Restaurant: With its three Michelin Stars, Hof van Cleve is a Belgian dining treasure. The restaurant serves modern Belgian cuisine from a country farmhouse in the Eastern Flanders Province of Kruishoutem, 45 miles west of Brussels. Hof van Cleve’s success is considered, by head chef Peter Goossens, to be a “team effort.” Chef Goossens’ wife Lieve oversees the front-of-house. Together they have kept Hof van Cleve listed among the World’s 50 Best Restaurants for the past nine years.
Chef: Belgian Chef Peter Goossens trained at the hotel school Ter Duinen in Koksijde. Chef Goossens worked in Paris before opening his first restaurant in 1987. Five years later he started the restaurant Hof van Cleve and has won several awards for the eatery. He became one of the youngest chefs with two Michelin stars. He received a score of 19.5/20 in the French restaurant guide Gault Millau. Goossens is also a Knight in the Order of Leopold, Belgium’s highest order, honoring King Leopold I.
Butter: Hof van Cleve waiters deliver a tray arranged with unpasteurized salted butter, pasteurized unsalted butter, Fleur de sel, pepper and several kinds of bread, mostly sourdoughs. They obtain the salted butter from a French fromagerie and the unsalted butter from a local farmer. Belgian ceramic designer Studio Pieter Stockmans custom-makes the minimal white serving dishes.
Commentary: “I have a relationship with the craft of making nice bread!” says Chef Goossens. “And what is bread without butter?” Hof van Cleve purchases butter and buttermilk from separate farms. “The farmers who make the best butter,” Goosens declares, “make the worst buttermilk.” He also contends that those who make fantastic buttermilk make inferior butter.
Hof van Cleve
Riemegemstraat 1, 9770 Kruishoutem, Belgium
32 9 383 58 48
Hof van Cleve website