Food & Drink
Five of the Best Chocolatiers in Brussels
18 April 2016
Rich, creamy and exquisitely decorated, Belgian chocolate is the finest you’ll taste. The spiritual home of cocoa enthusiasts the world over, there are over 2,000 chocolatiers across the city. Next time you visit Hotel Amigo, navigate your way through the endless chocolate choices with our guide to the best chocolatiers in Brussels.
When it comes to chocolatiers in Brussels, one man’s name stands out above all others: Pierre Marcolini. The chocolate master is famed for his daring creativity and dedication to quality. He personally selects beans from plantations in Brazil, Mexico, Vietnam and Chuao in Venezuela and roasts them back home in Brussels, where he experiments with unique flavourings. Visit the flagship boutique on Place du Sablon to discover tempting truffles, flavoursome macaroons and innovative creations such as cocoa-infused ‘tea’ and intense 6g chocolates. If you can’t decide on just one, hand pick your own customised box at the chocolate bar.
Inspired by his travels to the Far East, chocolatier Laurent Gerbaud blends chocolate, fruit and spices to create premium chocolates that are unique and flavoursome. It all started with dark chocolate coated kumquats and has now extended to apricots, lemon peel, figs, grapefruit, plums, pears, nuts, and much more. Visitors can sample his fruity creations at the Laurent Gerbaud boutiques on Rue Revenstein and Rue des Chartreux. Enjoy a chocolate masterclass at Laurent Gerbaud’s atelier with Hotel Amigo’s incredible Chocolate Lovers Package. Guests will learn how to create their own chocolates at the chocolatier, just a few steps from Hotel Amigo. The package includes two nights’ stay, breakfast, chocolate gift and chocolate workshop.
Wittamer started life as a bakery over 100 years ago. Over time, the family-run company turned its attention to chocolate and became an innovative leader as one of the first to use colours in its chocolates. Wittamer’s reputation was so great that it was commissioned to create a huge chocolate cake for the wedding of the King and Queen of Belgium in 1999, earning it a Royal Warrant. Visitors can sample sweet treats at the patisserie or explore the atelier’s myriad chocolate offerings and pick up a speciality Carré Floor box, a customised selection of 25 smooth pralines.
Neuhaus is credited with the invention of praline, a cornerstone of the Belgian chocolate industry. The company started as a pharmacy, which used to cover medicines in chocolate to make them more palatable. But when the founder’s grandson, Jean Neuhaus Jr, took over in 1912, he omitted the medicine and filled the chocolates with fresh cream. Praline was born and Belgium never looked back. Visit Neuhaus to sample a seemingly endless collection of pralines, chocolates and gift boxes. Ensure you pick up a couple of classics, such as Bonbon 13 and Astrid, which follow the original recipes created over 75 years ago.
Mary was opened in 1919 by chocolate enthusiast Mary Delluc. Based in the heart of the capital in Rue Royal, it soon became a favourite of passing noblemen, who returned again and again for its quality handmade, hand-decorated Belgian chocolates (the signature curved langues de chat (cat tongues) were a particular success). Mary became a supplier to the royal family and was awarded the title of Certified Royal Warrant Holder of Belgium in 1942, 1990 and 1994. In today’s art deco-style boutiques across Brussels, visitors can sample the latest collections and flavours, or explore the chocolatier’s history through tasty period boxes, such as the rosine, the gilded box and, of course, the langues de chat.
Image credits: Belgian chocolates © istock/OTTI-design-and-photography, Wittamer boutique and workshop © Wittamer