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Issue 46 - Whisky à la carte in Belgium

Whisky Magazine Issue 46
March 2005

 

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Whisky à la carte in Belgium

Whisky dinners are becoming increasingly popular in Belgium. Martine Nouet meets a chef passionate about malt on the plate

Whisky is a serious matter in Belgium. Whisky clubs number their members by hundreds, not by dozens. A new distillery has even started operating on old-looking pot-stills in Grâce-Hollogne, a village located in Flemish Belgium.

With a peculiar name, PUR-E distillery, it intends to produce 200 casks in 2005. It may be tiny but owner Etienne Bouillon has high hopes it will be profitable. He has already started selling a few bottles of the new make (reduced to 40% abv).

When you think about it, there is nothing surprising about a beer producing country going that little bit further and making whisky. So no-one should too surprised to discover that whisky dinners make for quite popular entertainment.

Bob Minnekeer is a great advocate of whisky in the plate. He owns and runs a very special place, The Glengarry Scottish Pub, in Gand. A whisky bar in the cellar and a whisky shop on the ground floor display more than 1,200 different whiskies - quite a good selection to quench the thirst for knowledge of the 1,400 members of his whisky club.

Tasting sessions, lectures and classes are given downstairs. Bob also organises whisky dinners. He remembers having invited a celebrity chef to cook for 80 guests. “We had an eight course menu and sampled nine whiskies. We had to put up and take down a full professional kitchen just for one single day! It was great fun.” Bob Minnekeer has run these dinners for a good 10 years. He loves cooking with whisky himself.

“When you cook with w...

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