As the Tour of Flanders returns to the Kapel Muur this year after a 5 year absence; we decided to take this opportunity to introduce you to the second best thing in Geraardsbergen, a little delicacy called Mattenaart. Obviously the main attraction in the town is the classic cobbled climb.
So what is it? Mattentaart is a unique regional cake made with “matten” (a curdled mixture of whole milk and buttermilk), sugar, eggs and almonds surrounded by puff pastry. Being covered in puff pastry would make you think that lean cyclists wouldn’t go near it, however the opposite is true and the pastry means your mattentaart will easily survive a journey in your jersey pocket until you get hungry. Mattentaart is only available from Geraardsbergen and since 2006 it’s had European Union Protected Geographiocal Status to ensure it stays that way.
So it makes a very welcome change from the standard energy bars most of us normally carry. The filling is very similar to a baked cheesecake but drier, so eating a whole one while on still on the bike is difficult. But share with a friend at a quick pit –stop, its highly satisfying and you’ll realise why the Pros pop by whenever they get the opportunity.
Careful as to how much you buy, as you’ll need to carry it up the Kapel Muur.
When you arrive at the foot of the Kapel Muur, you’ll see many places selling this unique cake. Resist the temptation to stop at one of the first bakeries by the river, as it’s worth searching out Olav’s Mattentarrtenhuis which is on the left-hand side of the main road just as you reach the Sint-Bartholomeuskerk church square – the coffee is great there too.