Tag Archives: Europe

Time for some wine & food indulgence!

Immediately after the Comic Strip Festival at start of September, European Capital Brussels will get ready for another extravaganza, this time for the connoisseurs of food and wine. From 7 to 10 September this year, Brussels Park will once again serve as the setting for the eat! Brussels, drink! Bordeaux festival. Twenty Brussels chefs will slave over their stoves to share their signature dishes with the public. Fifty Bordeaux wine growers and sellers will also be on hand to provide the accompaniment for these delicious foods. They will offer the optimal wine pairings to complement the chefs’ dishes. There’s sure to be plenty to delight the senses of their foodie visitors! For its sixth edition, the eat! Brussels, drink! Bordeaux Festival has once again invited a selection of Brussels’ best chefs to the heart of Brussels Park. There will be new workshops: Wine & patisseries; Wine and chocolate.

Also Read: Comic Strip festival gets bigger, bolder and rewarding too!

Photo: VisitBrussels/ ©E.Danhier

A sixth edition with its fair share of new offerings

  • Restaurant offerings are expanding. Several chefs on the Brussels scene are joining in the fun to present their iconic dishes to the public.
  • A central “square” will be set up right at the heart of the festival grounds. It’s a chance for visitors to partake and socialize with family and friends.
  • This year, the eat! Awards are making their debut. These prizes will be awarded to chefs whose dishes enjoy the greatest success over the course of the event.
  • In this latest edition, several pastry chefs will complement the event menu with dessert plate suggestions.
  • The Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux invites amateurs to discover new wine workshops that focus on patisserie and chocolate.
  • The Tchin Vittel! space will offer cooking workshops to visitors. Accompanied by talented chef Bruno Antoine, they will concoct their “bistronomy” box together, which they will then be able to savour in this friendly atmosphere.

Also Read: Getting tipsy in Belgium

New iconic Brussels chefs are joining the party and enhancing the festival’s offerings. The will offer visitors a signature dish representing their culinary identity at the special price of € 9. Several pastry chefs will also enhance the festival’s menu. They will offer sweets aficionados delicious desserts by the plate at the special price of €9.

The perfect pairing

Vins de Bordeaux, the festival’s essential partners, are coming together once again on this journey through fine cuisine. For the occasion, nearly 50 Bordeaux wine growers and merchants will meet in Brussels to reveal the history and secrets of their wine.

These elegant and unique wines, the fruits of the meticulous blending of several grape varieties, will thrill the public’s taste buds. It’s a singular chance to discover the new Bordeaux reds, fresh and fruity, the dry whites, the rosés, the clairets and the sweet wines that can be paired with all cuisine, whether simple or refined. A wine pairing carefully selected for the occasion will also be offered for each dish, sweet or savoury, presented at the festival.

eat Brussels

The Bordeaux pavilion, the Belgian selection

For the second year running, the pavilion will present the 2017 selection of Bordeaux wines chosen by a panel of Belgian wine and gastronomy professionals. These wines, selling for €4 to €25 are all available in Belgium. eat! Brussels, drink! Bordeaux will be the only opportunity to sample the sumptuousness of this 2017 selection.

The Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux pavilion

The Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux will once again be on hand to conduct a variety of workshops for Wine Pass holders. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the public, expert or novice, to (re)discover Bordeaux wines in an original, fun way and participate in tastings.

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Comic Strip Festival gets bigger, bolder and rewarding too!

The Annual feature for the comic lovers of the world is here again. If you love comics, than you have enough time to plan for this once in a lifetime trip to the European Capital as Brussels is holding its 8th annual Comic Strip Festival from 1st to 3 September 2017. From their beginning at the turn of the century, Belgian comics have really become famous the world over. Many illustrators and writers from our country and its capital are well-known beyond its borders. That is reason enough to dedicate a weekend to this rich cultural heritage.

