Chocolate in Belgium
Belgian chocolate is renowned the world over. This small nation of just 10 million people that invented the praline now has over 2000 chocolate shops, and the sweet treat is part of the cultural DNA of the country.
With just a short ferry trip from Dover to Calais or Dunkirk, or on our Newhaven to Dieppe crossing, you’ll be across the Channel and driving over the border to a Belgian chocolate wonderland in no time. Or, if you’re traveling from northern England or Scotland, you can take our overnight ferry from Newcastle to Amsterdam and wake up refreshed and ready to cross into Belgium the next morning.
The Brussels factory of Neuhaus invented the first filled chocolates, or pralines, in the early 1900s. These days, Neuhaus stores around Brussels offer a wide selection of chocolate products, from dark truffles to boxed assortments, including Tintin-themed chocolates and chocolate drinks. Visit their store in the Galeries St Hubert, the glass-domed arcade, and marvel at the wonderful architecture as well as the delicious chocolate.
Image credit: Joseph Brent
Boasting two stores in the Belgian city of Bruges, this family run business makes some of the smoothest chocolates in the whole of Belgium. The daughter of the original owner still runs the smaller of the two shops, making fresh pralines and chocolate bars daily. In the larger, flagship store found on Simon Stevinplein, you’ll find a greater selection of top-notch chocolates on offer, as well as a coffee and hot chocolate bar.
Image credit: Bill Littman
The Chocolate Line
Popular with locals and tourists alike, The Chocolate Line is a true chocolate aficionado’s dream. Dominique Persoone – the self-styled "Shock-o-latier" – is the owner and his unique chocolate inventions combine such flavours as rum, lemongrass, lavendar, ginger, tobacco leaves, fried onions and wasabi. As you can probably tell, this is a destination for braver and more experimental chocolate samplers, but the pay-off for being bold is well worth taking the plunge. At the rear of the shop you can watch the kitchen staff creating more than 80 varieties The Chocolate Line offers.
Image credit: Don Crawley
Choco-story in Bruges tells the story of how cocoa transforms into chocolate, and explains the consumption of chocolate from the Aztec times right through to the present day.
You’ll see top in-house chocolatiers make pralines right in front of you, and the more serious chocolate buffs will find a library containing books on chocolate and cocoa.
Image credit: Paulius Malinovskis
Musée de Chocolat Jacques
Located in Eupen, in the Belgian countryside, Musée de Chocolat Jacques is an impressive factory with a museum that covers the cultivation of cocoa and chocolate production, as well as stocking interesting related artefacts.
There are guided tours if you wish, or you can explore yourself and see the factory in operation from an elevated walkway.
Chocolate Festival of Mons
This festival features everything the enthusiastic chocolate-loving tourist could ever need. With chocolate themed cookery demonstration, interactive experiences and plenty of chocolatiers exhibiting their finest of treats, it’s a true thrill. If that’s not enough, there’s also the Chic & Chocolate Gourmet Walk: half a kilometre of treats, sweets and chocolates designed around the theme of the Seven Deadly Sins. Scandalous!
Image credit: KLMircea
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