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IMG_5345London Food (IV) – Ottolenghi’s Nopi

So, having enjoyed last year’s experience at Ottolenghi’s Spitalfields location, we took our precautions and booked a table at Nopi well in advance. Rightly so, seeing as the place was packed! I am an enormous fan of the Plenty books, mainly as the recipes remain so accessible. Sure, you need a couple of ingredients that may be relatively obscure to what you would normally put to use in everyday cooking, but overall, I am always surprised by the ease and speed of actually preparing the food. The food presented in Nopi is from a different level though, and whereas the explanations still make it sound doable and easy, from my experience, there are a couple of recipes that you would need to put through a test-run before presenting them at a dinner party. Continue reading →


IMG_5096Food & Wine – Salmon and Sweetness

For a long time, wines with a bit of sweetness were the bane of the wine world. Mosel wines with Prädikat or not, Vouvray demi-sec, a whole range of Alsacien wines; all of them have fallen or are still falling in disarray. Sure, the producers are at times to blame as well, like the whole Blue Nun fiasco still impacting the image people have of German wines, or the complete lack of residual sugar indication on the label in the Alsace in the past. Nonetheless, there still seems to be an at times stupefying aversion when people find something sweet, yet not overly sugary in their glass. They can wax lyrical about the wine’s aromas and presence on the palate, all to ruin it with a nasty ‘it is a bit sweet, isn’t it’ which more often than not is the end of their judgement. Continue reading →


IMG_55072017 week 7 – Pithon-Paillé, Bonnes Blanche 2013

In honor of Chenin Day, back to the place where it all began: Anjou! The region produces some of the greatest white wines in the world, but is woefully underappreciated. This is in large part the result of an overly complicated appellation structure. The first thing to understand is that in the Loire valley, appellations are stacked on each other. It is perfectly possible to go to a vineyard located in the village of Bonnezeaux and produce one of the following appellations: Bonnezeaux (sweet), Anjou (white or red), Cabernet d’Anjou (red), Rosé d’Anjou (rosé), or Coteaux du Layon (sweet). Continue reading →


IMG_0897Food & Wine – Asparagus galore

We are nearing the end of the growing season of one of my favorite vegetables: white asparagus. I grew up in a town that has in recent years styled itself as Belgium’s hub, and rightly so. Kinrooi is one of the biggest producer of white asparagus, and unlike the big, fat stems that are more about volume, here they are properly treated as a foodie’s treasure. Even though I have lived in Brussels for the past couple of years, I would never dream of buying my asparagus anywhere else, and it is always a great way to welcome Spring. What better way to now end the season than with two Belgian classics? Continue reading →


IMG_5400An impression of the Real Wine Fair (II)

Moving on to the other side of the world, South Africa. Three estates were present: Mother Rock, mentioned here and here in the past; Jurgen Gouws, whose wines could qualify as my gateway drug to South Africa after having tasted them at RAW two years ago; and Testalonga, the solo-project of Craig and Carla Hawkins. I have tasted quite a few of their wines at separate occasions, so this was a great opportunity to go through the full lineup. All in all, the wines are exemplary expressions of their variety, yet characterized by a freshness and purity that really shows the signature of the winemaker. Continue reading →


IMG_5394An impression of the Real Wine Fair (I)

The 2014 edition of the Real Wine Fair was my first proper wine event. Two intense days packed with tasting, attending presentations given by experts, plunging into the completely unknown with Georgian wines and still remembering great wines made by the likes of Olivier Pithon, Elisabetta Foradori and Anton Van Klopper (just a few months back, I cracked my last, wonderful bottle of his 2010 Lucy Margaux pinot noir). The last couple of years I had to chose to either attend the RWF or RAW, given that London is not exactly cheap and winewriting doesn’t generate anything worthy of the term revenue. This year however, thanks to the combination of cheap Eurostar tickets and suitable dates, I had the luck of attending both fairs. Continue reading →


IMG_5259Food & Wine – Easter lamb & ratatouille

Given that I wrote about pairing a non-French dish with French wines last week, why not turn it around and pair a French classic with something a bit more international?

