Wednesday, September 20, 2006

An Anglo-Irish wedding dinner in Brussels

Here is the third installment of my 2006 wedding reports. Earlier this summer, I went to a wedding in Greece and then in Sweden. Just under a month ago, my English friend Helen and her Irish fiance David, whom I met during my first year in Edinburgh (i.e. in 1998-1999), finally took the step into marital bliss after almost 10 years together. Or, as the Best Man said at the wedding, David finally made an honest woman out of Helen:) They have been living and working in Brussels, Belgium, since completing their postgraduate degrees in Edinburgh, and therefore decided to get married in Brussels, too.

I've mentioned Helen on my blog before. She was the first person to tell me about celiac disease. I had never heard of gluten intolerance before, and Helen gave me a crash course in what she can eat and what she cannot. In late 1990s, I was still more of a baker than a cook, and realising I cannot bake my favourite cakes for my new friend (yes, that included my Canadian apple cake) was frustrating. I had to think of flourless cakes to bake, but that's how a rather nice and rich whisky & chocolate roly-poly found a way to my kitchen, so I'm not complaining. I also had to learn how to look for traces of gluten in the unlikeliest places - most soy sauces, for example, are out of the question. I remember being surprised that Helen had to go to pharmacy to pick up her special gluten-free pasta, and she had to consult a little book to see which potato crisps were acceptable and which not.

Anyway, back to the wedding. Helen and David had a civil ceremony, which took place at their local commune, Maison Communale de Saint Gilles. This was followed by dinner & dancing at L'Abbaye de Nizelles (above), a lovely mansion a short drive from Brussels. And the food was delicious. Here's what we had:

We started with Ballotin de sole et homard à la nage - a lovely sole and lobster dish:

This was followed by Magret de canard au miel d'acacia, sauce vinaigre de framboises:

Finally, we had a pudding suitable for a gluten-free diet, Vacherin glacé, fruits frais et coulis de fruits de l’été:

And later on, after some coffees, more drinks, and lots of dancing, we were served a festive cheese course (photo above).

Definitely a night to remember. Thank you, Helen and David, for inviting me, and Rob and Mig for hosting me!


Roxy said...

Wish them the best. I remember them as a very nice couple. As for the feast, what can I say, it looks gorge!!!

Kat said...

very elegant!

Sam said...

wow! an exploding cheese wedding 'cake'.
that's an amazing idea.

And not suprising they used their imagination to come up with something unique since traditional British wedding cake is so hokey, usually.

Vongrats to all your married friends

johanna said...

this looks so much better than the wedding i've been to this year... except the one for which I catered, of course ;-)

Paz said...

How lovely! Looks like a beautiful and tasty celebration.


Pille said...

Roxy, it was a lovely occasion, and the couple looked very much in love (just like they did back in 98-99!)

Kat - indeed!

Sam - thanks for commenting, and yes, a frozen wedding cake was different and really refreshing. And I really-really loved the tiered cheese "cake"!

Johanna - as I said, should I ever need a wedding caterer, I know whom to call:)

Paz - it was indeed.

Anonymous said...


This may seem very random but I was doing a google search for caterers and Abbaye de Nizelles and one of the results was your blog about a wedding you went to there! I am getting married there next year and am in the process of trying to find caterers. I was wondering if you happened to know or were able to find out who the cateres were (as the food looks lovely!) as I really want to get it right as the food is one of the most important parts of the day! Apologies if you think this a very random comment on your blog when I don't even know you but any help would be much appreciated...!

Many thanks.


Anonymous said...

Hi there,
Pille forwarded me your message. I can happily recommend the caterer we used, last August. It was Marc Houbart
0475 595641
He was fantastic! Enjoy your preparations, we loved the Abbaye de Nizelles!

Anonymous said...

thank you so much for your help, his name was actually already on my list so just nice to have the reassurance that he is good! Thanks again.

Pille said...

Thanks, Helen, for the information - and have a smooth wedding preparation period K!