August 1945. In Japan, World War II comes to its final end. One year ago, Belgium was liberated from the nazi occupation after 4 gruesome years. In Anderlecht, Wayez Square is renamed to Resistance Square to honor members of the resistance. A bit further down the road, the couple Ida and Vital take over a small grocery store from a woman who died during the war. The future suddenly shines brightly.
8 decades later, I open the door of Crèmerie Saint-Guidon. I am greeted by Ida and Vital’s grandson Rudolf. He succeeded his mother Nicole, who was the storekeeper between 1970 and 2014. Brussels has some nice crèmeries, such as Saint Octave in Sint-Gillis or Delicatesse Declerc in Elsene. Yet, for me, none come close to Crèmerie Saint-Guidon, where old times have been preserved.
Continental Europe’s first self-service supermarket opened in 1957 on Flagey Square in Elsene. Post-war optimism and consumerism promised bigger stores, more products and less time spent.
Crèmerie Saint-Guidon is everything that today’s supermarkets are not. All delicacies are personally selected: Brussels salted cheese and the famous ‘pottekees’; large eggs and delicious bread; rice cake and Matten tarts; dry sausages and black pudding; mustard and local craft beers; etc. You can ask for personal advice or place your order via the telephone. You don’t get a receipt: prices are handwritten on a paper bag, together with a smiley and an encouraging ‘yummy’.
Idly looking at the pink neon light of Crèmerie Saint-Guidon, I always see a new, even brighter future.