Bande Dessinée Mur BD Stripmuur Le jeune Albert (c) Olivier van de Kerchove

For its 8th running, the Brussels Comic Strip Festival is marking the occasion with its fair share of new things. Beyond the traditional Balloon’s Day Parade, conferences, and autographs, the event will literally expand its scope. The festival will award Europe’s biggest prizes, offer premiere film and manga screenings, madcap performances, and many other original activities.

Fete de la Bd – Stripfeest (c)VISITBRUSSELS -E.Danhier

Since its debut in 2010, the Brussels Comic Strip Festival has become the main event for comics fans. Young and old, novices and experts, all share a passion for the ninth art and come together each year to participate in the variety of activities on offer. More than 100,000 people and some 250 famous authors gather every year. For this 2017 edition, the essential events are definitely on the schedule: autograph sessions, the predecessors of the great Oldtimer Rally, the Balloon’s Day Parade and many more. There’s a whole range of activities to delight everyone.

© visit.brussels – Eric Danhier – 2017

Festival also gets a new prestigious location. Besides the Parc de Bruxelles, le Brussels Comic Strip Festival will take over the prestigious setting of Brussels’ Palais des Beaux-Arts, BOZAR. Two new places that pair phenomenally well together for the Brussels Comic Strip Festival. Festival-goers will be able to stroll along as they please, enjoying countless activities and novelties on offer wherever they go. From hundreds of autograph signings to premiere cartoon screenings and multiple exhibitions and encounters with professionals, ninth art fans will have plenty to keep them entertained. For the first time in its history and thanks to its new set-up at Bozar, the Brussels Comic Strip Festival will also be able to offer premiere film screenings!

Fete de la BD – Stripfeest

Comic strip writing has become something of an endangered activity in these last few years, with the industry’s professionals often finding it hard to make a living from it. As the organisers of the Comic Strip Festival, visit.brussels has been working in close collaboration with the Brussels-Capital Region in a bid to show its support for the creative process and bring existing initiatives together by launching a series of awards, most of which will be in cash and will allow the winners to fund their work. Offering €100,000 in prize money, a total of seven awards have already been confirmed, with several more in line to be added to the list between now and September.

Jean-David Morvan

Brussels Comic Strip Festival will award some brand new comics prizes for the first time: The Atomium Prizes, during a gala evening when no less than €100,000 will be awarded for the best new works from the past year. French comics writer, Jean-David is the sponsor of the Atomium Prizes. Jean-David Morvan will be on hand at his exhibition throughout the Brussels Comic Strip Festival. There he will discuss his work and welcome his main contributors to his couch. His contributors will come and show him (as well as the audience) their new panels, answer questions, improvise autograph sessions and other original performances.

This year the Brussels Comic Strip Festival is also celebrating good old Gaston’s 60th birthday. To mark the occasion, the Spirou Festival is inviting the famous, sixty-year-old lazybones to the Brussels Comic Strip Festival. An exhibition, a musical performance, conferences – it will be impossible to miss this perennial blunderer.

Over these three days, the European capital will eat, sleep, and breathe comics. A little train will travel around town and stop at the essential Ninth Art destinations around Brussels (Comics Art Museum, the MOOF, murals, book stores, etc.), free guided tours will bring visitors to see comics murals, many organisations from the Brussels-Capital Region will offer activities and discounts related to the Ninth Art. In short, from 1-3 September 2017, comics will be on the menu just about everywhere!

The Brussels Comic Strip Festival has become more international over the last two years. As part of the MIXITY.2017 year and in keeping with the diverse nationalities that call Brussels home, the booths and activities on offer are multi-cultural and multi-lingual. Languages will be well represented: in addition to the three national languages, Spanish, Italian, Chinese, and even Korean will be heard. Clear information available in several languages will be included in the Brussels Comic Strip Festival programme. The Brussels Comic Strip Festival is a Brussels-Capital Region initiative with the support of the City of Brussels and the COCOF, coordinated by visit.brussels.

Eroticism in comics

The 2017 Brussels Comic Strip Festival is taking advantage of its new setting to offer a number of comics-themed exhibitions. Numerous exhibitions will be held there, allowing visitors to explore certain iconic realms of the 9th Art. There will even be an exhibition devoted to eroticism in comics behind closed doors.

