Published on November 2nd, 2018 | by James Drew0
Flemish couple cook up recipe for success!
A Flemish couple have cooked up a recipe for success with an unusual business venture. Rony and Linda Pleintje offer delicious breakfasts at their small guest house in Limburg province, writes Martin Banks.
But here’s the difference: you don’t have to stay at the bed and breakfast to enjoy the sumptuous feast- you can just call by or Rony will even deliver it to your front door.
The novel idea’s gone down a treat with locals and visitors alike, so much so that it has helped win the couple runners-up spot in the prestige Belgium Horeca Awards (private hotels and B&B category).
The breakfast – “bourgondisch ontbijt” as it’s called in Flemish – might particularly appeal to, say, people from Brussels making an early start for a day out in the province. Limburg is known as the greenest in Belgium and the one with easily the best cycling network in the country.
Rony says, “Anyone coming for a day trip can have breakfast here and take as long as they like over it before then going cycling or walking in the area.”
Be warned: the breakfasts are huge and if you cannot manage it all the couple will happily bag it up for you to take away and enjoy it later.
The only requirement is that you make an advance reservation and give a couple of days’ notice.
The breakfasts are available six days a week, all year-round, including the upcoming Christmas and New Year period.
With bookings looking healthy for the rest of the year, the pair have certainly carved out a niche in the specialised tourism market.
The idea, says Rony, is also that people who sample the lovely breakfasts might also then get a taste for a short stay at the couple’s B&B.
There are two types of breakfast: standard, which is very ample in itself, and a luxury version, consisting of all manner of tasty treats and carefully crafted dishes created by Linda and little luxuries like bubbles.
The emphasis is on providing the freshest possible food and the breakfasts are available for up to 14 people at any one sitting.
The initiative has proved particularly popular with locals (Rony delivers to a wide geographical area almost on a daily basis) but the couple also get lots of inquiries from people visiting the province.
Rony, who combines the business with his work at a local military base, will even collect guests arriving by train (currently, the local track is the only non-electrified rail line in Belgium).
The business is also doing its bit to support the local economy as most of the products and ingredients used for the breakfasts are sourced locally.
In an area that’s known its fair share of economic setbacks over the years, particularly the demise of its once-mighty mining industry, that’s no bad thing.
The B&B accommodation comprises a couple of pleasant, air conditioned rooms which are suitable for either a family or couple and is situated a relatively short drive from the busy E40 motorway to Brussels.
Rony, aged 49, and Linda are also part of what is called The Bosland Project, which aims to boost tourism. This is an initiative involving local communities,including Overpelt and Neerpelt where Rony and Linda were born and lived all their lives, and which comprises the biggest adventure wood in Flanders.
The mines that dotted the region may be long gone but the huge wood remains and, apart from being a great natural habitat, is also good for some easy-paced cycling or walking.
The area recently made the headlines when Time Magazine listed the 212 metre “Cycling Through Water” bike trail as one of the world’s greatest sights. This is situated in De Wijers nature reserve, just a short 30-minute drive from Rony and Linda’s B&B.
The newest attraction is a 700 metre “cycling through the trees” in Bosland Wood.
The local authorities here are always looking to innovate and that includes renaming the two communities of Overpelt and Neerpelt. From 1 January they will be known simply as Pelt (which derives from the Latin Palus).
With the Christmas season fast looming on the horizon you may be looking for ideas for a nice day out (or short stay). If so, Rony and Linda’s “speciality breakfasts” are well worth considering for a festive treat.
There’s a large sign on the wall of the pleasant room where the breakfasts are served which sums up the very hospitable and friendly welcome offered by Rony and Linda (not forgetting their toy poodle pet QT).
It reads: “Welkom. Smakelijk.”
That’s Flemish for enjoy your meal – and that’s one thing you’re guaranteed here.
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