The Sweet Life: A Day-out in Brussels with Chocolatier Marc Ducobu

Rocco Forte Hotels

For Marc Ducobu, chocolate isn’t just an ingredient; it's an art form. And, as an award-winning Belgian chocolatier and ‘pastry maverick’, he knows a thing or two about it.

It is his ‘eternal apprentice’ mindset and a tireless thirst for creativity and promoting Belgian chocolatiers on the world stage that led to the creation of the Bel Oeuf exhibition. A riotous display of oversized chocolate Easter eggs, this year’s event will see world-renowned experts – including Ducobu, Pierre Marcolini, and Yasushi Sasaki – showcase elaborate creations celebrating the theme of Surrealism. 

Ducobu’s idea is to unite two Belgian forces – chocolate, and Surrealism, the radical art movement founded in Paris and Brussels in 1924 – and let each participant push the boundaries in their own way. For curious chocolate fans, the eggs will be on display at Hotel Amigo from 22 March to 1 April and will be sold to raise funds for charity. 

When he’s not rising at dawn to buy fresh produce from the local markets for his jams, or dreaming up his next award-winning dessert, you can find Ducobu strolling the streets of Brussels, pouring over antiques or admiring vivid street art, seeking out his next source of inspiration. Come with us on a tour of Brussels to discover Ducobu’s favourite spots…


We begin at the Grand-Place, one of Europe’s most historic squares, just a stone’s throw from Hotel Amigo. Founded in the 12th century as a bustling marketplace, it wasn’t until the 15th century that the magnificent Gothic Town Hall was built. Later came the installation of the trade guilds in the myriad gold-touched buildings that stand shoulder to shoulder around the square. Look out for the House of the Corporation of Painters, or Le Pigeon, where famed French writer Victor Hugo hid while in exile. Today, its cobblestones worn smooth by centuries of footfall, the Grand-Place is a UNESCO World Heritage site, and regularly plays host to the city’s cultural events such as the world-famous biennial flower carpet, Christmas fetes and the colourful folklore celebration, Ommegang.

The Sablon

A 10-minute walk from Hotel Amigo sits the quaint Sablon District, crisscrossed by picturesque lanes dotted with antique shops, artisanal boutiques, art galleries and, of course, chocolatiers. At the heart is the historic Place du Grand Sablon, a mecca for antique lovers thanks to its famous weekend markets. After browsing the stalls for treasures, make the short walk to the Place du Petit Sablon, home to the Gothic church of Notre-Dame du Sablon. Tucked beside it is the blink-and-you'll-miss-it Petit Sablon Square, a pocket-sized park filled with bronze statues and colourful flower beds. Close by, the Mont des Arts District is home to museums including the Magritte Museum, the Museum of Musical Instruments, and the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium.



A street away lies historic Marolles, a Medieval neighbourhood home to the city’s oldest bars, brasseries and the ancient Brusseleir dialect. For collectors, Rue Haute and Rue Blaes are home to a cornucopia of excellent antique and vintage boutiques - be sure to pay a visit to the ‘king of vintage’ Bernard Gavilan’s store, at 137 Rue Blaes. In a city famed for its connection to the avant-garde, Marolles is where you’ll find the largest number of the capital’s 61 comic book murals. Colourful depictions of favourite French and Belgian characters, as well as pieces dedicated to famed Flemish Master Pieter Bruegel, playfully adorn the district’s buildings. 

Bar Magritte

Take a stroll back to Hotel Amigo, laden with treasures, stopping to admire the Belgian icon, Manneken Pis, on your way back. Here, the delights of Bar Magritte – a tribute to another Brussels son, Surrealist genius René Magritte – await. Surrounded by delightful murals dancing across the walls, take a moment to enjoy a delectable cocktail, each dedicated to the life and work of Magritte, while you recount your day following in Ducobu’s footsteps. 


For a weekend filled with chocolate and culture, look no further than Hotel Amigo, the perfect place from which to explore the Belgian capital.

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