Stefaan Couttenye, one of the first chefs to pair beer with gourmet cuisine in Belgium in the 1980’s, has a new book out. Couttenye is the chef and owner of the famous ‘t Hommelhof in Watou, a must-visit restaurant in the beautiful brewer’s village, near the border with France.
Couttenye is the dean of Belgium’s “Beer Cuisine” chefs, and has written several books on the subject. In this new one, he teams up with his son, Simon, who is the host and the beer specialist at ‘t Hommelhof. Simon has even set up a small brewery inside the restaurant, where small-batch beers meant for diners are brewed. The small batch size lends itself well to experimentation, and production is kept to a minimum so the beers are exclusive to ‘t Hommelhof. At present, “Frambley” is the most popular house beer. Simon chose the beers to pair with his Dad’s dishes for this book, and only beers from the region are featured in it. It’s all local.
The book is lavishly illustrated with images from the “Westhoek,” which is a region of West Flanders Province, where ‘t Hommelhof is located. Farms, breweries, hop fields, coastal areas, and of course Stefaan’s gourmet dishes are pictured. It is a beautiful book, and one that any cook-and Belgian beer lover-would love to have in their library. It is published in English.