The Belgian coast has always been my favorite place of escape from every day life. On the last day of this unique year, I want to conclude with an image of the magnificent North Sea and wish all of you happiness, peace and the very best for 2016.
"Baracca," a two month old restaurant in Leuven, offers a relaxed but stimulating and interesting dining experience with fresh, natural flavoured food that can be shared if you so wish. It is inspired by the savoury simplicity of Italian cuisine. First time visitors receive a warm welcome and an enthusiastic explanation of what's cooking from appealing Pasquale Amoruso (Kiko) and lovely Anastasia Mironenko (Ana). The atmosphere when I was there was warm, engaging and pleasantly chaotic, and the food was delicious -- so much so that we ordered seconds of our favourites.
"Baracca wants to relive the authentic spirit and conviviality of homecoming by serving homemade woodoven pizzas that are best enjoyed in good company."
A few years ago I wrote about Franco, chef at Pepenero, a restaurant in Leuven at two steps from Baracca: http://whatisbelgium.blogspot.be/2011/11/two-chefs.html.
After a chat with Kiko and Ana, I learned that Franco is Kiko's dad. The world is small but there is something there that is in the genes ...
I hope they will keep up the excellent job and wish them great success. I will certainly be back there soon to share the experience with family and friends.
Boy, were we disappointed to find '' 't Werfje" closed. In this tiny unpretentious café seafood on the Terrace is a real treat when weather permits. Their shrimp croquettes and fish soup are "world" famous at the Belgian coast. Hopefully the renovation project manages to keep the unique atmosphere and spirit intact. See you there from April next year onwards.
Royal Square with the Statue Geoffrey of Bouillon in front of the church Saint Jacques sur Coudenberg. Geoffrey was a medieval Frankish knight and one of the leaders of the First Crusade from 1096 until his death in 1100.
Yesterday evening I had the pleasure to see and hear the fascinating Belgian author Amélie Nothomb at Flagey in an interview by Jacques De Decker and Adrienne Nizet. It was a very entertaining and stimulating discussion.
"I knew that when we reached home after Midnight Mass I should find my shoes in the chimney-corner, filled with presents, just as when I was a little child . . . Papa, too, liked to watch my enjoyment and hear my cries of delight at each fresh surprise that came from the magic shoes, and his pleasure added to mine.” ~ St. Therese of Lisieux, Story of a Soul.