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Bruges chef tackles a vegan version of a Belgian classic

Credit: Canva

A chef from Bruges has put her own touch to one of the country’s culinary classics with her own spin on the croquette, making the dish with vegan ingredients.

Visually, not much has changed. The crisp outer shell of a croquette is as recognisable as ever but the interior remains a mystery until you bite in.

For Mona Delagrange, it’s what’s inside that counts. Instead of the standard cheese or shrimp filling, the chef has chosen something a bit more unusual for her venture.

Seaweed.

Since July 2021, the 27-year-old has been creating the vegan cousin of the shrimp croquette, with reviews noting that it still tastes of the sea.

“I want to make it clear that you can produce delicacies without animal products,” explained Delagrange – who makes 130 croquettes every Saturday for her webshop Nomet.

“My vegan lifestyle does not stop me from enjoying good food! And this is the message I would like to pass on,” the chef added. “To me, the seaweed croquette is the ideal example of that.”

Delagrange says that while she saw vegetarian alternatives to many foods, she found there wasn’t one for her favourite dish, so she set about making them herself.

The final product is vegan and free of lactose, nuts, and shellfish – although may contain traces of the latter, the site notes.

“The seaweed used comes from Galicia (Spain), where seaweed has been grown and harvested since 1996 with respect for the ecosystem,” the website explains. This choice – to Delagrange – is key, as it ensures that she uses sustainably grown seaweed.

After harvesting, the sheets are dried, before eventually making it into the croquette.