Young tourists look for kicks other than waffles

Well, these are maps which are as good as any tourist guide but actually they are so good that they are also souvenir in themselves. That means, when you are visiting a city then in search of a good souvenir, you first get a souvenir in form of a map. And these are no normal maps. These maps are now turning 10. USE-IT, the tourist info for young people, will soon celebrate its first ten years in European capital Brussels. They’re a household name for city maps made by young locals, with no-nonsense tips for how not to be caught as a tourist in Belgium. (Nope, we don’t have fruit on our waffles.)

These maps are starting to conquer Europe, and the research team Expeditions has measured the impact on tourism in the entire network. Does alternative city info really make people move outside of the city centre? Do they stay longer? And what does this imply for the local economy? The results were very positive, and Brussels stands out. 59% of users say they went further from the centre indeed. Desk personnel at hostels and the tourist infos confirm. 86% think also that off-the-beaten track information boosts the investment in the local economy. Furthermore, 14% of the young tourists extended their stay with one or more nights, and nearly everybody (97%) would like to get the same kind of no-nonsense info on their next city trips.

When asked about their best experience in Brussels, the maps’ local tips are mentioned more often than the tourist classics. Highlights include the panorama on top of Parking 58, the vegetable garden on top of the Albertina library, a walk through Molenbeek, going out at Bonnefooi until the morning, and pissing in the public urinal that’s built against Sint-Katelijne church.

The survey ran in the entire European USE-IT network (more than 40 cities) and Brussels came out on top. Of the 4,000 respondents, one out of three had already used the Brussels map. Strikingly, a large number of them (38%) was also motivated to start up a USE-IT map for their own city.

ALSO READ: Travelling to Where Locals Go

“The creative side of Brussels speaks to many tourists’ hearts, and USE-IT embodies that side well. As Alderman for Tourism it’s important that we support young innovative teams. So we’re proud that these city maps have spread out all over Europe from Brussels,” says Philippe Close, the Alderman of Tourism in Brussels.

The USE-IT headquarters is stationed in the Galerie Ravenstein, where it attracts more than 20,000 travellers per year. Apart from all the European free maps, visitors also get tips about nightlife there from the young Brussels volunteers, or they head out together for a walk along the Anderlecht supporters’ bars or the latest genital graffiti in town. Anything but the Manneken Pis.

Want to have local food while on travel! TTC partners VizEat!

Want to have some authentically local food while travelling abroad, but are afraid of what hotels serve in name of local dishes? Also, you might be interested in having local food in authentically local environments such as homes, but don’t know how to in a new city! Here is a brand new initiative.

The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) award-winning family of brands including Trafalgar, Insight Vacations, Contiki, Uniworld Boutique River Cruise Collection, Busabout and Evans Evans partnered globally with VizEat, the innovative and immersive food experience platform, bringing travellers together by offering immersive culinary experiences with their 22,000 local hosts in 110 countries. In 2014, the app was first launched in Paris and it has now become the world’s most popular meal sharing platform with guests being welcomed into a global network of hosts’ homes while making authentic connections with both locals and travellers.

TTC’s travel brands will be able to connect their guests to these VizEat hosts who are trained chefs and home cooks where they will share their delicious meals and learn about new cultures with other travellers  and foodies from across the globe. They will sample regional specialties and traditional cuisine in unique locations with a relaxed ambience. Travelers can enjoy a pasta making class in Rome, embark on an interactive market tour in Barcelona, indulge in a wine and cheese tasting party in Paris or join a Tuscan chef’s table and sample gastronomic delicacies.

“Our partnership with VizEat will enable our guests from across our 30+ TTC travel brands to discover amazing and fun culinary experiences in each destination which we visit while also interacting with the local people and creating unforgettable memories,” said Brett Tollman, Chief Executive Officer of The Travel Corporation. “We also share similar values by offering experiential experiences and meeting like-minded travellers from around the world.”

