Chocolate and St. Valentine’s. It is almost impossible to miss this rather sweet (and maybe just a bit manufactured) connection when you live in Brussels. Walking around the Grand Place or the Sablon area I could not help but noticing the trademark red hearts popping up already mid January.
Navigating the chocolate scene in Brussels is a daunting task at the best of times. To make it easier for all of us looking to buy chocolate tomorrow, here are my top 10 picks of chocolate shops in Brussels.
A firm favourite, Pierre Marcolini has mastered the mix of slick minimalist (gorgeous!) packaging with delicious chocolate. This years St Valentine’s collection is vintage Frenchy inspired with hot air heart balloons and bicycle rides making it easy to fall in love (again). Pierre Marcolini’s shops can be found in various locations throughout the city. My favourite one is on Place Sablon however it does tend to get quite busy.
A local Brussels chocolatier from Woluwe Saint Pierre, this chocolate house seems to be a big hit with my friends. I have never tried the Passion Chocolat chocolate (yet) but as I do trust the taste of my friends … I suggest you give it a go. And let me know what you think.
You know how much I loved my visit of the Neuhaus factory! Impossible not to list Neuhaus as one of the must try chocolate shops for this St Valentine’s. Incidentally also my other half’s favourite chocolates, so a red heart box will for sure find its way into our household. The Neuhaus shops can be found all over the city, and those in the centre of town tend to be open on the weekend as well.
Part of the modern generation of chocolatier, Laurent Gerbaud creates the most unusual combination of chocolate and spices. His chocolates are unique and a pleasure to discover. For the true chocolate aficionados you can also follow a chocolate making class in his atelier (tried out by Sandy from S Marks the Spot blog). His St Valentine’s collection is just as surprising and worth a taste – Caramel and Fleur de Sel, Ganaches KOKO or Rasberry&Mint.
As a supplier to the Royal Court of Belgium I am always surprised Mary’s is not more popular and better known. Their dainty almost fairytale packaging is to die for. And the chocolate is not bad either. The St Valentine’s collection this year features pale pink, pink and red hearts filled with … you guessed it … more hearts. Their shop in the Gallery de a Reine in the centre is absolutely beautiful to browse through. However I suggest going to their shop inside the Steigenberger Wiltcher Hotel and then enjoy their afternoon tea a deux.
A bit off the radar, this local chocolatier in Etterbeek is a bit more low key than the other flagship chocolate shops in Brussels. Doesn’t mean their pralines are not to die for. On top of this – if I am to judge by the name – the chocolatier seems to be Romanian (!) so another reason to head over to Rendez-Vous Chocolate to get your Valentine some heart shaped pralines. Plus with a name like this … a date is guaranteed.
Moving away from the heart and the fluffy pink and red, Planete Chocolat offers probably the most original St. Valentine’s day chocolate … bouquet. I am not kidding! This artisanal chocolatier located in the centre of Brussels is offering lovebirds (and chocolate lovers) the opportunity to buy a flower chocolate bouquet. Seriously, how cool is that? I have never seen a chocolate bouquet before so I must say I was impressed. On top of this the bouquet has enough chocolate ‘flowers’ to last until next St. Valentine’s. But really, who are we kidding?
A chocolate house established in 1910, Wittamer is also one of the selected chocolate houses holding the title of Certified Royal Warrant Holder of Belgium. Which is really to ay they are the official supplier of the Royal House of Belgium, amongst other of wedding cakes. Would not mind to try a slice … Their 2016 St. Valentine’s collection is on the sexy ‘coquines’ side but made with the same delicious Wittamer chocolate we all love in Brussels. As this is a child friendly blog 🙂 I will let you discover it on their website.
I have only recently discover this chocolatier in Brussels, strolling on a Sunday around the Marolles. It seems Darcis is a chocolate house hailing from Liege, but I am happy they opened a branch in Brussels. Needless to say I went back to taste his chocolate the day after as those of you who follow me in Instagram have seen. Delicious! The St. Valentine’s collection promises to be just as tasty.
A true Belgian chocolatier, Frederic Blondeel is also a roaster of cocoa beans. This makes his shop a mecca for those who are interested in the true origin of chocolate from bean to bar. I wrote about him and particularly his hot chocolate for The Culture Trip in an article last year, so how could I leave him out for St. Valentine’s Day chocolate? Indulgence guaranteed.
And as a bonus, I will also add as no. 11 on my chocolate shops list in Brussels, Herman Van Dender. Hailing from Antwerp, this chocolatier is also a fervent supporter of the bean to bar approach and a supplier to the Belgian Royal House. A big hit in Japan he is more of an ‘insider tip’ in Belgium, so do try to spot him out and taste his chocolate. You will not be dissapointed.