Cultivating for advancement near the centre of Brussels

Pizza and cocktails from your own garden

Pierre Barbieux and Nassim Khabazi own two bars and two restaurants in the centre of Brussels in Belgium. One of these is Noir, a wine and pizza bar. Their goal is to serve dishes made from local products. To achieve this, they grow their own fruit and vegetables in a field just outside the city.

Pierre and Nassim in the field where they cultivate 75 varieties of fruit and 250 kinds of vegetables

Pierre and Nassim began preparing the field for cultivation two years ago. Pierre says, "We have recently started harvesting from our land. Of the products we have harvested, the Caucasian climbing spinach, is my favourite. The leaves taste delicious and are great on pizza with goats cheese or ricotta. The climbing spinach is not well-known yet and cannot be grown every year. It is, however, very prolific."

Surprise the customer
Pierre continues, "We are continuously on the look-out for ways to surprise our customers with what is on their plate. That is one of the reasons why we grow our own products. We want to excel in flavour, aroma, colour, diversity, quality, and texture. We keep looking for nice-looking and often unknown fruit and vegetables. We hope that, as production increases, we can switch entirely to using self-grown products."

Cocktail fruit
Currently, the harvested products are primarily being used for as pizza toppings or as cocktail ingredients. Pierre says, "We were the first to open a gin bar in Brussels. At that stage, the concept was very well known in the Netherlands and Flanders. We often use our own ingredients in this bar. A good example is the pawpaw. This fruit can be described as a mango with the texture of an avocado. It tastes of banana, mango, and pineapple. Despite its tropical origin, the pawpaw doesn't need that much heat to grow. I think this fruit was never brought on to the market on a large scale because it ripens very quickly. That makes this fruit very suitable for a short chain and direct sales. We want to start using this fruit more in the kitchen, not just in cocktails."

For more information:
Noir et son terroir

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