Where to find the Best Chocolate Shops in Bruges

It is no secret that I am partial to the seductive flair of fine chocolate. I am unable to recall where it stemmed from but somewhere in between the regal golden-wrappers of Ferrero Rocher and the crisp, delineated simplicity of the Kit Kat, a taste for chocolate bloomed.

best Bruges chocolate shops
The first time I’ve put my own chocolates on a hotel room pillow

Of course, back then I knew nothing of cocoa percentages, fairtrade, fake versus real chocolate and dark versus white. I had never heard of cocoa butter and would have laughed if you had tried to explain to that childhood version of myself that the confectionery I enjoyed so much was in fact derived from a bean.

Dumon best Belgian chocolates Bruges

Nowadays, things are a little different. I am neither an expert nor a chocolate snob but the pralines and giandujas of the world have left a favourable imprint on my palate and there are few destinations better at capitalising on that than Belgium.

A Chocoholic in trouble in Bruges

where to find best chocolate in Bruges

But in a nation so consumed with cocoa, how do you distinguish the Euro-sucking tourist traps from the artisan chocolatiers? Last year, I compiled a guide to my favourite chocolate shops in Brussels and after doing the rounds online and snooping into countless chocolate shops during this visit, I thought I would do the same during our recent Christmas Market break in Bruges.

Christmas time Bruges

Perhaps the most important key way to help you distinguish the finer chocolatiers is to step inside and see if you can spot a kitchen or working space at the back of the shop. Many produce handmade chocolates on the premises. If there is no indication of this, then they may be coming in by the truckload from factories and if in doubt, just ask. We found that most staff in the Bruges’ chocolate shops we visited were passionate about their products and enjoyed conversing about them.

where to buy good chocolate Bruges Belgium

Secondly, rather differently to England, where I flock to the free samples like someone who has never seen food (because it really does not happen very often), the chocolate shops in Bruges nearly all offer samples proactively. On our last day, we had devoured so many samples that even Pumpkin was adamantly refusing them, this from the man who, in his younger years, would sneak downstairs on Christmas Eve to steal the hanging chocolate decorations from his Mother’s Christmas tree!

confectionery Bruges

But anecdotes aside, the benefit of the free sample offerings being so commonplace in Bruges is that you are able to compare and contrast the quality and taste of the chocolates between shops without any pressure to buy.

best chocolate praline Bruges Dumon

The following chocolatiers, which all produce handmade chocolates on site, are the ones that I would most highly recommend if you are visiting Bruges and I suggest making a bee line to these if you have even a remote interest in chocolate.

Pralinette

L'Atelier du Chocolat Pralinette handmade Belgian chocolate

What I liked about Pralinette was its crisp, spotless interior, where the chocolates were all displayed in a bright, airy light in contrast to the more dim and dark interiors of The Chocolate Line and yet with equally intriguing flavours.

Pralinette chocolatier Bruges

My best friend is not actually much of a chocolate fan (true friendships survive even the greatest of differences) but she is partial to the occasional white chocolate and is drawn to unique flavours so her box was easily chosen from this shop with picks including olive oil, basil, tea and Mojito (not all in one chocolate of course!)

handmade chocolate Bruges wasabi tea
I’ll be sticking to sushi with my wasabi

Dumon

We actually visited two branches of Dumon in Bruges, each which had an entirely distinguishable feel compared to the other. One sits on an unassuming corner just behind the MarkPlatz with an interior so tiny that it actually felt quite cramped given the crowds that were gathered inside. But that gives you an insight into just how popular it is. In this smaller branch, decorated with wooden panels, several members of the same family boast passionately about how their chocolates are made and helpfully talk you through the boxes and choices on offer.

top chocolatiers Bruges Dumon

They don’t label their chocolates and rumour has it that this is because they feel it over-simplifies the intricacy and depth of the flavours and processes involved. Regardless, it leaves consumers in a bit of a pickle as to how to choose so when I ordered my box, I expressed my broad preferences (whites and milks trump darks, nutty trumps fruity, a few quirky chocolates thrown in for good measure) and from thereon, it was a question of trust. After recently finishing the last of the souvenir chocolate boxes we brought back from Bruges, I am pleased to report my leap of faith in the Dumon staff paid off.

