Mission Europe 2: Beer in Brussels

Belgium is among the top 10 beer producing countries in the world.  Each year it is caculated that a person drinks approximately 93 liters!  One of the newer movements in Belgian cuisine includes using beer for pairing as well as an ingredient.  The Salone del Gusto Workshop: The Beer Cuisine of Brussels sounded promising.

The Theater of Taste was hosted by 2 chefs.  First on stage was Dirk Myny from Restaurant Les Brigittines.  The base for his dish was sauerkraut that had been made with clove and juniper berries.  This was served over pork blood sausage with sea snails that had been cooked with vegetable broth, cream and beer.

The team of students working in the theater served the dish in perfect unison and moments after it was set before me, a lovely young man came and poured beer directly from a carafe onto my plate.  It was a bubbly waterfall of deliciousness.  The dish was spectacular and I will soon be creating my own version.

Our second host looked like a European version of Willy Wonka.  Chef Nicolas Darnauguilhem, owner of the restaurant Neptune had a list of ingredients that sounded complex.  His stock alone was made with burdock, coriander, hogweed and sweet sicily.  However with the mark of a true cook he took complexity and made it clean and simple.  A leek was served with reduced stock, fresh goat cheese, parsley root powder and wild fennel seed.

The chefs were all smiles as was the crowd, after licking their lips of course.  I believe it is safe to say that Brussels has at least two individuals that are sharing its cuisine in a way that can be understood and appreciated.


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