The 2nd Week van de Smaak (Week of Taste) will run in Flanders and Brussels from 15-24 November 2007. This is a Flemish festival dedicated to gastronomy - well eating and drinking in general with more than 700 organisers of more than 1,200 events.
There are tastings of world cuisines such as Italian, African, Turkish food - not forgetting streekproducten from the different areas in Belgium, demonstrations in hotel and catering schools, masterchefs, events in breweries, wine tastings, cookery classes including some for children, talks on typical foods, guided tours and various other events.
Here are some unusual items I spotted:
* "De Vijf Smaken op Zijn Brussels", a discovery of Brussels cuisine meeting at Sint Katelijneplein at 14.00 on 17 November.
* "Niet Elke Pater is een Trappist" discussing the differences between Trappist and Abbey beers, Brussels on 14 November, beers tasting included in the 10 €.
* How about a talk on sprouts (spruitsjes)?
* The Dag van de Geuze will be given by De Lambikstoempers in Halle, Vlaams Brabant on 24 November.
* Ecological cooking with pumpkin, Kortenberg on 16 November.
* Spanish tapas and sherries, Everberg on 17 November.
* Spices and drinks in the Middle Ages, Overwinden on 25 November.
* Blindfold dinner, Leuven on 20 November.
* Marzepan, talk at the Suikermuseum in Tienen.
* International pancakes workshop in Antwerp throughout the festival.
* Reading of Poetry about food, Antwerp on 18 November.
* A meal from the time of Keizer Karel in the 16th century, Rijmenam on 21 November.
* Belgian beers tasting, Hemiksem on 21 November.
* Pizzas cookery class for children, Putte on 21 November.
* Tea and coffee tastings in Turnhout.
* Children cooking with syrup, Borgloon on 21 November.
* Nostalgic cookery class, Bree on 22 November.
* Bangladesh cuisine tasting, Genk on 17 November.
A Dutch language class in Brussels will offer typical dishes from their homelands with explanation. There are a couple of film events about chocolate.
Some mayors are doing their bit by cooking for the public such as in Laakdal on the 18th when the mayor will be cooking spaghetti; in Genk, pasta on the 23rd and on the 18th, the mayor of Kalmthout will cook Italian fish soup.
The Flemish bookshop Standard Boekhandel are running a free tasting of Jenever all day on Saturday 17 November in all their shops. Throughout the festival they will display tasting tabels with gastronomy books at special low prices. Marc Joye's book "Feestelijk met Bier" is available for just 5 Euros with a coupon in the brochure. The coupon also gives a discount on cooks about vegetables, desserts and wine.
Some Spar supermarkets will have cookery demonstrations and tastings.
A special feature this year is EETiKET, about children (aged 6-12)and restaurant culture. The idea is that children should enjoy going out to eat and be welcome in restaurants. More than 90 children-friendly restaurants in the brochure welcome children and a section of the website is aimed at schools.
Looking ahead, the lovely town of Lier south of Antwerp will be bidding for the title "Stad van de Smaak 2008" with Oma's smikkelport, a turn of century menu, local products on the Zimmerplein (don't miss the Zimmer Tower), wine tastings, a culinary quiz, Moroccan pizzas, Portuguese specialities and more. Kortrijk hold the title in 2007.
A Free brochure is available in public libraries, Standard Boekhandel and Spar supermarkets with activities divided into provinces and listed under town names. You can also find details on the website.
Click here for info
For travel to Belgium, visit Eurotravel