Food-wise, Easter is perhaps the most traditional holiday. I can’t recall ever having eaten anything else but lamb, in various preparations of course, but the gist of it remains the same. So for the family, what else to make but a nice, slow-roasted lamb shoulder glazed with mustard seeds and honey, accompanied by a truly French classic dish: ratatouille? Continue reading →


IMG_08842017 week 6 – Domaine des Cavarodes, Franche-Comté rouge 2014

For years the Jura remained a blind spot on my wine radar. About ten years ago I followed your very basic wine course which was more about drinking than actually learning anything. I was ticked off that I had to miss the one class on regions that I knew nothing about, Jura and Savoie, but quickly forgot about it. A couple of years later, when I was getting more and more into wine, I came across an invitation for a Jura wine tasting in Antwerp, organized by Terrovin. It turned out to not only be my first real introduction to the wines of the Jura, but also to the world of natural wine. Continue reading →


IMG_4812Food & Wine – Moroccan chicken pastilla

This week I will be joining the Winophiles, a group of bloggers united in their love for French wine who commit to an article on a shared topic. This month: Cross-cultural food pairings with French wine! This is really something that I love, it forces you to think outside of the box; to put aside wine conventions that are mostly based on regional cuisines and that have been developed and semi-set in stone. Saying life in Brussels for a foodie has its perks is an understatement. Plenty of restaurants, an it-scene when it comes to new cuisines being offered and basically all ingredients imaginable within reach almost qualifies for a Walhalla. Continue reading →


Schermafbeelding 2017-04-09 om 18.55.25On Mistaking marketing ploys for wine

So, how have our blue wine-producing friends fared since their marketing-heavy launch last year? Admittedly, they dropped off my radar quite quickly after I published this article. At the time, I had contacted them to see if their wine would be available in Belgium, as it was perennially sold out on their Dutch website. I didn’t get a reply until just a while ago, when they were thrilled to announce that they were back in production and that I would be able to order as much as I would need, or required to slip me into a sugar-induced coma (well, non-caloric sweeteners technically). Continue reading → 



2017 Week 5 – Suertes del Marques, Vidonia 2014

The other day I organized an introductory tasting on the wines of the Canary Islands. In the past, I had the opportunity to acquaint myself with the wines of what are arguably the islands’ most well-known producers, Vinatiego and Suertes del Marques. Given that they are not commonly found or well-known, even by winegeek standards, I thought they warranted a closer look. Surprisingly, the Canary Islands are home to 10 different appellations with close to 10,000ha planted. The wines produced were in the past guzzled up mostly by the tourists visiting the islands, but in recent years there has been renewed interest among winelovers for a number of reasons. Continue reading → 


IMG_4703Food & Wine – Butternut pumpkin risotto

Something new! As mentioned in my previous post, there are a couple of changes upcoming, one of them being more attention being paid to matching food with wine. Those sommelier studies have to count for something, right? First up, risotto vs. Chardonnay! Spring is upon us, which means that it is time to say goodbye to my favorite squash, the butternut pumpkin. Nutty in flavor with a dash of sweetness and a smooth, wintery structure, I find it irresistible when looking for comfort food. It is the perfect base for a fantastic risotto; hearty, heavy enough to make you regret the last bite yet not so heavy as to make you feel too guilty about it. Continue reading → 


IMG_50902017 Week 4 – Domaine Huet, Clos du Bourg 2001

Looking back at my short but intense stay in the Loire region, I realized that I haven’t talked enough about Chenin Blanc, despite my love for it. Only one wine was put into the spotlight, 2009 Les Choisilles by Francois Chidaine (of which I incidentally drank my last bottle just a week ago, still fantastic). There are some changes coming up on The Wine Analyst, but given my adherence to self-imposed deadlines in the past, I’ll refrain from making big declarations. For now, I can only say that there will be more attention paid to Chenin Blanc in the future, starting with Domaine Huet’s Clos de Bourg Demi-Sec 2001Continue reading →



LOIRE TRIPPING 2017 – THE SALON & LA LEVÉE

Finally, my impressions from a day at the Salon des Vins de Loire. Contrary to last year, I only attended on Tuesday, due to the Salon changing its calendar and starting a day earlier, thus overlapping the numerous off-events. I don’t really know why this was done, nor did I get a straight answer from basically anyone, but I do think that it is to the detriment of the Salon. Visitors were few, perhaps also because it was the final day, but compounded with the fact that there was an entire tasting area gone in comparison to last year, this is not a good sign. Continue reading → 


img_4974LOIRE TRIPPING 2017 – Dive Bouteille

Dive is the type of chaos with a flair that only the French know how to do right. Get annoyed at the lack of navettes between the Saumur station and the Ackerman cellars where la Dive takes place or walk. Get pissed off at the crowds of backpack-carrying groupies who just hang out with their revered winemaker of choice, or simply mingle with them. Finally, get paralyzed by the fear of swallowing due to the lack of spittoons, or carry around your own in a trolley, trumping backpacks in annoyance, like a certain couple of Dutch wine merchants (although you never know with the Dutch, they may as well have been creating their own very special blend of salvia-textured wine vinegar). Continue reading → 

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