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What is worth taking home Belgian or French chocolate?

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Hi
We will be in Brussels, Brugges, and Paris. What is worth taking home Belgian or French chocolates?

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  1. I'm a fan of Pierre Marcolini (flagship store in Place du Sablon in Brussels).

    2 Replies
    1. re: limster

      Strongly second the Pierre Marcolini suggestion. We've had a lot of chocolate in Belguim (lucky us), but this was the very best.

      1. re: limster

        Just back from Brussels and we sampled quite a few of the chocolates (!). Have to agree with you that Marcolini was the absolute best. We also did have some amazing (and expensive) chocolate in Amsterdam at a little place called Pompadour. I'm going through chocolate withdrawal.

      2. I'd take home chocolate from Belgium and macarons (or marzipan) from France.

        1. Absolutely Paris. Check out Patrick Roger, Jean Charles Rochoux (amazing sculptures but try his bar of the day), Pierre Marcolini, Jean Paul Hevin, DeBauve & Gallais (chocolate makers to the kings), Jacques Genin (doesn't sell to public but might if you stop by and get lucky), and of course Pierre Herme where you must buy the macarons - salt caramel especially! There are many others but these are the very top. Be prepared to pay!

          1 Reply
          1. re: sassygirl

            In Paris make sure you go to Michel Chaudun. He is amazing and the prices are great!

          2. One approach to walking around Brugges is to stop at EVERY chocolate shop you see and order 1 chocolate each. Our 6 year-old thought this was the best walking tour, ever. It will also give you a chance to decide where to make your big purchase. We missed a few of the shops because we were in Brugges during the height of the 2006 heat wave, and some of the shops had actually shut down due to the heat.

            If you want to bring home excellent chocolates that won't destroy your budget, Leonidas is in pretty much every town in Belgium and half the price of other top quality chocolates. It's a particularly good choice if you are bringing chocolates home for people who aren't terribly familiar with high end chocolates. Leonidas will blow them away. I used half pound ballotins of Leonidas as holiday presents around the office and people raved about them.

            Every grocery store in Belgium has a selection of good quality chocolate bars at reasonable prices.

            1. Personally, i believe Belgian chocolate (and their beer) is the very best. I agree with PollyG's assessment of Leonidas (try their truffle logs, or fresh cream chocolates - the chestnut filling is wonderful). A lot of others may object, but i particularly like Neuhaus's "Astrid". These are all available around the square in brussels.

              3 Replies
              1. re: cornFusion

                I love Mary's Chocolates in Brussels. It's a little hike up a hill from the Grand Place, but definitely worth stretching your legs to reach. There are 70 different choices. They also will ship chocolates home if you would rather not schlep them. Not cheap but then, nothing is in Europe right now. Here's her site:

                http://www.marychoc.com/en/index.html

                Leonidas is good, too, but Mary's does not market her chocolates outside Belgium where you can buy many of the others around the world.

                In Paris, I am very fond of A la Reine Astrid in the 6th. It is a tiny shop at 24 Rue Cherche Midi. When you walk in the shop, everything is laid out on a long table in front of you. The traditional chocolates are fabu, but their dark chocolate covered anythings -- almonds, candied fruit -- are wonderful, and they have a little set of chocolate tablets that go wonderfully with coffee.

                They will fix up little tins for traveling and throw in a handful of candied violets and roses for decor. I thought I had died and gone to chocolate heaven.

                This is only in French but it's got a photo of the shop:
                http://paris.8.evous.fr/A-la-Reine-As...

                1. re: brendastarlet

                  Thank you all, we're leaving tomorrow. I am excited!

                  1. re: brigdo

                    Bon voyage et bon appetit!

              2. I have not been to Europe in quite a few years, but every time i went LEONIDAS, in Belgium, was my absolute favorite. They have a wonderful selection and each better than the next.

                3 Replies
                1. re: faleentoby

                  I just brought back 5 boxes of Leonidas from Belgium for co-workers. They devoured the chocolate. I had one piece and was kicking myself for not bringing a box back for myself.

                  1. re: synergy

                    Go get yourself a box then!

                    http://www.leonidas-chocolate.com/mad...

                    Other locations are around, but that one really moves product. About as fresh as you can get without getting back on the plane...

                    1. re: Joe Blowe

                      Thanks Joe! ...this makes me dangerous now. :-)

                2. The best chocolates I've had anywhere are at Bernachon in Lyon, France. Other than their shop of cour Franklin Roosevelt, the only way to get some is by snail mail.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: ChefJune

                    Speaking of getting chocolates by mail, Pierre Marcolini has opened a shop in NYC (a couple of years ago now), and they will ship, I think.

                    1. re: LulusMom

                      http://pierremarcolini-na.com/

                      Online shopping for Pierre Marcolini.

                    2. re: ChefJune

                      I have to second Bernachon. It is second to none! I've been fortunate to have tried many of the others listed in this thread; and they are all very good if not excellent. But Brenachon will get my vote every time!!

                      http://meandmyfork.blogspot.com

                    3. Here's a great site where you can locate chocolate shops in any area of the world!
                      http://chocomap.com/index.php

                      1. I know this is too late for the original poster, but we brought back some incredible chocolates from Dumon in Brugges. Handmade, and absolutely delectable. Also, for all you chocoholic CHs, there is a chocolate museum in Brugges that's interesting for an hour or two, complete with demonstration and sample.