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Food, glorious food: Brussels celebrates its place on the global gastronomic stage
The city of Brussels laid on a gourmet spread of local specialities when it hosted the 10th anniversary celebrations of international food network Délice. Representatives of 17 of the 23 member cities descended on Brussels for a three-day extravaganza in February, based on the theme of gastronomy and good food.
Brussels has taken over the presidency of Délice, an international network of gourmet cities sharing the desire to promote their culinary excellence. Launched in Lyon in 2007, the aim of the network is to enable members to increase their knowledge of the ever-evolving gastronomy sector, as well as sharing good practices and creating special partnerships.
Beyond traditional fare such as beer, chocolate and mussels, the EU capital showed off the best of its quirky and culinary concepts, including Dinner in the Sky and The Tram Experience. Michelin-starred chefs were among the Brussels-based restaurants and budding food entrepreneurs to welcome the gourmet guests.
At a final gathering at the town hall, city alderwoman for tourism and culture Karine Lalieux said: "Food and gastronomy play an integral role in a city's identity, constituting a really important means for driving economic and tourist development within urban centres.”
The new president of Délice Olivier Marette added: “Most people don’t know about Délice because it has been a B2B network, but now we are trying to build a collective intelligence. Gastronomy is a boost for the economy and the image of the tourism industry."
The various representatives were then treated to a lunch of Belgian specialities, including a selection of Belgian cheeses provided by city-centre cheese bar La Fruitière, a spread of vegetarian dips and dishes served by Uccle-based French chef Damien Bouchéry, bread rolls filled with Belgian favourites courtesy of Pistolet Original, and in a final sweet flourish, dessert was a choice of three floral-themed cakes by Anaïs Gaudemer of Cokoa. Brussels brewery Cantillon supplied the liquid refreshments.