(In case you hadn’t clocked, that chocolate lover is me).
Sniffing out the best chocolate shops in Brussels.
Many flock to Belgium to sample the Moules and Frites on offer (supposedly the best frites are located at the Place Jourdan Market – look out for the mile long queues). For me though. it was all about the chocolate. If you are a regular reader of this bog, you’ll know I’m forever losing the battle against my sweet tooth and if you died and went to chocolate heaven, Belgium is what it would look like.
But with only one night in Brussels at our disposal during the #ParkInnExpress challenge, there was no time to be wasted on uneducated guesses so we took to our guidebooks, Twitter recommendations (and a little bit of freestyling) to seize the best chocolate opportunities – choc-portunities if you will.
The overwhelming vote I came across during my research was Pierre Marcolini, a very elegant, couture and sexy chocolatier in the upmarket Sablon Square, a little pocket that is Brussels’ answer to Belgravia in London. I’ve put together a guide on some of the lovely chocolatiers we found. If you’re limited on time and love chocolate, it might serve you well to explore some of these and I’d love to hear your suggestions in case I return.
Walking in, my eyes were agog with the rainbow display of perfectly uniform macarons, inviting chocolates and desserts – shame I was too full to eat much (yes occasionally, even my tummy gets full though I did sneak in a speculoos-flavoured macaron). When in Belgium…
It was here where I grabbed a couple of take home treats including the “tablets” for which they are famed. I chose a milk chocolate with almond nougatine flavour as well as a small mixed box including fruity and nutty praline chocolates. Prices are on the steep side here but his reputation precedes him and what I hadn’t realised was that for those of us living in London, the temptation need not end, as the Marcolini treats are also stocked at the Selfridges food hall!
They say that it was Wittamer who trained Marcolini and that this little boutique is where some of the Belgian royals choose to shop so unsurprisingly, this too is on the Sablon Square. Keep your eyes peeled for the pretty-in-pink canopies. The cakes at the counter looked creamy and rich but at 7 Euros for an eat-in hot chocolate and having already splurged at Marcolini, I decided to leave this one for the royals. Had there been a day 3 on the agenda though, you’d have spotted me taking my seat!
Around the corner from Sablon Square, you’ll find the stylish and friendly Laurent Gerbaud cafe, who seem to specialise in using fruits and nuts in his creations. I spotted pistachio, cashew and almonds lurking around to name but a few as well as chocolate-covered fruit, including apricot, plums and pears.
Their hot chocolate was like a molten lava of temptation, served with a little chocolate of your choice. Just as we were leaving, a large group of tourists arrived, as part of what appeared to be a chocolate tasting tour – definitely one for the itinerary next time!
I loved the decor of this rustic, wooden-looking chocolatier with bohemian, messy and fabulous slabs of colour and flavour sitting at the counters and an enormous choice of palm oil free chocolate spreads, including the chocolate, olive oil and hazelnut one I cheekily brought home.
But what really drew us to this gem previously unknown to us, were the neatly aligned slabs of different chocolates, firmly attached to a wooden spoon, just waiting to be dunked in a cup of hot frothy milk for an instant and unique hot chocolate. Me, I love aromatic spices so chose the chocolate and cinnamon, which warmed me to my very core, whilst the evening windchill numbed my fingertips.
Obviously this list is not exhaustive and I have no doubt that with longer there (and a flatter tummy!), I would have sampled a few more but these were my highlights.
What are your chocolate recommendations from around the world?
39 thoughts on “A Chocolate Lover’s Guide to Brussels”
Oh my god!
SUCH a BAD idea reading this when I’m trying to detox after the holidays and watch what I eat!!! Hmph!
Oops ie – yes it wasn’t well timed in hindsight was it with all you January detoxers out there?! My bad! Thanks for reading Upasna ☺
Omg…. I’m having severe chocolate cravings!! I want to try the hot chocolate from the blocks of chocolate so bad! I can’t even imagine what that would taste like. And I too, would have bought a jar of chocolate spread. But like Upasna, I’m also trying to eat better and D is enforcing a no-sugar rule!
I would have a serious issue with anyone imposing a no – sugar rule 😀 Of course, D is absolutely right from a health point of view but I think I would probably only survive it for like a day! The blocks are amazing with all different flavours & then dunking them in milk – wish I could post one to Vietnam for you!
I’ve been wanting something chocolate since I had dinner and then I come across this post! Ahhhh! I have been to Brussels and had the chocolate and I have to agree that it is phenomenal. Have a piece for me 🙂
It’s just delicious out there isn’t it & it’s the fact that great chocolate is literally on every corner! Hope the post didn’t increase your cravings too much! Thanks so much for reading Jamie!
