Gent Smaakt (translates as Ghent tastes good) is supposed to be a culinary paradise that hosts a wealth of different cuisines. Ranging form traditional local dishes to fine dining gastronomy. Entrance to the event was free and you had to exchange your money into special coins made for the event that you can then use to purchase food. On their website it says that drinks would be available for 2 coins (2,25EUR) and food would be available starting at 3 coins (3,40EUR).
It seemed awesome being able to try out more then 20 local restaurants for very reasonable prices. I expected that some dishes would cost a little more, maybe up to 7 EUR. This kind of festival is a great way for the restaurants to attract and convince future customers. It’s not necesarry to generate a lot of profit at the festival, it’s important to show off the chef’s skills.
Before we got to Gent Smaakt we where at the food truck festival, which was very close by. Prices where very reasonable there, we managed to taste a Leffe combined with a small amuse for 3,50 EUR. The food truck festival had a nice atmosphere, good music, nice people and we only went to Gent Smaakt because we assumed it would be more refined.
After about 30 minutes I was aware of the big mistake we made. A festival should be an occasion for feasting and/or celebration, “Gent Smaakt” isn’t a celebration. The prices turned out to be ridiculous and the food was just sad. The food I got looked like it had already been eaten. It was so ridiculously bad that I didn’t tweet one picture of a dish we got because our followers might assume It was a close-up of a person who had been hit by a train.
We started with another tasting of Balls of Glory by Wim Ballieu. At Culinary 2015 we already had the opportunity to try his handcrafted meatballs and they where awesome. We got two with different fillings at Culinaria. At Gent smaakt you got half a meatball for 5,50 EUR. Shame on you! It was “served” on a paper plate with a wooden fork without bread. Did you ever try to eat a meatball with a wooden fork? I suggest you try it! Flappy Bird is a joke compared to the skills you need to eat a meatball like that. You could also order it with mashed potatoes for the humble price of about 9 EUR. In my opinion, you can’t serve half a meatball simply because it isn’t a ball then. Try scoring a goal with half a soccer ball…
The next thing we tried was a dish created by Danny Horseele from restaurant Horseele (1 Michelin star) near the Ghelamco Soccer Arena of Ghent. We had dinner in this restaurant before we even started writing about our dinner experiences and it was very good. The dish he served at Gent Smaakt was a cruel joke. Paired with a pretty awful rose wine it came with a 18 EUR price tag per person. It was served with a wooden fork on a paper plate, just like before. Please just look at the following picture. It tasted as good as it looks and I didn’t mess with the dish to make it look bad. I had one bite and then I took this picture. I instantly checked out most international news sites because I was sure war broke out and we where on (very expensive) food rations.
Because I was about to set the festival on fire out of sheer rage and frustration we decided to just get some dessert and go home. The dessert was made by confectionery Geldhof. It was a Cuberdon based mousse with 8 small pieces of fruit. Price at the festival: 5 EUR.
Off course there where more then three food stands, you could also enjoy creative and exciting food like: hamburgers, cheese and shrimp croquettes, soup, etc…
At the end of the day we spend about 70 EUR on two plates of uneatable food, a meatball, a joke of a dessert, 2 Beers and four glasses of wine. We decided to go back to the food truck festival and enjoy their much better looking, more fairly priced and especially better tasting food. Is it odd to get better food from a food truck then from Michelin star restaurants? I think so…
Price: 70 EUR for a whole lotta’ nothing
Balls & Glory
Gent Didn't Smaak!!!Book your tickets!
9000 Gent, Belgie
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