tiramisu with ginger bread?
Hungry from all the shopping
You will probably be hungry from all the food shopping. The Colonel is the perfect place for those who love a good piece of meat. I am a big fan of steak haché, raw beef steak chopped until it looks like tartare. This dish is delicious with fresh fries. Their menu is full of meat dishes with the finest quality possible.
Not just a cup of tea
This lovely tea and coffee shop is a true hidden gem. The owners fell in love with Asia and its tea culture after travelling to Japan and China. They kept this tradition intact and often fly back to the far East to import teas directly from the farmers in Shizuoka and Kyushu. This shop is also a great tip if you are looking for a gift, as they also sell beautiful china to serve their delicious teas in.
A mouth watering dinner starts with fresh ingredients. Damier took us to this hidden speciality food store to give us a taste of its delicious assortment. From their own caviar to vegetables straight from the local farmers, they’ve got everything you need for an outstanding dish. The homemade ice-cream by Martine Lambert was truly mind-blowing, full of flavours and an absolute winner. Perfect to pair with some crunchy cookies from Elisabeth Chocolatier too. I have never tasted such delicious pistachio ice-cream in my life – and believe me – I have tried a lot of them already.
The holidays are all about treating yourself, right? If you have a weakness for champagne, do visit La Champnothèque in the heart of a Brussels. The owner will guide you through the world of exclusive golden drinks which will make you regret ever having thought of buying a cheap bottles at the supermarket.
We had the pleasure to taste some of the most rare wines by Piper-Heidsieck and I have to say that my tastebuds almost had a sensory explosion. It starts out with a bouquet of dreamy aromas to warm you up for a sip of pure deliciousness. When the harvest is exceptional a millésime is declared. A limited amount of wine will be made from this harvest and labelled as the products of a single vintage, which has to mature for a minimum of 3 years. This process makes the Piper-Heidsieck Rare Millésime such a unique wine to taste. We started with their millésime from 2002 and ended with the 1989. It was unbelievable to taste for ourselves how much richer and flavourful these wines get over the years. If you know someone with a love for champagne, I highly advise you to treat him/her with a tasting at this wonderful place. It will be an unforgettable experience.