Director of Marketing Communications
The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre
P.O. Box 482032
Gate Village, DIFC
Direct Line: +971 4 372 2626
Mobile: +971 55 300 4620
Dubai, UAE, 28 September 2016 – This Autumn, Café Belge is inviting guests to discover a new world of flavour with an exclusive evening hosted by two of Belgium’s leading beer and cheese experts.
For one night only, guests at the Belgian Grand Café on Wednesday 26th October will have the opportunity to participate in a distinctive tasting session, specially curated by Master Beer Sommelier Sofie Vanrafelghem and award-winning Cheese Master Angelique Dirkx.
Featuring a delicious pairing of six barley cheeses with six of Belgium’s finest brews, the tasting will take place 7pm - 9pm, with guests invited to stay on afterwards to enjoy a pot of mussels and a complementary beer.
‘In Belgium, beer is a culture not a drink”; proudly states Sofie, who is an expert in brewing and ‘zythology’ (the pairing of beer with food). A long-term collaborator of Café Belge, Sofie is passionate about creating beer recommendations which complement the food with which they are being served. She and Angelique share the philosophy that beer can be a far better match for cheese than its traditional pairing companion; wine.
As Sofie explains: “All in all, the flavors in beer tend to match those in cheeses — think of a nutty, aged gouda paired with a nice brown beer. These are tastes not normally found in wine where experts attempt to pair based on contrast and not complements. The other thing to consider is the contrast of a nice fizzy drink with a rich fatty cheese. Beer cleanses the palette between bites and makes for a refreshing break.”
The exclusive tasting session with Sofie Vanrafelghem and Angelique Dirkx will cost AED 250 per person, and reservations are essential. A special cheese platter will also be added to the Café Belge a la carte and bar menus between 25th - 27th October, priced at AED 75 per person or AED 120 with a draught Belgian Beer.
Behind the name ‘Sofie’s World’ you’ll find an entire team, dedicated to putting Belgian beer on the global map. Of course, it all started with one person: Sofie Vanrafelghem and her fascination for Belgian beers.
As a Master Beer Sommelier Sofie Vanrafelghem trains staff and chefs in the hospitality industry from Dubai to India and Europe, and works as a consultant for beer restaurants, breweries and hotel schools. She also writes about her passion in different media, she has her own beer column in De Standaard, in the biggest Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws and she is the author of four beer books. Sofie teaches General Beer Knowledge and judges at prestigious beer competitions like the World Beer Cup and Mondial de la Bière. She is also the founder of the Women and Beer-Project, which seeks to bridge the gap between women and beer. In 2014 she became a honorary knight of the Knighthood of the Brewers’ Mash Staff, and in 2015 she won the award of Beer Personality of the Year.
Sofie's team includes experts on many fronts. Ranging from beer historians to sommeliers, to event planners, brewing experts and hospitality specialists with beer focus.
During her studies, she discovered her passion was cooking and everything about good food. So she got her degree of pastry cook trough adult education in a hospitality school. After that she took over a cheese truck together with her brother and every day of the week you can find them on the weekly market day in cities in the province of Limburg under the name of “De Kaastafel”. While doing this she started training in the field of cheeses and in 2013 she achieved the title of cheese master. The business was extended towards deliveries in famous restaurants in the neighborhood even those with Michelin stars. And the biggest achievement came in 2015 when “De Kaastafel” was elected as best cheese store in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxemburg.