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Chocolate Tour in Brussels (Self Guided), Brussels

Belgium is considered one of, if not the, best producer of chocolate in the world. The country's capital Brussels abounds in opportunities to taste more than 2,000 different varieties of this delectable treat. There is a plethora of chocolate shops in the city which offer chocolates of all imaginable shapes, sizes and colors. Unleash your sweet tooth and explore some of Brussels' top chocolate shops on this self-guided tour.
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Chocolate Tour in Brussels Map

Guide Name: Chocolate Tour in Brussels
Guide Location: Belgium » Brussels (See other walking tours in Brussels)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 5
Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.5 Km or 0.9 Miles
Author: audrey
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Planete Chocolat
  • Leonidas
  • Pierre Marcolini Brussels Reine Store II
  • Neuhaus Chocolatier
  • Mary Chocolatier
1
Planete Chocolat

1) Planete Chocolat

If you are keen on chocolate and are in Brussels, then missing a visit to Planète Chocolat would be a crime! And even more so, given its central location at Rue du Lombard 24 – just a stone's throw from the Grand Place and Manneken-Pis. This place is unique in the sense that, apart from buying delicious handmade (of 100% cocoa butter) artisan Belgian chocolate in its variety (pralines with different ganaches, gayettes, mendiants, truffles, biscuits, and hot chocolate, as well as chocolate cosmetics and sugar-free chocolate), here you can also see for yourself the entire process of chocolate-making and taste the chocolate prepared before your very eyes.

Planète Chocolat was founded as a company and opened its store in downtown Brussels in 1991, having since become a true ambassador of Belgian chocolate worldwide. It is currently placed by GoEuro among the top 11 chocolate shops in Europe, and TripAdvisor ranks Planète Chocolat #3 for shopping in Brussels. The store is decorated with chocolate sculptures, including that of the Manneken Pis, the City Hall, and the Atomium – the landmark of Expo 58, Brussels World's Fair.

Planète Chocolat has elevated chocolate-making to the rank of an art, and today it plays a regular host to various events related to chocolate, such as demonstrations and artisanal workshops, during which the staff generously share their knowledge of the craft with those interested, seeing annually more than 50,000 visitors. With a mission to inform public about the origin and delights of chocolate, the Planète Chocolat museum retraces the history of cocoa. Also, each year the chocolaterie co-hosts a tasting session at the luxury hotel Breidenbacher Hof in Düsseldorf.
2
Leonidas

2) Leonidas (must see)

If you need a token travel gift from Brussels for family and friends back home, go to Leonidas Chocolatiers to find the best selection of authentic yet affordable Belgian chocolates. While there is no shortage of craft chocolate shops replete with delicious displays in the city, Leonidas really stands out as a combination of good atmosphere, selection, service and reasonable price. An established producer with international recognition, Leonidas has over 1400 retail outlets all over the globe, including the one in the Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert in Brussels.

The brand is named after its Greek founder, Leonidas Kestekides, a confectioner who moved from Anatolia, Turkey to the United States in 1900, and then 10 years later settled in Brussels after having participated in the World Fair where he won a bronze medal and met his future wife, Joanna Emelia Teerlinck. In Brussels, Kestekides established a chocolaterie with a logo featuring an effigy of the Greek warrior Leonidas, King of Sparta. His very first shop was in a rented room so small and without even a door to the main street, that the only possibility to attract customers was to open the window and display chocolates on the windowsill.

This proved to be a revolutionary idea as it allowed passers-by to pick up the delicious scent of chocolates and buy them on the spot. Selling through a sliding sash window would remain the trademark of the brand for many decades. Eventually, the demand for Leonidas chocolates proved so high that, in 1985, the company was forced to place an ad in the national newspapers, the first of its kind in the history of advertising, asking the people interested in retailing Leonidas chocolates to stop sending their requests to open a shop since the production could not keep up with the demand.

Leonidas's main specialization is pralines (chocolate shells with soft fillings, called Belgian Chocolate in English-speaking countries), although they also sell marzipan, solid chocolates, and other confections. The available varieties are displayed along the walls of the shop, clean and bright, in an orderly fashion, well documented and with due description of ingredients and pricing, making it easy for visitors to take their time and look around. Should you find it easy, and yet not, to make your pick amid the enormous variety on offer, the staff will be happy to help you with a choice.

Family business since establishment, in 2013 Leonidas celebrated its 100th anniversary, and on November 15 the same year became a certified purveyor to the Belgian royal household.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Sat: 10am-11pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Pierre Marcolini Brussels Reine Store II

3) Pierre Marcolini Brussels Reine Store II

Bringing back chocolate from Belgium is a bit of an obvious choice these days, so if you’re going to pick up a box, you will want something out of the ordinary. Pierre Marcolini is a swanky, high-end chocolatier with multiple locations in Brussels, who treats his sweets as modern design and doesn’t stop at the chocolate itself. His store at the heart of the artsy Sablon district of Brussels looks a bit like a decadent ice cream parlor where the chocolates are displayed as if they were luxury cars in a showroom.