Beginning this summer, TTC’s guests will have an opportunity to enjoy these immersive food experiences on selected trips or as optional experiences through the assistance of their knowledgeable Travel Directors and Tour Managers.

“We’re thrilled to announce this global partnership with TTC and this marks a great opportunity for more travellers worldwide the chance to uncover immersive culinary experiences with locals wherever they go,” said Jean-Michel Petit, Chief Executive Officer of VizEat. “It’s a great match for both of us: TTC family of brands plans the most memorable experiences for their clients and VizEat is aligned in this search for unforgettable and authentic moments.”

The Travel Corporation (TTC) is a highly successful international travel group. No matter what your taste, whether you are a family or a couple, a group or traveling solo – TTC offers something for everyone. Its multi-award-winning portfolio ranges from luxury hotels and boutique river cruises, to independent holiday package companies and a variety of guided travel experiences.

Created as a joint initiative between The Travel Corporation’s (TTC) family of brands, the TreadRight Foundation is a not-for-profit that works to help ensure the environment and communities we visit remain for generations to come. Founded by Brett Tollman, Chief Executive Officer, TTC, to date TreadRight has supported more than 40 sustainable tourism projects worldwide. As an official Diamond Sponsor of the UN International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development 2017, TTC is dedicated to bringing the industry together with a shared goal of benefitting local communities and the environment.

VizEat website and apps are now available in English, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Chinese. Anyone can sign up to become either a host or a guest. The mobile apps for VizEat are available for download for iOS and Android. Apple selected VizEat in the TOP 3 Apps of 2016 and  CEO Tim Cook went for a VizEat lunch in Paris early February.

Pop-up & Disappear – First look into Epic Retreats

The first images of Epic Retreats – Wales’ first pop-up boutique hotel – have been revealed and there’s still time to book to become one of the fortunate 200 guests to enjoy the unique, exclusive experience. The eight cabins, which are the focus of a new Channel 4 documentary ‘Cabins in the Wild with Dick Strawbridge’, are all inspired by Welsh legends and will welcome their first guests on June 5.

(I have told you earlier about this. You can read here about ‘Disappearing Hotels of Wales‘.)

Epic Retreats will visit two locations across Wales this summer; Southern Snowdonia from June 5- June 30 and the Llŷn Peninsula from July 10 until September 11. Mid-week guests will also enjoy epic experiences tailored to each location, including private chefs, Welsh music and theatre performances.

Fewer than 200 bookings have been made available for the experience and inspiration for the units includes the legend of King Arthur, the iconic Welsh dragon and the country’s famous industrial heritage. Each boutique cabin includes a double, king size or circular bed, living area with wood burner and hob and en-suite facilities.

(Want to read more about Arthur’s Cave? Click to read about King Arthur Trail.)

All are winning designs, purpose-built for the Epic Retreats project, and chosen through a competitive tender, supported by Visit Wales, which invited architects from across the world to design unique glamping units themed on the mythology, tradition and beauty of Wales. In addition to the eight cabins the ‘hotel’ will also feature a communal area including a fridge for food storage, on-site BBQ and eating area. On arrival guests are provided with a welcome pack containing some of the best produce Wales has to offer, as well as bed linen, hand and bath towels and logs for the wood-burner.

Launched in celebration of Wales’s Year of Legends, Epic Retreats promises to immerse visitors in the most impressive landscapes and adventures the country has to offer. Co-founder of Epic Retreats, Llion Pughe said, “We are excited to finally reveal the eight cabins that make up Epic Retreats. “The unique cabins, complemented by our country’s stunning landscape, make for an unbeatable experience and we look forward to welcoming our first guests this summer who will get to see Wales in a completely unique setting.”

The Epic Retreats project is a partnership between Best of Wales, Cambria Tours and George + Tomos Architects and is part funded by the Welsh Government’s Tourism Product Innovation Fund. Ken Skates, Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Infrastructure, said: “Epic Retreats and the unique glamping pods, which all have their own story to tell,  will allow people the chance to experience Wales like never before.