Dumon chocolate box Bruges

The second branch, located at Simon Silveplein is larger and more modern aesthetically. It has a more clinical feel to it but has the added benefit of a cafe set up on one side, where I ordered a warm chocolate milk drink, otherwise known as a decadent and weighty chocolate cube attached to a stick, submerged in hot milk and the rest is pure, unadulterated, winter-drink bliss.

best hot chocolate Bruges Dumon
The “Dunk and Stir” method of hot chocolate innovation

The Chocolate Line

Chocolate Line shop Bruges

Jut a few steps away from that branch of Dumon, you will find the renowned Chocolate Line by Dominique Personnes, which has acquired almost cult status and if you peer closely at the selections on offer, you will see why. But first, even a look at the window display will give you an inkling about the talent of these chocolatiers with sculptures like this tempting shoppers at the entrance.

Dumon chocolate window display

Making our selections was anything but instant however, whilst we found ourselves dithering between the classics and our favourites and debating whether to allow ourselves to be teased by the boundary-pushers.

unique chocolate flavours Bruges
Bacon for breakfast and Curry for Dinner is SO yesterday

And so we went for a bit of a mix, including the Asian confetti (with hints of soy and sesame), Bollywood (with subtle saffron and curry undertones) and the Amy Winehouse (white chocolate with pumpkin seeds, named so for reasons I still can’ quite decipher?!) As far as the wasabi and cannabis flavours went, there were some boundaries I wasn’t willing to push.

Het Chocoladehuisje

I rarely get sucked in by something I see in a window, particularly in a touristy part of a town, where my guards are raised even further. However, when Pumpkin and I spotted these edible chocolate logs at Chocoladehuisje being used efficiently as chocolate boxes to store a selection of chocolates in, we simply could not resist popping in to see it up close and purchasing some as gifts.

edible Christmas chocolate log Bruges

Handle them using the same tender affection with which they were created though, as one of our logs became a little cracked on the journey home but we were more than happy to clean eat up the mess. 🙂 After all, in a day and age of increasing emphasis on recycling, reduced waste and carbon footprints, it just makes sense to eat your packaging!

novelty chocolate gift tools
My kind of DIY tools.

Are you a fellow chocolate lover too and what are your favourite picks?

38 thoughts on “Where to find the Best Chocolate Shops in Bruges

  1. this sounds amazing and makes me miss Belgium! And makes me sad that I’m lactose intolerant 😦

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 17, 2016 — 11:11 am

      Thanks so much Penelope but oh, I’m sorry to hear about the intolerance! I’m sure it must be much harder to deal with in places with so much dairy temptation…did you find many places that could cater for dairy free when you were in Belgium?

      1. Luckily I’ve only been lactose intolerant for a year or two and haven’t been to Belgium while lactose intolerant – so I’ll find out soon! I found Slovenia in particular difficult to get lactose free food/drink except for one café in Ljubljana, haha.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 17, 2016 — 11:12 am

      It certainly was! Not good for the waistline, that’s for sure! :mrgreen:

  2. I love this post! My husband is useless with stuff like this and came back from Belgium with macaron on his last two trips! I’ve emailed your post to him and he is most appreciative! I’m not much better though – I would have had no idea how to distinguish quality from fake chocolate.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 17, 2016 — 11:15 am

      Hehe, your comment made me chuckle Mandy and also my husband as he read it and said “that’s the sort of thing I’d do!” Hope it comes in useful if either of you are ever in Bruges ☺ It was actually the cab driver from the airport who gave us the tip about seeing if they have chocolate being made on the premises & he was spot on!

  3. Dude, I’m jsut kicking off my January detox and you have to go & write this….!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 17, 2016 — 11:17 am

      Hehe, oops!! :mrgreen: My apologies Emma – but if you decide to throw in the towel with this detox malarkey, I shall happily be your partner in crime :mrgreen:

  4. ladies what travel January 15, 2016 — 4:17 pm

    Now I’m hungry – thanks Shikha! 😉

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 17, 2016 — 11:18 am

      Apologies Keri! I must schedule these posts for post meal time slots in future :mrgreen:

  5. Drooling over here, Shikha! We also discovered Dumon while we were in Bruges (delicious!) but we haven’t gone to the others on your list. If that’s not a good enough reason for a return visit, I don’t know what is 😉

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 17, 2016 — 11:22 am

      Oh Kasha, honestly some of these shops alone are worth the trip! Not that you and I have a sweet tooth or anything! :mrgreen: Dumon was definitely one of my favourites but do try the chocolate line if you ever return – some of the flavours are bonkers but in a way you’d never imagine would work so well!

  6. You had me at Bollywood chocolate!! Love the cute illustrations on those choccies too. This post is just GOLD.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 17, 2016 — 11:27 am

      Aww thank you Ayushi!! That’s so kind ☺ Trust me, I was so curious about the unusual flavours but almost didn’t want to waste my calories in case I wouldn’t like them – they were so good!! The Thai inspired ones had hints of lemongrass and ingredients like that – you will literally want to try one of everything!

