A few factory chimneys are still smoking in the old steel worker town of Déifferdeng (Fr. Differdange) and the imposing buildings of the steel industry dominate the urban scene. At the same time, a young, creative scene composed of research, innovation and culture has conquered the town. The Luxembourg Science Center and the Creative Hub 1535° are successful examples of how the monumental structures dating from times of industrial pre-eminence can be repurposed. An industrial past and modernity reach out to each other – and this blend also makes itself felt in the very lively and diverse gastronomic scene. The four townships of Lasauvage, Oberkorn, Niederkorn and Differdange-Fousbann, with a combined population of around 27,500 inhabitants, are home to approx. 90 pubs, bars and restaurants of all descriptions – all in an extremely confined area.
A hint of the south
A walk through the streets creates the strong impression that there are more bistros, cafés and restaurants than other businesses. Yet the simple working class cafés and bistros are still there, with names redolent of the south like Café Fin do Mundo or Café do Pescador. Inside the various catering establishments, not much has actually changed in the last 30 years. The cuisine is simple and straightforward – and the cost remains easy on the pockets of the workers. Many of them come only for an after-work beer anyway. For many of the steel workers, traditionally from Portugal and Italy, they are also a little bit of home – where people speak their native languages and the smells and tastes of the food evoke memories of the south. And of course, in the corner, the television is showing mother-tongue programmes. If the rustic external appearance doesn’t put you off, you can, for example, get acquainted with authentic Portuguese cooking in the Brasserie du Centenaire or the Café Progrès in Niederkorn. Here bankers sit side by side with construction workers and enjoy traditional bacala or grilled sardines. Washed down by an affordable but good-quality Portuguese table wine – naturally.
On and around the central Place du Marché in Déifferdeng, you could easily imagine yourself to be in Italy. Here, there is definitely a greater culinary density of Italian restaurants than anywhere outside Rome. A gelateria is as much an enticing draw as an upmarket Italian restaurant, several pizzerias and an Italian delicatessen. It is very noticeable that all the restaurateurs – many of them with a quite different vocational background – dream with pride and passion of the cuisine and products of their respective homelands. Typical of the cuisine of southern Italy, panzerotti are deep-friend, filled and crescent-shaped pastries. In the restaurant Il Cavaliere, they are particularly proud of their freshly made products. After
enjoying the rather upmarket Italian cuisine, right next door is the gelateria – impossible to resist. Those that can’t wait are recommended to try Datoto for a take-away. This small business not only serves first-class pizzas but also the finest Italian sausage goods and cheeses. For fresh pasta, exquisite home-made olive oil and a perfect Italian espresso, go to Pastificio Angelini. Everything is available for take-aways or sitting in. With good reason, Signor Angelini is proud of having customers from everywhere in the country.
A colourful culinary map
With names like Café d’Walztrooss or Café de l’usine, the industrial character of the town is ever-present in the gastronomic landscape. Even the young trendy scene has its culinary locations. In the Creative Hub 1535° on the former Arbed site, numerous young start-ups have set up shop and right in their midst, in an ex-carpenter’s business, is the café-restaurant Schräinerei, which as well as having its industrial atmosphere also lays on a lively cultural programme for the young and young-at-heart crowd. Traditional Luxembourg cuisine is also represented in the restaurant Bei der Giedel in Lasauvage. Last but not least, grill fans also find what they love in the restaurant La Charbonnade. With an individual grill installed at each table, everyone is guaranteed a quite special grill experience unlike anywhere else in Luxembourg. Come prepared for culinary inspiration – there is lots more besides to discover.