Ansoler follows the rhythm of the seasons strictly and collaborates extensively with local farmers. Even their house cocktail is brimming with local ingredients. “Our current offering combines earthy red cabbage juice, sweet apple jenever and a splash of tonic. I love jenever. I use a full-bodied grain jenever in hearty sauces, add zesty lemon jenever to dressings and find that vanilla jenever gives a great creamy note in desserts. Hasselt is proud of its jenever culture; we even have a museum about it.
And as of this year, there is even one named after me! The Anne-Sophie B is a young grain jenever that is not barrel-aged, with a mild, subtle finish as a result. It is produced using the jenever museum’s historic distilling equipment. Did you know that jenever is the ancestor of gin? English soldiers encountered our local jenever here and then recreated something similar back home, but with more herbs. I am proud to promote this authentic, local spirit.”
Limburg is known for its white asparagus, which relies on a labour-intensive cultivation process that has resulted in the name “white gold”. “I always get my asparagus from Lavrijsen farm. It is ultra-fresh, fully flavoured and not too bitter. I like to cook with brown shrimp, apples, pears, cabbage and root vegetables too. Our climate produces such a wonderfully diverse range of fruits and vegetables, it is easy to find inspiration. I am also very pleased with Mattes, my pig farmers. They raise their own piglets and even grow grain themselves to use as feed. I’m convinced the pork tastes better if the pigs have lived a good life.”