A Taste of Brussels

If you were in Brussels last week you may have bumped into one of the many foot-tours of the city’s artisan food workshops, strolled by a massive community picnic in the central park, looked up to see an organic gardening workshop taking place on a balcony, joined in sustainable food seminars and film screenings and found yourself at the end of the day enjoying one of 70 Slow Food menus on offer in restaurants across the city.

Now in its fourth year, Slow Food Karikol organized Gouter Bruxelles (Taste Brussels) over September 19 to 25, inviting inhabitants and visitors alike to discover more about the food culture of the city and a new idea of gastronomy based upon an awareness of good, clean and fair food.

“Many residents lack the time to get to know their local quality small producers more intimately,” said Slow Food Karikol leader Malika Hamza. “They are doing extraordinary things, often without being properly recognized, and so we wanted to organize a wide range of activities over a short period to focus attention on them, including many free events that everyone could join.”

One of the biggest undertakings of the celebration is the involvement of 70 restaurants offering a “Slow Food menu” based on fresh, organic ingredients supplied by small-scale local producers. “Participating restaurants were submitted to a lengthy selection process to ensure they adhere to Slow Food guidelines,” explained Malika, “and we’re very happy to learn that many of them plan to continue to offer this special menu”.

The week concluded with a massive community picnic in Parc de Bruxelles, in which all of the participants were invited to bring a dish to share in a great moment of “urban conviviality”.

“We are very satisfied with the event this year” said Malika. “We are a small team running a more and more recognized event. This year we also welcomed many journalists, including some from outside Belgium, and they only complained about one thing: with more than 90 entertaining initiatives during the week, it is really hard to make a choice!”

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