Chocolate in Brussels
- Regular Eater Nov 28, 2002 11:34 AM
Having sampled Michel Chaudun and JP Hervin in Paris and Bernachon in Lyon I was looking forward to Brussels to try P. Marcolini, Mary, Planet Chocolate etc.
However looking at the fodors.com website I see that both Wittamer and Mary are supplied by Marcolini. Can anyone verify this?
Also does anyone know if they use their own-made chocolate as couverture or a commercial brand eg Valrhona?
Are there any stand-out chocolate boutiques I should be aiming to visit besides the ones I have mentioned. I am also going to Antwerp.
Having researched this thoughly, over the years, with my Mother as taster, I have formed the opinion that Wittamer is as good but cheaper than Marcollini. Not the question you asked so sorry. The two are opposite each other on the Sablon in Brussels.Why not try Corne and Neuhaus as well many branches including Brussels airport. I would avoid Leonidas unless you want some cheap chocolates to impress those for whom the designation Belgian chocolate has a cachet.
I have heard tell that there is a 'chocolate tour ' in Brussels details from the tourist office.
The long term Brussels resident and chocolate eater.
re: Brussels chocolate eater
Why not try Corne? I've tried Corne once (and only once). So that's why not Corne... No comparison to Neuhaus. Wittamer is very high on my list as well. I think they do a pistachio-cream-filled dark piece which I remember being quite nice.
I'd be very surprised if Marcolini supplied Mary's product. They are very different...
My recommendations for Marcolini (one of my favorite two chocolatiers in BRU): the violet piece (they have other floral pieces); the diamond-shaped, dark-chocolate-covered praliné; the dark half-golf-ball; and many other groan/moan-inducing pieces...
Galler (the source of the other half of our 34# haul a year ago!): Extrême, Chiba (very nice almond praliné), Thé Noir (Earl Grey Tea), Mazagran (heart-shaped coffee caramel), Turque (whiskey- and coffee-flavored cream), Martiniquais (ganache with rum & raisins), Anglaise (ganache with a little raspberry flavor (could be raspberry eau de vie)).
Neuhaus: Pagode, Caprice, Tentation, Ephemere (you can compare this to Marcolini's caramels if you want to do a side-by-side tasting for those whose taste buds would enjoy the lesson! Call it a "Chocolate Class"), Bonaparte, Satan, and Black & White.
And, if you like funky Dutch egg liqueur, Leonidas DOES make a novel little Advokaat-filled chocolate, and they also have a strangely tasty fresh cream piece. (Don't remember the details on that last piece.)
Sorry, a bit off-topic but those pierre marcolini chocolates are to die for. Not only are the chocolates tasty, they also have nice-looking boxes and made great presents! Since Brussels is so far away, the only way I have of getting my fixes is to go to Tokyo. And if you think the prices in Brussels are high, what they charge in Tokyo is obscene.
Coming in under the radar is Frederic Blondeel Chocolatier. Not as fancy as Marcolini, but the chocolates are (hard to believe) even more delicious. A small shop near St Catherine, absolutely delightful hot chocolate on the premises.
Mary makes their own - their factory is in Etterbeek. Posted address in another thread. Living in Brux, we try to stay away from all the major brands.
I know this thread started in 2002 - but it still seems to have the most recent and appropriate comments, so I'm posting an update, not starting a new thread.
And most of the advice is sound.
The CHOCOLATE at Mary's was astounding. After tasting a small piece, the flavour lingered for ages. Absolutely the best (and longest) aftertaste. However, the selection of fillings was small - not much choice (and no caramel at all), so if you're looking for selection then probably not worth a detour!
Pierre Marcolini didn't sell individual chocolates - only 'boxes' - although the superb pastries and macarons were available. So judgement reserved until we try the selection we bought.
Wittamer became our #1. A far wider selection of chocolates by-the-piece, including the top two caramels (one with sea-salt). Maybe the chocolate itself wouldn't rate #1 - but that selection totally seduced.
Incidentally, we also tried Corne (mentioned in 2002 posts) - VERY disappointing - gritty texture and no lingering flavour. Avoid!