Written on 20/11/2023 by
The epicureans among us can enjoy good food without having to give up on their social and environmental awareness. In Ghent, we have been demonstrating for years that even the most Burgundian food culture can be based on sustainable values: local, zero waste, vegetable.
The one thing the citizens of Ghent have inherited from the Dukes of Burgundy is their love of good food.
Lieta Goethijn

In Ghent, eating well is synonymous with eating responsibly

In Ghent, there is an abundance of special food establishments: trendy or traditional, flamboyant or sober, quiet or comfortably crowded.  Weather permitting, you can also take a seat in a lively outdoor café, where you can catch up with friends surrounded by the clink of glasses and the sound of laughter. The one thing the citizens of Ghent have inherited from the Dukes of Burgundy is their love of good food. Ghent is a city of and for epicureans, although the wasteful ways of the Middle Ages have long been left behind. The people of Ghent aim to enjoy their Burgundian lifestyle in a sustainable manner.   

Even in winter, the outdoor cafés in Ghent are bustling whenever the weather is nice.

Food strategy

Ghent has been a pioneer in the field of sustainable food (policy) for many years now. In 2013, the City launched its food strategy titled “Ghent en Garde”. At the same time, a Food Council was set up, in which quite a number of organisations that are part of the local food system are represented.  Ghent en Garde makes the local food system more sustainable by focusing on three objectives: (1) a short and sustainable food chain, (2) sustainable food for everyone, (3) zero waste. Since then, Ghent has promoted sustainable initiatives in all links of the food chain, from production to waste processing.  

Sustainable menus

You don’t have to put your ideals and good resolutions on hold during your city break in Ghent; you can go out to eat in one of the many restaurants in the city with total peace of mind.  In no other city will you see so many sustainable, local and vegetarian dishes on the menu.  And by the way, the culinary preferences of vegans are not overlooked, either.   

Knol en Kool won the Belgian Vegan Awards in the category “Best Breakfast/Brunch” in 2022.

Veggie heaven

Ghent has been called the vegetarian capital of Europe for years, and with good reason.  I for one don’t know of any other city in Belgium that offers as many vegetarian options.  A treat for those who, like me, don’t eat meat, but also for anyone who enjoys a vegetarian dish now and then.  In Ghent almost every food establishment has a selection of vegetarian dishes on the menu, and there are even a few top-notch restaurants that only serve veggie meals.

Vegan paradise

The fact that the City of Ghent has paved the way for vegetarian entrepreneurs and organisations is evident from the offer of vegetable-based options in the city.  Even the local chip shops have adopted a vegetarian and vegan mindset and offer a selection of delicious plant-based snacks.  When in Ghent, you will have no trouble finding a plant-based coffee bar, and some bakeries even (exclusively) sell plant-based products.  Ghent always does very well at the annual Belgian Vegan Awards. Knol & Kool, a vegan packaging-free minimarket-cum-bistro, was the winner in the category “Best Breakfast and Brunch” in 2022. Be sure to stop by and try it out!  

Lieta Goethijn

Lieta Goethijn is responsible for the food strategy of the city of Ghent.  As a mum, she also tries to cook healthy and sustainable meals at home.  Her magic words? Local, social, sustainable, respectful. Being a vegetarian and a member of a self-picking farm, Lieta enthusiastically adheres to the principle “practice what you preach”

Read all blogposts by Lieta Goethijn