For my birthday, I wanted to spend a quiet day with Koen in Zeeland. I know about Cadzand because of Sergio Herman. He has two 1 Michelin starred restaurants, Pure C and Air Republic, both located in Cadzand and I was curious to see the appeal!
For my birthday lunch we headed to Gent to eat at the 2 Michelin star Vrijmoed. Koen and I were both really excited to try the vegetarian menu, which was awarded Best Veggie Menu Benelux 2016 and 2017 by Gault Millau. And of course we ordered an extra dessert – the Stilton “sorbet” which was awarded dessert of the year 2017 by Gault Millau. So many award winning dishes to taste!
I love any excuse to eat at Het Gebaar – my favorite restaurant in Antwerp by Chef Roger Van Damme! This time we went with Koen’s parents to celebrate Dook’s birthday! Het Gebaar is located very close to our apartment right next to the Botanical Gardens. The cuisine is typically Belgian with local, seasonal ingredients and can’t-miss beautiful, fantastical desserts!
Every couple of months Koen and his friends have a Boys’ Weekend. This time Koen was the host, so I was very happy to escape the boys and stay with Hannah in Leuven for the weekend. We had beautiful, sunny weather and decided to explore the Belgian vineyards of Hageland.
We visited the heart of the Hagelandse wines – Wezemaal (Rotselaaar). They have a visitors center in a 19th century neo-gothic building where you can learn about the Hagelandse landscape and watch a video of the winemakers themselves sharing their passion. We didn’t realized you needed to make an appointment and were lucky we were able to join another group!
Nicole and Adam were in Antwerp for Easter weekend. So for Easter day we prepared a delicious brunch with fresh fruit, fresh baked bread and pastries, and poached eggs with Hollandaise. Yum! We needed the energy for our walk through Antwerp in the afternoon.
For our first dinner with Nicole and Adam, we chose the restaurant Graanmarkt 13. The food is seasonal, with a weekly menu based on what vegetables are in season. From the site: “Graanmarkt 13 offers a daily varying choice of fish or meat along with various vegetarian tapas-style dishes to share with your company.” Chef Seppe Nobels won the prize “Best Vegetable restaurant 2015 of Flanders” by Gault Millau. So this was the perfect place to take our guests!
You never know who you’ll meet – while on the Trans-Siberian Express, the 5 days from Moscow to Irkutsk, we met another couple who’ve turned into good friends. Nicole and Adam had a similar planning to ours and throughout our 3 week trip we met up in Russia, Mongolia, and China. So why not add Belgium to the list?
Koen and I always celebrate two anniversaries:
- March 29th, when we first started dating
- October 18th, when we got married
It’s perfect – celebrations of our relationship twice a year!
This March 29th we celebrated 12 years together!!
Where to go? To celebrate we decided on lunching at the 1 Michelin starred The Butcher’s Son at the De Koninck Brewery for delicious steak. To quote the Michelin guide, “De Koninck brasserie is the perfect blend of smart, urban design. Red meat showcased like artwork in display cabinets reminds the visitor that meat is the star of the show here; it is traditionally prepared by the chef and served with delicious side dishes. Balanced flavours come above all else at the Butcher’s son. “
I visited Dinant with my parents back in 2014, but Koen had never been. We had a bit of sunshine, so I convinced Koen to take the trek down south. Dinant is most famously known as being the home of Adolphe Sax, who invented the saxophone, and the Battle of Dinant in 1914, where Lieutenant Charles de Gaulle was wounded. The landmarks are the Citadel of Dinant and the Collegiate Church of Notre Dame. Important to Koen and me is of course the regional cuisine – the couques de Dinant, Europe’s hardest cookie, the flamiche, a type of quiche, and Leffe beer which comes from the Leffe Abbey. A lot to see and take in!
Although still cold, the sun was shining – so why not take a trip to the Belgian coast? There are so many cities in Beligum I’d still like to visit and Ostend was at the top of my list.