General history of local hippophagy
In the central belgian town of Vilvoorde, near Brussels, hipophagy is something of an obviousness, and our restaurant is located in its centre, since 1859…
History tells us that in this industrious garrison town to the north of Brussels ( and locked in between three important waterways : the Zenne-river, the canal that links Brussels to the Schelde and the Woluwe ) horses proved to be indispensable in agriculture, industry, the military and also for pulling the barges along the waterways. Once these animals came to the end of their useful lives, they were logically slaughtered and thus consumed.
In this fast industrialising area, food was scarce and this obviously prompted people to eat what was readily available.
In urban areas such as this, horsemeat and also offal proved nutricious, healthy and cheap nourishment. In contrast, in the country, people often had pork or poultry running about, as well as the opportunity to maybe fish hor hunt.
As a result, horsemeat, as well as offal or other “inferior” types of meat, were easily donned a popular cachet.
Meanwhile, though, one has to appreciate the exceptional nutricious value of horsemeat. It is very lean and contains high levels of iron and glucose, and a balanced rapport between saturated and unsaturated fatty acids, all factors that made late 19th century french doctors prescribe horsemeat as a cure against tuberculosis. They also found it plainly more wholesome than beef, for instance.
More recently, popular word claims horsemeat to help convalescence.
Horsemeat also distinguishes itself from other types of meat through the fact that a horse is never raised to be consumed. Two reasons for this are : not only has a horse a high metabolism but it also absorbs only a small portion of the calories it gets fed.
Hence, it’s not economically feasable to raise a horse for consumption. Better still : a horse has most often led a comfortable life before coming to the end of it.
At “de Kuiper” we tempt to maintain a steady quality of our ingredients and dishes.
The source of our meat is commonly South America for premium quality, availability and price, but Canada and Australia also offer good quality meat.
We keep a keen eye on what’s offered, but the meat needs to be from animals that are older ( + 8 years of age ) and a tenderloin would have to weigh at least 2,5 kilos, which indicates that they are fully grown.
This evolved type of meat produces firm, dark coloured, grease-marbled and yet tender tenderloin with intense flavour. They also contain a higher level of iron and glucose.