Now I’m wanting chocolate and lots of it! 🙂
Me too!! I don’t know how I’ve managed to resist the urge so far to open the jar of chocolate spread I bought out there – maybe it’s because I know how quickly I’ll finish it once I open it!! Thanks for stopping by ☺
I drooled my way through this ENTIRE post! Man, I thought Bruges was bad, but Brussels looks even worse. Will definitely need to go on a four-month diet before I visit in order to justify all those calories ;D x
Oh Emily,I know exactly what you mean – I couldn’t believe I had managed to put on weight in just a weekend but clearly you can see how!! Bruges is on my wishlist too – sounds like I’ll need to do a 4 month diet first too if I ever end up visiting there!
Hehe, glad to be spreading the chocolate love Andrew! ☺
Some great recommendations! I loved Pierre Marcolini and Wittamer on our visit there but will definitely bear these others in mind for a future trip
Suze | LuxuryColumnist
Thanks Suze! Glad you liked those ones too – I was thrilled to come back and find that Mar colonial chocolate is available here too!
Ohh I can see Brussels is going to be dangerous for the diet next month, great post love and can’t wait to try out your recommendations xx
Thanks Kelly! Yes I must admit I didn’t go looking for any diet-friendly chocolate shops there but even a diet needs a break right?! So I think you should enjoy sampling this “local cuisine” in Brussels next month 🙂 Look forward to seeing your pics and posts about it!
I love Brussels, especially for their amazing chocolate shops. I’m happy to say that I agree with all of your suggestions! I love that most of the shops will give you a sample or two without having to ask. Free, fine chocolate – what’s not to like?!
Yes!! The samples were the end of me – I was always going to go into their shops anyway so as if they needed to fatten me up even more with the free samples 😀 So glad you agree with the suggestions – sounds like we have similar taste in chocolate Char!
I LOVE chocolate, and while I unfortunately missed it in my short time in Brussels, I got a boatload of it in Bruges. Belgium really does some of my favorite foods right – chocolate and french fries! 🙂 I can only imagine what that hot chocolate was like, yum!
I’m so glad you said that you totally made up for it in Bruges and managed to get a fix of Belgian chocolate there! I’d love to visit Bruges – so many people tell me how pretty a city it is and I must admit, I missed out on the fries this time so that’s what I’ll be seeking out next time! Thanks so much for reading Katie 🙂
I have never been to Belgium and its on my list, I might make it in 2015 – fingers crossed!
It’s so easy from London Laura with the Eurostar – by the time I was in Brussels that Saturday morning, I would still be in my PJs at home, lounging around the house! Made me wonder what other mini weekend breaks I must be msising out on with my Saturday morning lie-ins 🙂 Thanks so much for reading!
Lovely post! Although I’m not the world’s biggest chocolate fan these looks delicious!
Thank you Becky! It would be so much better for my health if I stepped in your shoes of not being a big chocolate fan – sadly, no luck 😀
OMG!!! They all look amazing! I am going crazy now with all these chocolates…. I also have a sweet tooth!! I am saving this post for my trip to Brussels! 😀 ❤
Thanks so much Allane 🙂 I’m so glad you liked the post and hope you might manage to track down some of these places when you go! So you have a sweet tooth as well huh?! We seem to have such similar taste in things 🙂 Looking forward to reading your posts and seeing photos from when you do go to Brussels – when are you off?
You’re welcome 😀
Yesss, I do have a sweet tooth and would love to visit these lovely places when I go.
I was considering going this year, though haven’t decided when yet. If I go I will for sure follow your tips!
I wish you a great weekend!
Have a great weekend too Allan ☺
Thank you dear 😀
I like The Chocolate Line but it’s not in Brussels, only in Antwerp and Bruges. Thank god I live in Belgium!
I love it too!! Literally just discovered it around 3 weeks ago when I went on a weekend break to Bruges! In fact, still have a couple of boxes left at home that I’m saving for Christmas! You’re very lucky to have this all easily at your fingertips in Belgium Kim! ☺
Oh I remember the Sablon square and its chocolate shops. I wasn’t too impressed by Brussels but I loved its chocolate shops and waffles:)
Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on Brussels Tanja – it’s a funny city in that sense, in the way it divides opinion. I went there not expecting much and ended up really liking it but I know others who didn’t enjoy it so much. The waffles and chocolate are definitely less of a contentious issue though