Home Brussels I ate at the far-right buffet from hell

I ate at the far-right buffet from hell

by editor

Claudia Chiappa is a breaking news reporter and Italian culinary connoisseur at POLITICO.

Call it Nigel Farage’s Kitchen Nightmares.

My callous bosses at POLITICO sent me to sample the buffet at this week’s Brussels gathering of the European right-wing elite — and things got a bit weird.

Spoiler: The National Conservatism Conference didn’t actually have juicy liberal tears on the menu, but rather bizarre little platters of mushrooms mixed with popcorn.

Yes, you read that right. With deep regret — and driven by morbid journalistic curiosity — I ate it.

“It was interesting,” said one conference attendee who was granted anonymity to discuss the (very) sensitive culinary topic. “There was a surprising volume of mediocre appetizers.”

The event, which brought together influential conservatives including Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán and Brexit architect Nigel Farage, hit the publicity jackpot when local Brussels municipalities tried (and failed) to shut it down over public disorder concerns.

Claudia Chiappa/POLITICO

But there was one other huge issue amid the chaos Tuesday, caused by law enforcement’s decision to bar any new arrivals from entering the venue shortly after midday.

Guess who was locked outside along with MEP Patricia Chagnon and fuming French provocateur Eric Zemmour?

Yes, that’s right. The caterers.

At least, that’s what one of the organizers told me, hinting that they had to resort to a last-minute change of plan to feed ravenous attendees.

Food eventually did make it into the venue — smuggled, some whispered — but maybe it should have stayed outside.

Lunch on both days for the hundreds of participants was a series of golf-ball-sized appetizers, all of which had some type of creative (and, in my opinion, unwanted) twist. Say goodbye to sandwiches, salads and pasta bowls; that’s not how the right wing rolls.

Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary, is interviewed by Yoram Hazony, Chairman of the Edmund Burke Foundation, on Day 2 of The National Conservatism Conference. | Omar Havana/Getty Images

Imagine instead a sprawling feast of raw fish — smoked salmon, tuna tartare; raw meat — beef carpaccio with parmesan scales and arugula; and even a mostly raw egg. Cooking food is for liberals, apparently. It wasn’t all bad though, my POLITICO colleague wolfed down a “tasty and tangy” plate of courgette with pomegranate accompanied by some leaves and yellow stuff. He is British, though, so no accounting for taste.

The menu got real Looney Tunes, with one Bugs Bunny-inspired dish comprising a whole, gigantic carrot — which a conference attendee generously described as “bland” — mashed potatoes and chicken (cooked, thankfully).

The mushroom and popcorn concoction — which tasted as weird as it looks — was the real showstopper though. (More so, frankly, than Viktor Orbán’s tub-thumping keynote speech.) The unforgettable blend of soft mushrooms and crunchy popcorn was a textural nightmare, topped with some undefinable greens.

Because we’re nothing but fair, we’ll give credit where it’s due: The breakfast pastries and croissants were incredible, and so were the tiny chocolate mousses served as desserts. Oh, and the all-you-can-drink coffee was definitely a big plus for reporters tired out by all the legal histrionics.

Disclaimer: We’re aware POLITICO isn’t known for food criticism, but if you’ve ever read our Palate Cleanser column you’ll know we never shy away from passing judgment on what’s on our plate.

Source link

Related Posts