This is the article I would never have wanted to sit down and write. Since Tuesday, the day the Brussels attacks took place, I have had what you may call a writer’s block or rather this feeling that whatever I write on the subject of food and wine would be pointless.
After all, food and wine is the subject of celebration, of enjoyment of life and of community.
It’s not the first time I’ve experienced this feeling. Go back to November, the Paris attacks and the subsequent Brussels lockdown and I have this feeling of deja vu. On Tuesday evening, as I sit on the sofa after what may probably be described as the longest day of my life, I have no intention of writing. I am glued to the television, something I normally have no time for.
But this time is different. My city, the city I have called home for nearly 11 years has been hit and wounded. I’m not in the mood to write about food and wine even though I have a number of articles that are waiting in the pipeline.
I’ve had this feeling of helplessness during the Brussels lockdown in November just after the Paris attacks. During those few days, I was also glued to the television to find out what was happening.
Brussels, one of the most multicultural cities in the world, has never been the same since then, even though there has been the feeling that the city was learning to cope with the new normal.
The feeling compared to the Brussels lockdown is however different. Unfortunately, the attacks do not come as a complete surprise. The threat level has been very high since November and a terror attack was unfortunately something that we had been expecting at some point or another.
But when it actually materialised and hit home, the first feeling was one of denial, then of loss and helplessness and finally anger.
This time it is also different because the city and the country as a whole had a different reaction to the attacks compared to the November lockdown. Although the terror threat is at its highest and will remain so for a few days, the city went back to ‘normal’ as soon as possible and this also seemed to have a therapeutic effect on the population at large.
So what does this have to do with food and wine you might say?
Not much, other than the fact that we will resume writing again, celebrating life and the importance of food in our lives.
Over the coming weeks, we have a number of articles lined up which celebrate Brussels and Belgium. You will be able to read about one of Belgium’s top chocolatiers Benoit Nihant who is set to open more chocolate shops in the Belgian capital. We have an interview with the creators of the Brussels Beer Project, an interview with a young chocolatier, Tom Vanthemsche, from The Cacao Tree who set up shop on the outskirts of Brussels in Rhode St Genese. We also have an interview lined up with Matthieu Chaumont, founder of Hortense Spirits and Cocktails in Brussels and the creator of Bishops Gin.
We will not let the attacks stop us. Unfortunately, going to the Brussels airport or passing from the Maelbeek station will never be the same again. We will not forget the innocent victims who died during these cowardly attacks. We owe it to them to continue to live our lives normally. We also owe it to ourselves.
Today more than ever, Brussels is Bruxelles Ma Belle.