Monday, September 22, 2014

A fair and a star

I knew there was something I forgot to tell you in my last blog, but I thought that since I'd sorted through all of my photos, I mustn't be missing anything. But I forgot that I didn't take my camera to Luxembourg the other week when we visited the Schueberfoeur.

The Schueberfouer is a fair in Luxembourg that has been going since 1340, when it was founded by John the Blind, King of Bohemia and Count of Luxembourg. That's a pretty sweet pedigree. That makes this year's edition the 674th of the fair!

There's nothing particularly historic when you get in there though. It's pretty much your standard fun-fair, with a mix of carnival rides, food stalls and sideshow attractions. (Jules and I were talking about fairs, and apparently they don't have the sort of school fairs we have back home, where everyone will bake cakes to raise money for the school and if you're lucky you'll get dragged around a field on a "magic carpet ride" hooked up to the back of a 4 wheel drive. Dommage.) There are lots of people - it apparently attracts around 2 million visitors each year, which either means a lot of Luxembourgers go more than once, or a lot of people come from outside the country, since that's around 4 times the country's population. Unlike the Luxembourg national day celebrations, it wasn't tooo crowded, although it was getting pretty packed by the time we left.

At the Schueberfoeur
One of this year's new attractions was the Skyfall, the world's largest movable free-fall ride at 80 metres tall. The view from the top was pretty amazing, but this has got to be one of the most terrifying things I've ever done. I wasn't even so much mentally scared as physically scared. I think there's a point where your body goes "that's it, I'm going to die". Even worse was doing it again after the first time!

Those are people up there

Up we go! Jules stayed on terra firma to take pictures

Waiting for the g-g-g-ghost train
Later on, after enjoying some delicious gromperekichelcher, we took a ride on the Ferris Wheel, itself 55 metres high, which gave us some great views of the fair.

View of the fair from the Ferris Wheel, with the Skyfall in the background

Visiting the fair also gave me the chance to catch up with one of my former colleagues

Jules

Et moi
Fast-forward to this weekend (skipping over our trip to Aachen for the moment) and the big event was our Michelin-starred lunch. Saturday was a gorgeous day, so we went out and about a bit before and after to enjoy it. It was the journées du patrimoine, but unfortunately we didn't have time to see anything since obviously the lunch took up the middle of the day. Instead, we visited the Botanic Gardens. Which if you ask me aren't very botanic, since there were no signs or anything telling you what the different plants were, and the greenhouse-looking thing is actually a (very hot) cultural/music venue as far as we could tell. Not the most impressive place in the world, but quite nice on a lovely sunny day regardless.

A beautiful day in the botanic gardens

Help! Crocodile attack!

It got me!
Then it was off to Bruneau, to "Dine with the Stars". This is a special promotion where you can go to have lunch or dinner in a range of Michelin-starred restaurants throughout Belgium. The deal being, it's a bit cheaper than normal, but you have a "surprise" menu. I sort of wimped out on the surprise even before we got there by writing "please no mushrooms" on the reservation, luckily enough since they were indeed featured in the main dish. Damn mushrooms are everywhere. I also had to get Jules to tell the waiter that I didn't want the coffee icecream dessert. I would have tried most things, but I really hate coffee. I can't even stand the smell. If there was a choice between nothing or a coffee dessert, I'd pick nothing. The restaurant went one better though, and brought me a chocolate tart! Could not have been happier, they called that one right!

First was an amuse-bouche of a mini goat's cheese waffle, followed by a trio of hors d'oeuvres - a pea soup, a cold sea bream preparation and a cod croquette. These were all really nice (especially the deep-fried cod bite), I forgot to take photos though.

Next was a "mosaic" of fish, made of salmon, eel and caviar, served cold. This is the sort of thing I'd never order, and I did leave some of the gelée, but that's actually just because it got in my head. When I was actually eating it without thinking about it, it tasted fine, but once I started really looking at the gelée, I couldn't any more. I don't even like gelée on the top of fruit tarts or whatever.


Fish "mosaic"
Second course was venison, normally served with a mushroom toast, but in my case served with a fig concoction. That thing at the front that looks like cheese is actually celery! The texture was a bit strange on its own, sort of like butter, but when eaten together with the venison it melted into it deliciously. The meat was perfectly cooked - again, venison wouldn't normally be my first choice on a menu - and the pommes dauphines were so good, I could have eaten a plate of them on their own.

Venison
Next was the famous chocolate tart, served with hot liquid chocolate and, hidden in the icecream, something I don't even know what it was, but it crackled like pop rocks when you put it in your mouth. So good! I bet that's how they would describe it on a menu - crackles like pop rocks...

Chocolate tart
It's not often a plate of sweets makes me groan, but the selection below that came with Jules's coffee was the straw that broke our stomachs' spirits. We did still eat them all though...

Mignardises
So, a very nice lunch, and I enjoyed the concept of the surprise menu even if I did cheat a little bit. They were very nice and accommodating about making those changes, which is great. It was nice to do it at lunch as well, as the restaurant was pretty quiet. Only complaint was that it was a little bit too hot in the room for me, and there was no air-conditioning, and the décor is a bit hotelly, but that is being picky.

We took a post-prandial stroll to the nearby Basilica to work off some of the calories (and sober up a bit, at least in my case). It wasn't really anything special inside (and a particularly irritating priest was baptising a baby in there), but it's apparently the 12th biggest church in the world and the world's largest Art Deco-style building (says Wikipedia). It doesn't look all that Art Deco to me, but what do I know?

Sacred Heart basilica

Photographing the view from the basilica steps

Me and Jules at the basilica
Then it was time to go home, watch qualifying on delay and basically loll about nursing our food babies. Good day! And on Sunday, I stayed in my PJs all day and watched Hamilton win the F1, which also counts as a very good day in my book :)

11 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. You haven't been paying attention! ;) Yummy potato rosti type things.

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  2. Great post - you are having the time of your life by the sounds of it!
    I am amazed you had the nerve to go on the Skyfall a second time. Did Jules not go on at all?

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    1. We were strapped in, had no choice ha ha! Nope, no scary rides for Jules

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  3. That croc's got no taste!

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    1. I would make a fine croc-en-bouche I'll have you know.

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  4. That fair looks like fun! And I soooooo want to eat that dessert of yours! It looks so amazing!

    -Shannon

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    1. It was super yummy! Take that over coffee ice cream any day of the week!

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  5. That entry sign to the fair looks so festive! Makes me want to go in.

    That tart looks good.

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    Replies
    1. There's always the 675th fair!

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  6. What possessed you to do the Skyfall?! The Ferris Wheel would have been enough for me. 674 fairs is impressive. The St. Martin fair in Vevey, Switzerland (where we used to live) is up to 540 something, which I thought was a substantial number.

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