De Smaakboot - Week van de smaak

Every year in November Flemish foodies are spoiled with an eleven day food festival. All over Flanders and Brussels you can follow workshops and events, cities organize special culinary walks and sustainability, artisan and local produce are put in the spotlights: De Week van de Smaak is marked in every foodie's diary.
A favourite event of 'The week van de Smaak' festival is 'De Smaakboot': a beautifully restored barge transformed into a restaurant, that goes from city to city and has a different chef every day, preparing a lunch menu on the boat. 
One lazy Sunday a few weeks ago I answered a competition on their Facebook page and see, two days later my sister and I boarded 'De Smaakboot', from Ypres to Diksmuide with Icelandic chef Vilhjalmur Sigurdarson from restaurant Souvenir

It was was a grey misty morning but the golden gilded back of the 'Smaakboot' lay glistering in the water. Above deck the boat looked small and long but when the doors for below deck opened we saw the cosy wooden paneled interior and it immediately felt like a restaurant.  
The Gentse Barge was built to the copy of a model from the 18th century when rich families used it as a means of transport between Ghent and Bruges. Even then the trip was made interesting with culinary appetizers. You can rent the 'Smaakboot' for parties but once a year the 'Week van de Smaak' festival takes over. 

The dishes we tasted were all paired with different beers from seasonal brewery Reninge. The beers were introduced by the ever enthusiastic and knowledgeable beer connoisseur Sofie Vanrafelghem and brewer-historian Chris Vandewalle. It was a very pleasant discovery and top marks for the organisation to introduce these beers to the guests. 

Every year the Smaakboot has a different theme, last year was chicory and I am saying this proud as punch: my sister was one of the chefs then (she even was the only female chef that week!). She said it was one of the most extraordinary cooking experiences she ever had, the atmosphere is so great and the challenge of cooking on a boat was so rewarding. This year we boarded as guests and she recalled so many happy moments while now sitting at the table herself. 

The theme this year was fish and sustainability and in the afternoon we listened to a presentation on the problems that are faced in the fishery sector. As a fish lover I can't stress enough how important it is that we are aware of this problem. 

these delicacies were on the menu:

Foie gras bite with cacao and a roasted romanseco soup 
Beer: Reninge Bitter Blond 
Confit White Fish with caramelised cauliflower, hazelnuts and shallots
Beer: Reninge Bitter Blond 
Seabass with kale and a shellfish emulsion
Beer: Reninge Oud Bruin 
Pear with applecider, white chocolademousse and sorrel ice cream
Beer: Reninge Krieken Rood 

We ended the day with a culinary tour through the town of Diksmuide and a promise to be back soon. Thank you Tilde and friend, our lovely table companions, I gathered enough new addresses both from Ypres and Diskmuide in my notebook for a long visit next year. 

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