7-9 November 2008
Another weekend, another European gastro-fest - this time in the Belgian countryside for Sophie's 30th birthday celebrations.
L'aubergesves. On a dark and chilly Saturday night, out in the middle of nowhere emerged a gastronomic delight in the cave-like hotel restaurant of L'aubergesves. The interior was like being inside a box of Valentines Day chocolates but the food was never twee. Each of the four courses from the nouveau French/game season menu was gracefully presented and absolutely delicious. We then toddled home for a midnight game of trivia/pass the parcel, with yours truly winning the final prize of....more Pierre Marcolini chocolate!
Visit Maredsous. Our Saturday 'mystery outing' was a very educational and entertaining guided tour through the Maredsous Benedictine abbey, cloisters and grounds. Our guide was extremely knowledgeable, and I learnt many things, including the meanings of St Benedict's book and staff, the religious significance of cathedral architecture, the reasons for different words for an animal and the meat (eg cow and beef) and the origin of the word Trappist. The tour was also very good value - 30 euros for the whole group. Finally, Maredsous is famous for its beer, wine and cheese, so I came away with a nice haul of gastro-goods.
Eurostar. Oh the joy of Eurostar yet again. Work stress meant that I arrived at Kings Cross station at 5:25pm, which meant I literally had 20 minutes to collect my ticket, check in, go through security and immigration and board the train. I bolted out of the tube like a greyhound, pleaded with numerous people who let me cut in and managed to get on the train ahead of the properly-organised Huy, Michael and Martin (albeit puffed and sweaty). Our Brussels-Namur connection was seamless and our witty and erudite conversation was interrupted only by a strange interlude where a middle-aged man seemed to want Michael to be the Guatemalan president. Our pre-organised taxi transfer from Namur was a little bit hairier, as we scuffed tyres and GPSed our way into some random woods for about 30 minutes before finally being deposited at the manoir.
Le Manoir de la Houte: Rue de la Houte 7, 5340 Gesves
T: +32 83 21 46 33
Boulangerie-Patisserie Sohet: rue Petite a Gesves
L'aubergesves: Le Pourrain, 4 - 5340 Gesves
La Petite Gesves: Chausee de Gramptinne, 5340 Gesves