Celebrating in Berchem


#1 Cheese shop in Europe

To celebrate my thesis defense, my father-in-law joined me in Berchem for an assortment of delicious cheeses at Michel Van Tricht & Zoon Kaasaffineurs before joining Koen for dinner at Orso Pizzeria.

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Koen’s Birthday: Het Gebaar


Het Gebaar


For Koen’s birthday we celebrated at one of our favorite restaurants, Het Gebaar. Het Gebaar is a Michelin star restaurant by Roger Van Damme serving haute Belgian cuisine and magical, beautiful desserts. At the end Koen received a surprise from the restaurant! Our waitress brought out a giant cake with a special dessert for Koen on top! Continue reading

Burgundy Day Two

Driving to Beaune

Burgundy countryside on our way to Beaune

Because we spent the first day at the house relaxing, for Saturday we planned a day trip to Beaune, known as the “Capital of Burgundy Wines”. Where better to take a walk through the vineyards, visit a chateau, and taste a few wines?

We began our day in Beaune with fuel for the rest of the day – aka coffee! After our caffeine boost, we headed to the Parc de la Bouzaize for a family picnic. We already packed the necessities – French cheese and fresh vegetables – and picked up fresh baked baguettes while walking through the city.

After lunch, we took a walk through the park which ultimately led us to the vineyards. What a breathtaking view. This was the first time I’d seen a vineyard. In Beaune, there are many routes you can walk through, and we took the one up a hill and were able to overlook not only the vineyards, but also the city of Beaune. The sun was shining, the sky was clear and blue, I had to keep pinching myself to know it was all real.

This was the perfect precursor to our tasting. We visited Bouchard Père et Fils, one of the oldest wine estates in Burgundy (founded in 1731!). Taken from their site, here is a description of the Château de Beaune:

In 1820 Bernard Bouchard purchased the Château de Beaune, a former royal fortress built in the 15th century by King Louis XI.

Four of the five original towers of the fortress, as well as parts of the ramparts, still stand today, and have featured on the list of historic monuments since 1937.

The cellars run deep underground beneath the property providing ideal natural storage conditions for Bouchard Père & Fils’ fine wines. 

Up to 10 metres deep, the wines develop and age undisturbed. These include a unique collection of over 2,000 bottles from the 19th century. A priceless historical legacy with, as its icon, the oldest wine – a Meursault Charmes 1846 which still retains its luster.

After our tour of the Château, we were able to sample 6 wines – 3 red and 3 white. Koen and I couldn’t leave without buying a few bottles!

A trip to Burgundy wouldn’t be complete without a typical Burgundy meal – boeuf bourguignon, a meat stew made with red wine (from Burgundy, of course). For dinner we made reservations at 21 Boulevard, a restaurant specializing in the food of the region, located in a 15th century cellar. It was a great way to end our day in Beaune!

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Burgundy Day One

Our beautiful house for the weekend in Burgundy, France

Our beautiful house for the weekend in Burgundy, France

May 2015 marks the 35 year wedding anniversary of Koen’s parents Dook and Els. All of the children wanted to do something special, so we planned a weekend getaway to Burgundy, France for all 8 of us. The date was made known, but the destination remained a suprise until the day we departed!

We chose a beautiful house in Saint-Germain-Des-Bois, in the countryside to stay for the weekend. Koen and I drove down with his parents. To break up the trip, we made a quick stop in Péronne for lunch and to stretch our legs. Péronne is in Picardy, France and boasts a big history for such a small country town. The Museum of the Great War is located in the old chateau, and the whole city has statues and monuments dedicated to the Australians and WWI. Why Australia? I had the same question and looked it up once I was back home in Antwerp. At the Battle of Mont Saint-Quentin, Australian troops stormed, seized and held the key height of Mont Saint-Quentin (overlooking Péronne), a pivotal German defensive position on the line of the Somme.

The four of us arrived in Saint-Germain-Des-Bois at Moulin du Merle, at exactly the same time as Koen’s sisters. We had already done groceries and enjoyed the evening cooking together, drinking wine, and playing games all night!

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Koen’s Birthday!

Gin Tonic

This year Koen’s birthday fell on a Tuesday – my day off. Koen’s parents came to Antwerp that afternoon and we did a lot of groceries – going to the butcher, cheese shop, and Delhaize – so we could prepare a dinner of Koen’s favorite foods.

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Sinterklaas 2014


Sinterklaas is a special holiday celebrated in the beginning of December in the Netherlands and Belgium. I love drawing a name and writing poems and creating the “surprise”, or handmade gift that embodies some attribute of the person. It makes it that much more special than just giving a gift because of the time and effort spent.

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Christmas 2013!

Opening my Christmas gifts from my parents!

Opening my Christmas gifts from my parents!

Koen and I celebrated Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in Roosendaal, first at his Aunt Maartje and Uncle Sjaak’s house and then at the Brörmann house for Christmas. Unfortunately Nikki, Brigiet, and Sofie could not make it to Roosendaal to celebrate with us – Nikki and Brigiet were in Friesland and Sofie was surfing in Spain! Christmas Eve, we all made special dishes – Koen and I made two types of meatballs – and enjoyed an evening with lots of laughter and delicious food. The next day began with Christmas brunch. The entire afternoon we took turns in the kitchen preparing for dinner. I made macarons for the first time! Oma joined us for our delicious dinner which included a game where we guess what Dook is thinking. Koen and I were the winners guessing Roy Donder’s huispak and Oma’s pearl necklace! After dinner we facetimed my family in the States where they were also enjoying Christmas dinner! Also, special thank you to Barbara for the beautiful photos from Christmas!

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