While they don't have much in the way of ordinary chocolate or products meant for immediate consumption, their top-of-the line product is macaron, two brightly colored biscuits separated from each other by a cream paste. So, if you’re looking for the royal treatment, pick up The Complete Collection, a red luxury box with 25 macarons of every imaginable bright color. Of course, it is always possible to assemble a handpicked selection or buy one of the less expensive gift packages, too. The macarons can as well be purchased individually, albeit a bit pricey. Either way, one should never pass up an opportunity to snag some of Pierre Marcolini's French macarons, as they could easily be the best macarons ever made – perfect texture, perfect subtle flavors, plus a multitude of options. This place seems like a spot you couldn't just have one of anything, as they're all really tasty.

Still, if macarons aren't your style, the shop carries a wide range of handcrafted gourmet pralines, truffles and chocolates, all treated to the Marcolini touch. Overall, this sleek and sophisticated store offers a fine but somewhat expensive experience. The delivered quality and taste, however, make it well worth stopping by if you need a box of chocolates or a few macrons for a special someone.
4
Neuhaus Chocolatier

4) Neuhaus Chocolatier

Chocoholics should make it a priority visiting the outlet of Neuhaus in Brussels, a renowned manufacturer of luxurious Belgian chocolates, delicious biscuits and artisanal ice cream, but most importantly – the inventor of praline. The company was founded in 1857 by Jean Neuhaus, a Swiss immigrant, who opened his first store at the Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert in central Brussels initially as a pharmacy that made medicines more palatable by covering them in a layer of chocolate. In 1912, his grandson, Jean Neuhaus II, came up with a brilliant idea of replacing the medicine with cream and thus invented the chocolate bonbon or 'praline', a decadent chocolate cream ganache center inside a chocolate shell! Three years later, the 'ballotin' was invented to avoid the pralines from being crushed together.

In 1958, at the World Exhibition in Brussels, Neuhaus introduced what has since become their legendary specialty – an iconic Caprice praline consisting of a chocolate-covered biscuit shell hand-filled with decadent cream, nougat, or ganache. Today, Neuhaus has over 1,500 selling points in 50 countries selling a vast array of cacao products in elegant ballotin boxes that make delectable souvenirs. Apart from the traditional pralines, their chocolate range nowadays includes chocolate bars & tablets, BonBons, confectionery, individually wrapped chocolate squares ("Carres"), and hot chocolate. All Neuhaus delicacies are still made in Vlezenbeek, near Brussels, and are exported worldwide. In 2000, the company was made an Accredited Supplier to the Belgian Crown. They also make chocolate truffles, which in 2017 was declared "the Best Chocolate Truffle in the World" by Bloomberg Pursuits.

The Neuhaus chocolate is 100% UTZ Certified, made with 100% ingredients of natural origin, and is crafted entirely in Belgium. 25% of the chocolate is produced with cocoa from Neuhaus's own cacao farm.

Tips:
1. Come in the morning or around midday since many of the better samples and box sets are sold out later in the day.
2. Don’t come on a full stomach.
3. Do a quick walk around the store to assess what’s available. Don’t overload on the same flavors, but sample a little bit of everything.
4. Bring some water to wash it all down and cleanse your palette for the next tasting.
5. Indulge in the box sets first, as they are first-choice chocolates or limited editions.
6. Bring in a friend to sample more flavors. Halve the sweets with each other to maximize the varieties of confections you can try.
7. Make sure to try the triangular Caprice pralines. For the best deals, see if any are sold in the bulk section.
8. Kilo boxes are the best value – often three kilo boxes are sold for the price of two and thus can be divvied up as gifts.
9. Kilo boxes that are not labeled with a flavor and only marked “Second Choice” contain a mixed assortment. If you want some variety, seek those.
10. Don’t be scared to ask.

The store is typically open 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Monday through Saturday (closed on Sundays).
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Mary Chocolatier

5) Mary Chocolatier

Amid the staggering number of chocolate shops available in Brussels, there is one that you absolutely must visit if you're a chocolate fan. Mary Chocolatier shop on Rue Royale has been open since 1919. Today, this Art Deco-style salon, so much popular among lovers of chocolate “bonbons,” offers more than 70 types of 100% natural delightful handmade pralines with a variety of fillings that is fit to amaze anyone. A step into the Mary store is the experience of refinement taken to the extreme.

Mary Chocolatier has been a Belgian Royal Warrant Holder since 1942, seamlessly blending tradition and modernity, with their reintroduced, glamorous iconic boxes nestled among delicate draperies. Their delectable chocolate is truly some of the best you may have ever had.

The shop is open Monday through Saturday from 10 am to 6 pm.

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