A few weeks back (I’ve been busy, ok?) I wandered along to a “European rural fair” in the centre of Brussels. I’d seen coverage on TV and liked the idea of being able to taste foods from all the member states of the EU in one place. The event was intended to promote EU farmers, but of course I was just interested in the free nibbles.

The first stand was promising: Sweden was offering cute cubes of goat’s cheese:

elk sausage:

and Fat Duck-style marmalade cubes:

But things went downhill rapidly. Many stands simply had no food whatsoever on offer, which I find bizarre for an event designed to promote the stuff, and only had a selection of dull leaflets. The British stand had nothing available to taste, although you could gaze longingly at some firmly shut jars of chutney. And salt. Lots of salt.

The Irish managed a little better, with some Guinness-flavoured cheese. Then again, it seemed a little lazy to take some random food and add Guinness as if that instantly makes it Irish. Cheese bacame something of a theme, in fact, as many countries who couldn’t be bothered to display something original fell back on the old “plate of cheese cubes” trick.

Oh, and Malta? Really. Is that the best you could manage?

If that’s an accurate representation of your culinary heritage, I’ll bring my own sandwiches if I ever go there on holiday.

Lithuania managed salami and cucumber on bread. Bonus points for presentation.

And that was pretty much it, leaving me with nothing to do but listen to the German folk singers…