Top chefs and wine makers showcase their wares in Brussels

Do you appreciate good food and wine? If so, then an event taking place in Brussels this weekend could be just for you.

From 6 through 9 September, the eat! Brussels, drink! Bordeaux Festival will bring food and wine lovers together.

There is quite a spread, from cheese tastings and desserts to meeting the capital's great chefs as well as Bordeaux School of Wine workshops.

For this its seventh edition, the eat! Brussels, drink! Bordeaux festival invited a selection of the best Brussels chefs to Parc de Bruxelles, opposite the Royal Palace.

They include the much travelled Californian Alex Joseph, owner/chef at Rouge Tomate on Avenue Louise in Brussels who has carved out a real name for himself since arriving in Belgium a few years ago. In 2015 he won the prestige San Pellegrino best young chef title.

Since he took over at Rouge Tomate Alex has led the restaurant to a new level of refined dining, offering a contemporary and modern cuisine. He will be present on each day of the event.

At the festival he will showcase one of his signature dishes: pork belly, deep fried octopus, sushi rice and Japanese Gomae spinach.

Wine lovers are not forgotten at the event: they will also be able to discover the richness of Bordeaux wines thanks to various workshops offered by the Bordeaux School of Wine.

Speaking on Thursday at a news conference to promote the event,Allan Sichel, of Vins de Bordeaux, spoke of the “concerns” some wine producers share about the impact of climate change.

Partly due to climate conditions, the 2017  Bordeaux crop was just 3.1 million hectare litres, compared with a yearly average of 5.1 million.

He told this website, “This was a severe reduction in production and,  although  it is not expected to be a large harvest this year, it is still hoped that the 2018 crop will be around the 5m mark.”

Concerns focus, he said, on the “violent changes” in the climate, which have seen Bordeaux wine makers hit in recent months by everything from drought – with no rainfall since July - and heatwaves to hailstorms and floods.

He said, “These climatic changes are certainly a challenge which is already having a real impact and bringing severe consequences. This year, for example, the harvest will be two weeks earlier than the 30 year average.

“Fortunately, we are prepared for these changes, for example, by picking grapes earlier than in the past and by holding back stocks of grapes.”

Despite such concerns, Stephan Delaux, deputy mayor of Bordeaux (for tourism) says there still plenty of room for optimism about the future.

It is pointed out, for example, that Bordeaux wine accounts for some 15 per cent of all French wine produced each year. Some 60 per cent of all wine consumed in France  comes from the region (2 per cent worldwide).

There are 7,000 growers in the region, across an area of 18,000 hectares, supporting 55,000 jobs.

Dalaux said, “There is a market, of course, for wines from everywhere in the world but there is also  every reason to believe that the historical popularity of our wines will continue.We produce wines which are unique.”

Herewith a summary of the weekend's activities:

Twenty great chefs

New iconic Brussels chefs are joining the party and enhancing the festival's offerings. They offer visitors a signature dish representing their culinary background at the special price of just €9.

Chefs in attendance:

Ugo Federico & Francesco Cury – Racines, Joël Geismar - Garage à Manger, Alex Joseph - Rouge Tomate, Denis Delcampe - Le Tournant, Giuseppe Zizza – Il Passatempo,  Laure Genonceaux - Brinz’l, Minoru Seino – Seino, Luigi Ciciriello – La Truffe Noire, Issa Abdul - Restaurant Vincent, François-Xavier Lambory – Stirwen, Yannick Van Aeken – Oficina

Others include Maria Concetta Miranda & Alessandro Miranda – Miranda, Alessio Sanchez – Sanzaru, Toshiro Fujii – SAN Restaurant, Yoth Ondara – Crab Club, Julie De Block & Glen Ramaekers – Humphrey and Hadrien Franchoo – Amen.

The pastry chefs are :

Nikolas Koulepis – Pâtisserie Nicolas Koulepis,Anaïs Gaudemer – Cokoa Loic Henon & Joaquim Braz de Oliveira – Forcado, Yasushi Sasaki – Pâtisserie Sasaki.

The cheese-makers are: Julien Hazard – Julien Hazard Affineur, Véronique Socié – La Fruitière, Hélène Milan - Le Comptoir du Samson and Octave Laloux – Saint Octave.

Bordeaux Wines, the festival's partners, are once again on board and to mark the occasion, nearly 50 Bordeaux wine-makers and merchant will be present to share their passion and unveil their wine's secrets and latest trends.

The Bordeaux School of Wine's pavilion offers a fun and educational survey of various wines (red, dry white, sweet white, rosé, and sparkling wines from Bordeaux), local lands, varietals, blends. 

A  festival spokesman said, “So that visitors can enjoy the festival to the fullest, eat! Brussels, drink! Bordeaux has implemented a cashless payment system. Visitors may obtain their magnetic cards at one of the ticket booths, load it, and it use it at their own pace throughout the entire festival run.

“This magnetic card will cover all of their needs: the cost of sampling the dishes of their choice and/or their Wine Pass.”

Opening hours:

From Thursday, 6 September through Sunday, 9 September.

Daily from 12 PM to 11 PM, except to 9:30 PM on Sunday

Further info via

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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