“Where can I indulge my craving for craft, specialty chocolate bars in Brussels?”
That is a question I get regularly. And for good reasons: it isn’t that easy to find places where you can buy your craft bars, be it from Belgian or other makers. This list is by no way exhaustive, but it can give you some hints where to look for novelties. Please check on the website whether the shop is still open before going: better safe than sorry 🙂 And if you find other addresses that I should recommend, please let me know and I will add them.
Chocolate shops and retailers
If you are a tourist, that’s in all probability where you will be or be heading to. It isn’t where you will find the widest assortment or the most inventive one, but you may already find a few interesting bars. The most famous is the Place du Grand Sablon, where you will find Blondeel, Marcolini, Roger next to non craft chocolate businesses such as Godiva or Neuhaus (but I rather suggest buying your bonbons at Laurent Gerbaud, not far away). The same goes for the magnificent Galerie du Roi, close to Grand Place, (and a must see, imo): a few craft places in a sea of non-craft, including the first shop of the creator of bonbons, Neuhaus.
Cafe Aksum – Galerie du Roi, 1000 Brussels (near the Grand Place). This coffee house displays a small assortment of craft bars, including Naive, Madécasse, Jordi, Blanxart, Hoja verde, Kuna. Dont forget to have a look at the famous cookie house Dandoy shop just in front. A beauty. Open: daily 900-1900/2100.
Pierre Marcolini – Various shops in Brussels (incl. Galerie du Roi ; Place du Grand Sablon). Pastry chef, chocolatier and chocolate maker, Marcolini started with making his own chocolate in the 90s. In his shop you will find his own craft chocolate bars and bonbons, and in some shops, pastries.
🕵️♀️ I realised I havent been there for a while. I am fond of his pastries. And I heard that his hazelnut spread is delicious. Reason to go back!
Choco Story – Rue de la tête d’Or 9-11 (=Grand Place), 1000 Brussels. The chocolate museum has usually a (very) few bars on display (Taza, Mi Joya, Menakao, etc.) next to the entrance door. Open: from Monday to Sunday from 1000 to 1700 pm.
🕵️♀️ I would go for Menakao milk chocolate with vanilla: fudgy, with a lovely taste of vanilla which doesn’t overpower the red fruits and slight acidity… the bar I choose when I want something to nibble on!
Frederic Blondeel – Quai aux Briques 24 (Sainte Catherine neighbourhood) & Rue de la Paille 32 (street leading to Place du Grand Sablon), 1000 Bruxelles. Chocolatier and chocolate maker, Frederic Blondeel makes his own craft chocolate bars, bonbons and ice creams. Open: Sun-Fri 1200-1845, Sat 1030-1845. Tip: you can also visit his factory and buy his product up in the north of Brussels, Rue de Ganshoren 39, 1081 Brussels-Koekelberg.
🕵️♀️ Just in case you are still stunned by the beauty of Brussels and can’t choose a bar: the Peru brutus if you like or want to try a stone ground bar, Mexican type of texture (=grittier). Or his India bar.
Café Velvet – Quai au charbon 27, 1000 Brussels (Sainte Catherine neighbourhood). This Colombian coffee house, also in Medellín (who knows, maybe your next trip), sells Cacao Hunters, the Colombian craft brand. To be savoured together with a Colombian coffee. Open: Mon-Sat 900-1800, Sun 1000-1800.
Patrick Roger – Place du Grand Sablon 43, 1000 Brussels. Patrick Roger is a French chocolate maker, but we won’t exclude him for this reason, will we ? You will find his bars and bonbons in his shop typically decorated with chocolate sculptures. Closed on Mondays.
Laurent Gerbaud – 2d, rue Ravenstein – 1000 Brussels. Laurent Gerbaud doesnt make his own chocolate (yet) but uses craft chocolate for his bonbon range and other goodies (chocolate covered speculoos by Dandoy for instance – sold also in Galerie du Roi). Open: daily 1030-1930.
🕵️♀️ If you are lost in front of the glass case, eyes still amazed by the view from the close by rooftop of the Museum of Instruments: taste his sesame, or bergamote or famous black olive ganache. To my opinion they dont beat, however, his ‘Gare aux Noisettes’ (Beware of the Hazelnuts), a damn delicious luxury ferrero rocher with Piemont hazelnut and nibs.
T14 – Rue Archimede 14, 1000 Brussels. For those of you who are in the neighbourhood of Schuman (EU institutions) and want a culinary journey to Vietnam, this is a tea shop which sells Marou only (and not the coconut milk bar, for the aficionados). Closed on Saturdays and Sundays.
🕵️♀️ A suggestion? Every Marou bar is great! Personally I very much like the Lam Dong, with raisin and plum notes.
A little to the south
If you are willing to discover what Belgium and the craft chocolate world have to offer, it is really worth leaving the city center for a short while and go a little further down to Mike and Becky and/or Nihant. A tram will lead you there directly from the Place du Grand Sablon. You have no excuses left.
Mike & Becky – Avenue Brugmann 243, 1180 Uccle. Probably the largest choice of craft chocolate brands in Brussels. Bjorn and Julia sell their own craft chocolate and a wide choice of Belgian & foreign brands. You can find pastries and homemade hot chocolate. More info here. Open: Tues-Fri & Sun 1300-1900, Sat 1300-1900
🕵️♀️ If the hot chocolate didn’t clear out your mind: try their Mutwanga dark milk bar 50% from Congo, with/out nibs, notes of caramel, butterscotch. Bliss. Or Peru homemade hot chocolate. Your choice.
Benoit Nihant – Chée de Waterloo 506, 1050 Ixelles & Chée de Waterloo 1359G, 1180 Uccle. Benoit Nihant is also a Belgian craft chocolate maker (he calls himself by the name of ‘cacaofèvier’, playing with the words ‘cacao’ and ‘beans’) and chocolatier based near Liège, but he has 2 shops in Brussels. He has a plantation in Peru.
🕵️♀️ If there are too much bars and so little time: his Brazil catongo bar, crafted for his 10th anniversary. Light coloured, made from an albino bean, the catongo, this bar has notes of red fruits, caramel. Good balance between bitter and sweet. Delicious.
🕵️♀️ You can trust Alice’s choice, she has great taste. Pump Street (yes!), Robert (from Madagascar), Menakao (milk with vanilla, bliss), …
To the east
Because Brussels is bigger than you think, you may also want to discover the Parc and the Africa Museum in Tervuren. And, by the same token, Mi Joya chocolate maker. You may even jump from the tram 39 (direction Tervuren) on your way back to the city center to shop at Rob Gourmet Market. Less small batch bars and more French.
Mi Joya – Klarastraat 2, 3080 Tervuren (direct by tram from Brussels). Nicolas and Caroline make their own craft chocolate directly from the beans and sell also ice creams. More info here. Open: Wed 1300-1800, Sat 1000-1800, Sun 1300-1800.
🕵️♀️If you already tried all their ice creams flavours and now want chocolate : taste their Cameroun 72%, very chocolatey, honey, red fruits (yes, I am into fruity bars !)
Rob Gourmet Market – Boulevard de la Woluwe 28, 1150 Woluwe-Saint-Pierre. This deli has whole range of bigger brands, such as François Parlus, Michel Cluizel, Pierre Marcolini, Benoit Nihant and Valrhona.
🕵️♀️ If you are looking for a good chocolate to bake, go for Valrhona