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Basic Guide to Belgian Chocolate

Basic Guide to Belgian Chocolate

Since the Valentine’s Day is almost here, I’ll share with you some Belgian chocolate basics today. It might come handy someday because, you know, chocolate is the answer, no matter what the question was.

Belgium is the kingdom of chocolate, home of truffles and birthplace of pralines. Chocolate is part of Belgium’s history and its culture. Its tradition goes back to 19th century when the oldest Belgian chocolatiers houses started to sell their products.

It almost doesn’t matter which brand or chocolate you buy; it will be good. Well, it almost doesn’t matter.

It’s not difficult to find a good chocolate in Belgium. The tricky part is to select which one you’ll buy. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to purchase and taste all of them at one time or on one occasion.

You can randomly choose a shop in the city center, they are on every street and buy a box of chocolates, or you can visit as many chocolatiers as possible and buy a few bonbons in each shop. It’s a good approach if you’re visiting Belgium. It’s no shame in buying just a few pieces in a fancy store. Many people do that, and we did it as well in some of the most elegant and most expensive ones.

If you would like to buy some chocolate while visiting Belgium, or you have someone dear and near to your heart who loves chocolate, you should where to buy and what to buy.

Here are some notes and info about the most traditional Belgian chocolate brands.

Best brand?

There’s no general answer, as everyone has its favorite. My personal favorite is Neuhaus. It wins in all aspects. I like the history of the brand, adore their pralines, and love their outlet store (you can find it here). The outlet store is on the outskirts of Brussels, but it’s easily accessible from the city center by metro. Once you are there, you can taste all the chocolates and bonbons on display. And they have great deals on all their products. Trust me; it’s worth a little detour from the city center. 😉

Second best?

Godiva. It’s another chocolate manufacturer founded in Belgium, and this one is probably more known in the world than Neuhaus. But that might be just my impression. I remember eating my very first Godiva dark chocolate bar with raspberry filling in Central Park in New York many years ago. My friend and I shared that tiny Godiva bar because at that time it seemed that one bar cost us a fortune. But it was worth every cent. Since then, Godiva has a special place in my heart.

Most luxurious chocolate boxes?

If you need a chocolate box for a special occasion, you don’t care how much it will cost, and you are going for a wow effect, go for a Wittamer or Pierre Marcolini. These two are very luxurious brands. If you don’t feel like spending a fortune on a box of chocolate, I still think it’s worth to visit their stores and buy just a couple of bonbons. They are tiny and pricey, but exceptionally delicious and special.

More wallet-friendly pralines?

If you are looking for a good quality chocolate for a good price, buy Leonidas. You can select from pre-made boxes of various sizes, or pick specific pralines and have them nicely wrapped for you.

Buying in a supermarket, yes or no?

Definitely yes, you can get a chocolate of good quality in supermarkets, but you need to know which brands to look for.

My number one choice in supermarkets are Galler chocolate bars. There are many different kinds – white, milk or dark chocolate with various fillings. If you want it as a present go for a box of mini chocolate bars, they made many of my friends happy.

The Cote d’Or chocolates are an excellent choice as well. If you want something classic with a tradition, go for this pure dark chocolate blocks in vintage wrapping.

Where not to buy?

There are many souvenir shops, especially in the city center where they sell everything from magnets and cup, through t-shirts, to boxes of truffles or pralines. It’s tempting, and it seems like a great deal to buy 6 or 10 boxes just for €9,99.

We bought different boxes there, and we weren’t happy. The bonbons are too sweet and fatty. If you are buying chocolate for many friends, go to Neuhaus outlet, or buy smaller chocolate bars in a supermarket. It’s better to give someone a smaller chocolate bar with exceptional taste than a bigger chocolate box of low quality.

What are your favorite chocolate brands, and not just Belgian? Please, share in the comments, I love to visit new places and try their chocolates.