  7. Gosh this certainly looks like my kind of place, especially all those free samples – chocoholics of the world unite!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 17, 2016 — 11:29 am

      Welcome to the support group Heather (of those of us who don’t really want to give up!!) The free samples came as such a surprise. They just kept walking towards customers the minute they walked into shops armed with trays of samples. It’s a wonder I didn’t come home twice the size!

  8. Oh my goodness! What a wonderful vicarious trip to chocolate-lane this blog post is! 🙂 I’m so intrigued by the curry and bacon one! Wonder what they are like? I suppose it’s never too early for chocolate- that’s breakfast material!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 25, 2016 — 5:25 pm

      Haha, thanks Jean! The bacon and curry flavours were actually surprisingly good! But I think you do need to be someone who enjoys mixing savoury with sweet to enjoy them as I don’t think they’d be everyone’s cup of tea!

  9. This is amazing! OMG!! This post reminds me of the WTM 😀 I’m glad you got to take the trip you wanted and eat all of these amazing chocolates!! I’m planning to go this year, let’s see how it goes. I will surely try some of these 😀

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 25, 2016 — 5:27 pm

      Oh make sure you try a couple of these shops if you do make it to Bruges Allane – you won’t regret it I promise! The Belgian chocolates at WTM totally sealed the deal for me and actually, spoiler alert but I have another upcoming chocolate related post still to come! :mrgreen:

  10. My eyes are currently darting around our living room in the hope that we’ve got some chocolate stashed somewhere which I can stuff my face with and pretend I’m eating the real deal from Bruges! I’ve passed through briefly (bus tour) and remember stocking up on chocolate as sweet treats for my family… and now I think I need to go back and do it all again!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 25, 2016 — 5:31 pm

      I hope you found a stash Connie! Funnily enough, my chocolate shopping plans were only supposed to be as gifts for other people when I hit these shops in Bruges but then I tasted them – and that very quickly changed!! :mrgreen:

  11. Oh my gosh how much chocolate did you bring home with you Shikha?! Totally worth it though because it’s all so delicious. The mojito I would love to try but I think I’ll pass on the cannabis! I’m so disappointed I didn’t see the edible chocolate boxes when we were there. What a perfect piece of packaging 🙂

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 25, 2016 — 5:33 pm

      They might have been Christmas specials but such a simple but cute idea eh?! Hehe, in my defence Ayla, a lot of the chocolate purchases were for family and colleagues (though we all know who really ended up eating the “family” supply! :mrgreen:

  12. see now you’re just TEASING!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 25, 2016 — 5:35 pm

      Hehe, apologies for any unintended chocolate consumption this post may have led to Andy! :mrgreen:

  13. Thank you so much for doing this research. It must have been hard…but I’d just pleased someone did it 😀 The chocolate shops in Bruges were undoubtedly one of my favourite things in the city. Pralinette actually looks quite familiar, so I’m thinking it was there I went on my last trip in 2014. Would definitely be up for even more return trips just for the excuse to try more chocolate 🙂 x

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) January 25, 2016 — 11:40 pm

      Hehehe, someone had to do it Emily so just this once, I was prepared to step up and oblige 😀 I really enjoyed Pralinette though I’d eaten so many samples by then that the only chocolates I bought in there were as gifts but they had some seriously creative flavours! The mojito one came with a little pipette where you could squeeze the alcohol into the chocolate!

  14. awesome, I bought pralines in Brugge too but not from one of these shops:) They were great!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) February 8, 2016 — 4:59 pm

      To be honest, when it comes to pralines in Belgium, I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad one anywhere! So yummy!

  15. You’ve sold us on the chocolate in Bruges! We also hear Bruges has good beer :-). Love the idea of dunking a cube of chocolate in hot milk — that would be a good bedtime soporific. Don’t know if you’ve had a chance to check it out. But over at our new GettingOnTravel.com online magazine, we have a contributing writer who specializes in chocolate travel!

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) May 17, 2017 — 2:06 pm

      Oooh thanks for letting me know! I’d love to have a read of your new venture & keep a close eye on the features run by your chocolate specialist! Belgium is a dangerous place for any chocolate addicts & yes, the beer & frites are pretty popular things to try there too!

  16. I am in Bruge next week! My mum will thank you for this post 🙂 Will have to take her around to some of these.

    1. Shikha (whywasteannualleave) April 15, 2018 — 6:18 pm

      Hope some of the tips came in helpful lovely 😊

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