Brusselicious 2012: The Top 10 Events at the Brussels Food Festival

The Guardian, January 5, 2012

The French may beg to differ, but for my money the Belgian capital is often a far better place to eat out than its more famous neighbour, Paris. So when the Belgians decide to organise a year-long food festival – Brusselicious – you can be sure that it will reveal some creative haute-cuisine from the city's outstanding young chefs, as well as being fun, irreverent, surreal, and quirky. There are dozens of events organised throughout the year, with reservations on

Sky-high dining

The most gastronomic and breathtaking event of Brusselicious is the four-week extravaganza in June that lives up to its vertiginous title – Dinner in the Sky amuse-gueules

Gourmet tram

Trams trundle all over the centre of Brussels, and one of the flagship Brusselicious events that will run from Tuesday to Sunday every week during the whole of 2012 is a futuristic white gourmet version

Brusselicious XXL

Brussels is always eccentric, as befits the home of Magritte, and the organisers of Brusselcious couldn't miss the chance of presenting at least one over-the-top surrealist event. From 22 June, and lasting for three months through the summer, the urban landscape of the city will suddenly become the canvas for XXL, an exhibition of gigantic sculptures frites

Dinosaur dinner

The Museum of Natural Sciences is one of the most innovative and exciting museums in Brussels, and at the heart of this sprawling building is a visually stunning Gallery of Dinosaurs, just as popular with adults as kids. Throughout March, while the Museum will hold an exhibition exploring the five senses, the Dinosaur Gallery will be transformed into a venue for a unique series of meals

Moules frites at Brussels beach

Like many European cities, Brussels has embraced the concept of the urban beach pioneered by Paris Plage, where city river banks are transformed each summer into sandy beaches complete with palm trees and deck chairs. The Belgian capital does not boast a grand river like the Seine, and instead has to make do with the Quai des Péniches, alongside a gritty industrial canal. But the Belgians make up for this lack of glamour with their infectious enthusiasm for partying, so as long as the sun decides to come out during the month of July, Bruxelles Les Bains will be a fun venue with one enormous dining table

Brusselicious Festival

Flagged as the showcase event of this gastronomic year, the Brusselicious Festival estaminetcarbonnade de boeuf

Brussels Wine Week

While Brusselicious will host a beer festivalBrussels Wine Week

The chip walk

For the Belgians, an old-fashioned "chippy" isn't a shop or cafe, but rather a fritkot follow the Brusselicious "chip walk"

A slow food week

From 17-23 September, Karikol, the city's Slow Food ConviviumBruxelles Potagère

Foodie Films

Running throughout the whole year of Brusselicious, the city's CinematekWho is Killing the Great Chefs of Europe?