“From art hotels and castles to trendy hostels and boutique B&Bs, Wales offers a wide array of varied and exciting accommodation choices.  The addition of our first pop-up glamping accommodation creates additional potential to attract visitors from far and wide to experience our amazing landscape and heritage during our Year of Legends 2017.”

Brussels will get ‘electric’ on this Iris

This coming 6-7 May, the Brussels-Capital Region will celebrate its 28th anniversary. This great festival brings together all the people of Brussels in the heart of their region and invites visitors to come and spend a weekend partying together. From free concerts to a variety of street activities, the Iris Festival draws a big audience, earning its place among the flagship events of the cultural and festival year in Brussels. Between Electro Night and Iris Nights dance floor enthusiasts will not have a moment’s rest.

On Saturday, 6 May dancers will also join in the party thanks to Electro Night which will close out the first day of the Iris Festival on a high note at Place des Palais starting at 7 PM. On Saturday, “The iris Festival in the communes” will offer the chance to explore a secret and unexpected side of Brussels by touring sites and institutions usually off limits to the public. Saturday night will feature electro music with a series of concerts that will turn Place des Palais into a giant dance floor.

Photo: (c) E. Danhier

During the day on Sunday, the Brussels Park will be transformed by a lot of activities. The cultural, athletic, and traditional associations of Brussels will present their activities in fun and interactive ways. Artistic troupes from Belgium and abroad will perform short, poetic shows, offering a magical moment to young and old alike! As the afternoon draws to a close, the Place des Palais stage will light up to welcome the project “We are Belgium” that will end this festival weekend on a high note!

Photo: (c) E. Danhier

Among the hundreds of free activities on offer during the festival weekend, Place des Palais concerts and Electro Night have been the most highly anticipated for years. It’s a wonderful time to come together and enjoy a fun festival atmosphere.

The must-see moment of the Iris Festival, Electro Night brings out fans of great music every year. Experts and novices alike will find something to love. The concerts, which will take place at Place des Palais right in the heart of Brussels, will once again showcase Belgian and international headliners.

Brussels boasts exuberant nightlife and the Iris Festival will be the ideal opportunity to spotlight its teeming array of clubs and parties. Throughout the weekend, Iris Nights invites partygoers to immerse in Brussels’ nightlife with different parties scattered around the Region.

Here’s a glimpse at a few of the many parties arranged for the occasion:

• Parad!gm Session: Codex Empire, Minimum Syndicat, Icon Template Place: Recyclart

• Parties@Centredufestivalcentrum Place: Dynastie Building

• We’re Beyond Place: Fuse

• Antitapas Rave-Einstein Night Place: Ravenstein Gallery

Get set for some fine wine & dine this September in Brussels

Food lovers have an appointment this 7, 8, 9 and 10 September for the sixth edition of eat! BRUSSELS, drink! BORDEAUX, the festival that highlights the big names in Brussels gastronomy and the delicious wines of Les Vins de Bordeaux. Several Brussels chefs will present one of their restaurant’s signature dishes to the public every day. The festival will once again get the public’s taste buds working in the lovely setting of Brussels Park.

For the sixth edition of the eat festival! BRUSSELS, drink! BORDEAUX, visit.brussels once again invites several of the best Brussels chefs to take over the pop-up kitchens set up in the heart of Brussels Park. They will all present one of their signature dishes. There will be something for everyone thanks to the diversity of the chefs and dishes presented.

Les Vins de Bordeaux are the key partners in this culinary experience for the fourth year in a row. Over fifty wine growers and traders will present their wines, which will complement the dishes prepared by the chefs. L’Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux will also be there. It will offer free workshops in which novices will be initiated in Bordeaux wines and the experienced can enhance their knowledge.

Brand new in 2017:

• Several chefs representing the Brussels scene will join to fly the flag for their restaurants. This will refresh the event’s offer.

• The event’s layout will be fully reviewed in order to provide an original experience, including the creation of a central ” square “.

  • This year, the eat! Awards will appear. They will reward the chefs who have been most successful during the event.irc

(All photos: ©E.Danhier)