The recent InsideFood symposium of the MeBioS (Mechatronics, Biostatistics and Sensors) group was the first international conference dedicated to research on the microstructure of food. It was the conclusion of a four-year collaboration between 12 European research institutes and companies, co-ordinated by MeBioS and funded by the European Commission.
Brussels is already the political capital of Europe, but it’s also one of four finalists hoping to win the title of European Green Capital 2015, as awarded by the European Commission. The annual award promotes and rewards the efforts of city governments as they battle ecological challenges. At the end of May, the Brussels team will try to convince a jury of members from various European institutions that it should win, and on 14 June, Brussels will know whether it has prevailed over its rivals: Bristol (England), Glasgow (Scotland) and Ljubljana (Slovenia).
The concept, cooked up by Patrick De Bleser and Sonja Van Caneghem of 5T Communication, is pretty simple: Many expats aren’t familiar with Belgian food outside the usual suspects, so why not invite a group of amateur expat cooks to transform Belgian terroir – local, seasonal ingredients – into something new and original, inspired by their own cultural background?
The idea of transition to a more sustainable way of living dates back to the turn of the century. People like the English activist Rob Hopkins began to look for answers to the question of how local communities could ready themselves to combat threats such as climate change and peak oil. An important principle in their thinking is resilience, which refers to the degree to which a system – such as a community – can withstand external influences.
Walking past the long line of people waiting outside, wearing strings of pretzels around their necks and T-shirts saying “Shut up and drink your beer”, it wasn’t hard to guess what was going on inside the Lexington Avenue Armory in New York City one recent afternoon.
It was the NYC Craft Beer Festival, and locals were gearing up for some serious tasting. Once inside, they were given a shot glass and free rein among 75 brewery stands, each offering two of their finest blends.
Last week, a major construction project began in Kruibeke, East Flanders. The intention, however, is not to construct new roads or buildings, but new nature: reed fields, small islands and spawning grounds for fish.
The works are part of the Flemish government’s Sigma plan, which aims to create space for new bodies of water along the river Scheldt and its tributaries. The plan will not only aid nature, it will protect against flooding.
If you have five minutes spare, take a look at the Woordentest, or Words Test, a language game designed by researchers at Ghent University. The concept is simple: You’re shown word after word and asked whether it’s a real Dutch word or not. If you’re not happy with your score, just play again. There are 75,000 test words available.
“Every time you think about 1913, you immediately think about 1914,” says Joost Vandommele. Indeed. The start of the First World War not only wiped out the immediate memories of the events in Ghent in 1913, it wiped them out of the collective historical consciousness. “There are people in Ghent now who’ve never even heard of the World’s Fair,” says Vandommele.
About 800,000 fans are expected to head out to cheer on the 208 starters – in 26 teams of eight – whatever the conditions. Indeed, the Ronde has always been associated with terrible weather, and the driving rain, wind and hail have been responsible for helping define the race’s identity.
The contest is organised by Brouwland, a company that specialises in the provision of equipment and materials for the brewing, winemaking and liqueur industries, as well as offering kits for home brewers.
“We’re going in search of the best brewer who does it as a hobby. Professional brewers are not allowed to enter,” explains Stijn Michiels, marketing manager at Brouwland. “The winning team gets 500 litres of their own beer, brewed by a professional brewery. That’s a way of saying thanks to everyone who helped them along the way with a party.”