Feast like a 15th-century Burgundian
The Late Middle Ages are a truly fascinating period in terms of gastronomy. Indeed, no-one outdid the Burgundians in their lavish banquets and sumptuous diners. No wonder that to this day we use the term ‘Burgundian’ to describe the rich Flemish cuisine.
Did you know? No fewer than 75 plants, herbs and fruits can be identified in the luxuriant landscapes depicted in the Ghent Altarpiece!
From the 15th century to the 21st century
What dishes did the Burgundians enjoy most? How was food prepared and stored? And did people in the Middle Ages eat with knife and fork?
Historian Annelies Van Wittenberghe (Ghent University) and food archaeologist Jeroen Van Vaerenbergh have explored the historical culinary sources for OMG! Van Eyck was here. They have gathered a wealth of information about the eating habits of medieval people from old stories, recipes and archaeological finds. They have shared this knowledge with Flemish Foodie Olly Ceulenaere, chef of Ghent restaurant Publiek, allowing him to translate medieval gastronomy into contemporary recipes.
Flemish Foodie Olly Ceulenaere
With the knowledge of Jeroen and Annelies in mind, Olly managed to follow in the footsteps of the 15th-century local residents and analyse not only their eating habits but also their taste patterns.
“The more information I perused, the more I realised that the medieval eating culture is in fact very similar to our present-day eating culture. As was the use of sustainable preparation techniques (salting and fermentation), food products harvested in the wild and regional and seasonal products."
In this light, he has set out in search of contemporary recipes using historical ingredients, palatable to all, but with a historical edge. And above all: made with high-quality, regional products grown by local farmers or prepared by local producers.
Olly Ceulenaere was not the only one who set to work; several Ghent entrepreneurs got inspired to create a new delicacy based on typical medieval ingredients.Under the Ghent Foodmaker label, they have made numerous craft products. In addition to Van Eyck cheese, white pudding and dry sausage, you will also be able to enjoy chocolates, ice cream and bread. You can recognize these Foodmakers by the shields that are awarded to them during the Van Eyck year according to the craft that they practice.
Van Eyck inspires Ghent
Van Eyck and the Ghent Altarpiece are intrinsically connected to Ghent and Ghent is in turn inspired by Van Eyck. Numerous local bars and restaurants have prepared a creation specially for the Van Eyck year, ranging from a Van Eyck coffee, cocktail or soup to a unique Van Eyck menu. Look for the little shields in the display windows and discover their creation.
Van Eyck Food events
Van Eyck is omnipresent in the city and you too can be completely immersed in a Burgundian atmosphere thanks to numerous food events throughout the year. Discover them here.
Inspired by medieval ingredients, Olly Ceulenaere has developed 2 recipes for each month based on seasonal products. Get started with the recipes yourself or use them as inspiration for your own creation.
Learn more about the culinary heritage of Van Eyck and be inspired by the many recipes based on these medieval ingredients.