It would take me a lifetime to describe the variety of tastes and flavors the Belgian chocolate has to offer. There are poems, books, movies, and songs dedicated to the most popular treat in the world. And despite what you may hear in Tuscany, Belgium is the Chocolate Valley of Europe and, let us be honest, of the world. You will lose and find yourself among all the pralines, truffles, orangettes, and tablettes de chocolat. Resistance is futile. When in Brussels, eat chocolate! Now get ready for a mouthwatering tour of chocolate and pastry treats in Brussels!
Belgian chocolatiers are true artists who create veritable masterpieces. Behind the scenes, every single piece of chocolate involves a complicated process, the personal story of the creator, imagination, and pure magic. Belgian chocolatiers use only high-quality products. They select and roast every cocoa bean personally. No wonder why so many of them have won international awards. Herman Van Dender, award winner of the World Cup of Pastry, is the official supplier to the Belgium Court and for His Majesty the King Belgium. Stop by his luxurious shop in Schaerbeek. You will not regret it.
Who has not dreamt about a house made of chocolate, such as the one from the famous Grimm brothers’ tale “Hansel and Gretel”? (Minus the evil witch inside, of course, unless she was also made of chocolate). I know the perfect spot where you can feel like you are in a fairy tale – it is Frederic Blondeel’s Chocolate Factory and Shop. Situated in Koekelberg, a municipality of Brussels, it will tempt you with the finest matcha pralines, the most delicate Champagne Truffles, and a cup of freshly roasted coffee.
Et voilà, meet the "Chocolatier 2020 de Bruxelles" – Jérôme Grimonpon. He created his own chocolate oasis in the heart of the Uccle district. Jérôme Grimonpon Chocolatier is an exceptional place you could spoil your taste buds with artisanal chocolate and delicious pastry, created right there, in front of you.
Willy Wonka, from Roald Dahl’s novel “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” likes to say to the children, “Supervitamin Chocolate contains all the vitamins from A to Z, except S, which makes you sick!”. No one would question this wisdom, as we all know from our personal experience that mister Wonka is 100% right. But to confirm this theory, I invite you on a culinary expedition around the chocolate boutiques of the top Belgian evergreen brands.
Côte d’Or – from the moment of the creation of the brand in 1883, the chocolatiers from Côte d’Or have constantly worked on the development of new recipes and unique flavors. The quality of Côte d’Or chocolate is internationally renowned.
Godiva, with its almost 100 years of artisanship, passion, and gourmet recipes, ranks among the most prestigious brands worldwide. Pamper yourself with Godiva’s amazing flavors and fine textures.
Neuhaus – Jean Neuhaus opened an apothecary store in Brussels, in 1857. His trick to making medicine more delectable was to cover them in a thick layer of chocolate. Inspired by this idea, his grandson, Jean Neuhaus Jr., replaced the medication inside the chocolate with delicious fillings and invented the first “praline.” See, I told you that chocolate is the best medicine.
Leonidas – As the name of the ancient king suggests, Leonidas is also a modern brand leader in the chocolate industry. Leonidas sets the rules in the chocolate production with the freshness, natural ingredients, and quality of its products.
Pierre Marcolini (a personal favorite) – There are no suitable adjectives to describe the qualities of Pierre Marcolini’s luxury, extra-fine, temptingly addictive chocolate bars. The truffles, the macarons, the handcrafted ice creams, and the dozens of different chocolate bonbons are favorites even of the Belgian royal family. Everyone would feel like a king tasting the temptations Marcolini has to offer.
It is a well-known fact that where there is chocolate, there are also cakes. The famous Belgian waffle enjoys the status of a national dessert. You may prefer it covered with natural, milk or white chocolate, honey and figs or strawberries, and whipped cream - in any case, the taste is captivating.
Éclair, which in French means “lightning”, is a rectangular fine pastry, filled with mouth-melting cream and sprinkled with milk chocolate. There are shop windows that tempt with piles and cascades of various tasting eclairs, and if you go inside, do not expect to leave without a box of at least a dozen of these treats. At Paul's, for example, you will find a great variety of mouthwatering éclairs and you will not leave empty-handed!
Belgian artisans like to experiment not only with taste but also with shape. This is one of the reasons why cuberdons are so popular: there is just no way to miss the cone-shaped purple candies. Whenever you take a bite of the gum Arabic crust, a sweet strawberry syrup will pour out in your mouth. Elisabeth is an independent boutique in Brussels that offers Belgium’s best artisanal sweets: the cuberdons there are definitely worth-tasting!
Stofé is a light cottage cheesecake with sweet almond and sliced apples. The perfect addition to your afternoon coffee or hot chocolate. In 'Les tartes de Françoise' you will probably find one of the most delicious ones in Brussels!
Last but not least, I cannot but mention the croissants and the pain au chocolat (chocolate bread). You can find these puff pastry treats everywhere, from artisan confectioneries and bakeries to the grocery stores. Always freshly baked and warm!
It will take you no longer than 2-3 hours to visit the most famous places for chocolate and pastry treats in Brussels. Of course, you will want to get more and more and make the most out of your culinary expedition. There is a chocolate atelier or a bakery on every corner of the city. Try not to lose a minute and enjoy every opportunity to taste the sweet temptations. Get a mug of hot chocolate, eat an éclair or go to the Museum of Chocolate to learn about the long history of Belgian chocolate and load up with packets of truffles and pralines. Brussels is the magical city of chocolate, so, when in Brussels, eat chocolate!
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