As part of the Europe Day festivities, the Brussels-based European Institutions organised the Brussels Festival of Bread – La Fête Du Pain – which brought together bakers from around the world. Taking place at the centre of the Schuman roundabout, a stone’s throw from the European Commission building, the Bread Festival cleverly highlighted the diversity of the different cuisines of Europe while focusing on a single food which is consumed in all of Europe’s member states, albeit in different forms and styles.
La Fête Du Pain could only be described as a bread-lover’s dream. Rows and rows of stalls selling bread in all its forms – from white and brown to traditional and artisinal, large and small, plain and flavored, filled and topped – offered their products for tasting. Also on offer were a variety of accompanying products to enhance the staple food: meats, cheeses, oils, spreads, dips and wines. Definitely the highlight of the Europe Day festivities!
I was starving by the time we made it to the Bread Festival. I followed my nose to the smoke coming from several barbecues in the pavilion – the smell of onions frying and meat grilling got stronger as we approached the stalls and my hunger went up a notch.
There were quite a few stands selling bread-based hot foods, such as pizzas, pies and tartines. But the most appetising were the Jack O’Shea stand selling made to order burgers and sausage sandwiches, and a less commercial stand serving up delicious-looking skinless sausages that were being frantically cooked by two ladies on a single tiny grill press. The home-style charm of this stand appealed to me the most (I felt almost like I was at a friend’s backyard barbeque), so I took my place in the queue and waited for my sausages to be ready.
Three sausages were served on a paper plate, with a side of French mustard for dipping and of course some fresh bread. The sausages were amazing – extremely tasty, juicy in the middle with just a hint of spice and a generous amount of garlic. The queue had continued to grow while we ate so by the time I’d devoured the last mouthful the huge line meant there was little prospect of queuing again for seconds, which was a shame since I could have easily managed another plateful. While the serving was generous, it just wasn’t enough – especially since I was forced to share the last one!
La Fête Du Pain
Rond Pont Schuman, 1000 Brussels