Burgundian Belgium: Why beer deserves a place on your festive table

Just about all the Belgians drink it like a fresh pint, but when it comes to the party grab still flock to champagne or wine. That beer can perfectly harmonise with a gourmet dinner, proves Bapas with this festive menu.

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Christmas eve is in sight and maybe you have in addition to an abundance of food even though some of its most prestigious bottles of champagne, the fridge is loaded. But did you also look at the classic bubbles in exchange for surprising beers of their own soil? Now the Belgian beer culture by Unesco as heritage was acknowledged, is no doubt that our quality beers is on the rise and so are very good reasons to have their place on your kerstdis to requirements. Know that they lived in Bapas – full: Belgian biertapas – where they have the gourmet beer value not only as art, but almost as a science.

Unique taste sensations

“We felt there was a gap in the market,” says Karl Van Malderen, voedingsexpert, and the driving force behind the concept. ‘We have in Belgium very good beers and a nice kitchen. But whatever the combination, people are not really doing, or they do it from their gut instinct. We Belgians are exuberant, but also classic: in the USA, serving chefs for a much longer time beer.’ There, they want to Bapas to bring about change, by showing that you with beer not only can cook, but that a particular beer a court can ‘complete’ and for unique taste sensations .

From the cookbooks Bapas 1 and 2 suggested Van Malderen especially for Knack Weekend, a perfectly – balanced christmas meal with custom beers together. Almost all the dishes are seasonal, and also require not too much time in the kitchen.

‘Christmas is for me christmas is about family and fun’, says the beer connoisseur, ” People should be especially for their guests. We really take into account.’

Geuze, champagne among beers

The first brew is already at the aperitif is served, according to Van Malderen is the ideal starter to get the appetite to rouse: “The first beer is a gueuze, a fair and artisan beer with us. Geuze is a result of a mixture of Lambiekbrouwsels, used to be the drink of choice for the workmen on the farms around Brussels.’

‘The moederbier Lambic is brewed with a substantial part of wheat and came to life by spontaneous fermentation. That is to say, that after the cooking of the wort, the natural yeasts from the air in the liquid may fall to the sugars in alcohol to convert. In that sense, the lambic and the gueuze real oerbieren: that way were probably centuries ago, all beers were brewed.’

Thus, it is not only a pretty sour taste, but also very hard to champagne thinking. “The gueuze is the champagne among beers called, call some to him also the champagne of the farmers. Therefore, I thought it would be fun as a starter, ” says van Malderen.

‘Not everyone is sure to find, because it is a sour beer with complex underlying flavors that can go from Sherry to something more zuivelachtig.’ Geuze is the result of a sophisticated blend of lambiekbieren of different age and tastes. To many palates, recommend Van Malderen to your guests three different types of Geuze to offer, ranging from a sweet to a more aromatic variant.

After the gueuze beer, a double beer , and a fruity beer. More beers you drink at your own risk, because other than wine, beer carbon dioxide, causing a feeling of fullness soon occurs. “But of course you have to count that in beer have less alcohol, so that is digests better’, refutes Van Malderen.


‘At my home, we drink at christmas is always beer instead of champagne. So this year we are going as a dessert, something to do with chocolate mousse with a crumble, in combination with Naughty. That is a black beer that earlier from anglo-Saxon countries. Nowadays it is the trend to black beer to lagering process, so there is tones of caramel and toffee emerge. New Belgian brewers experimenting with that maturation process. That additional layering works very well in combination with fruit desserts.’

It should be clear that beer is quite a bit more can mean a fresh pint. “It’s pure craftsmanship, and an important part of our tradition. Beer deserves to be a full-fledged place on the menu’, concludes Van Malderen.


Viooltjesoester with passion fruit

Marinated cucumber, salmon tartare, haringeitjes

Bresse chicken wings, smoked bacon, sour tomato sauce, gremolata

Varkenswang, truffle potato chips, mango pickles cream

Panna cotta of white chocolate and raspberries

All the (slightly adapted) recipes from the cookbooks:

Bapas 1, Sven Gatz and Karl Van Malderen, Standard publishing – sold out

Bapas 2, Karl Van Malderen, Manteau – still on sale via the standaard boekhandel

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