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First Belgian edition of Fooding restaurant guide includes 400 culinary addresses
What’s in a name? Well fooding – a mash of food and feeling – is the magic word that infuses the French culinary guide, founded in 2000.
Now it has launched a Belgian Fooding edition, available in French and Dutch, that highlights 400 restaurants, bistros, bars, independent food stores and other gourmet favourites.
But it’s no Michelin or Gault&Millau bible. This more irreverent guide is devoted to tracking down the tastiest dishes, refreshments and produce, which are served with passion and emotion while remaining accessible and, for the most part, affordable.
From restaurants cafes and bars to specialised food stores and even places to stay, they aim to reflect the full flavour of Belgium’s rich and creative culinary landscape.
A team of independent foodies scoured cities, towns and villages in Brussels, Flanders and Wallonia to test some 700 establishments before making their final selection.
Categories and practical tips are informative and colloquial. They range from neo-bistro, Belgian, places to be seen or have a splurge and mixologist cocktail bars to taverns, wine and beer cellars and ‘feeling’ places (combining good vibes and food). There’s also plenty of world cuisine suggestions.
A batch of Michelin-star chefs make an appearance, alongside addresses offering local specialities, while avoiding national cliches.
The listing guide is preceded by a series of features exploring various facets of the national gastronomy scene, from Belgian versions of spag bol, regional dishes, the love affair with fritkots and where to source a good gueuze.
It was important for the first edition to evoke the singularity of dishes and places in Belgium... but differently, according to editor-in-chief Elisabeth Debourse (pictured right with editorial director Christine Doublet).
“We eat what we eat – including fries – for specific and unique reasons… That’s what I wanted to share in this part of the magazine,” says the journalist of the feature section.
“The idea was to embrace our culinary particularities without resorting to cliches. I myself am Bruxelloise and nothing annoys me more than seeing the cultural cuisine of my country reduced to fries or chocolate.”
Belgium’s Fooding guide 2023 is on sale for €20 at bookshops, newsagents and in Delhaize (its main partner), as well as from its e-shop. From September, all of the Belgian recommendations will be listed on the website lefooding.com and app.
Photos: Christine Doublet and Elisabeth Debourse ©Maurine Toussaint