My wife loves to receive a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day. But if you are in Belgium, why not make it a lot of boxes? Brussels is a crispy city filled with dozens of delicious chocolatiers.
Start your morning with a beautiful view of Brussels (You can also take this route the other way round, to end your tour with a view of Brussels at sundown) at the Place Poelaert next to the Brussels Palais de Justice (Tram stop Poelaert or a short walk from Louiza Metro station). Take a moment to enjoy the view, snap some pictures of you and your loved one, plenty of good photo opportunities here and take the time to express your love (public displays of affection are ok in Belgium!).
From here walk down the Rue Ernest Allard to the Place Sablon, along the way you will see several antiques shops and art galleries, maybe you can find a little present? On the Place Sablon you will see a variety of chocolateries. Wittamer was originally known as one of the best patissiers in Brussels, but has opened up a chocolate shop right next door. Patrick Roger is a French chocolate maker, but he has Belgian flair when it comes to his chocolates. Pierre Marcolini is known for his modern take on pralines and has been most successful in commercialising his pralines. You will see a few other shops, like Godiva and Neuhaus, these are amongst the best known brands in Belgian chocolates but not our favourites.
Continue down along Rue Lebeau, one notable gallery is the Collectors Gallery, that sells vintage jewellery (time to listen to your wife’s subtle comments). On the intersection between Rue de Lombard and Rue de l’Etuve you can go to the left to visit the Manneken Pis, but lets concentrate on the chocolate here! You will see Mary chocolatier, for the lovers of the classic Belgian praline and a bit farther on the Rue du Lombard is Planète Chocolat, you can visit the atelier and taste some samples.
Now head on to the Grand Place via the Rue de l’Etuve. The monument of the dying Everard t’Serclaes is a mandatory stop for any couple, as rubbing his right arm will grant a years worth of happiness in love. The most romantic moment for photos on the Grand Place is the dark, but the gild houses are impressive even during the day. Take the small street on the upper right corner of the Grand Place.
You will arrive at the beautiful and classic Galeries Royales St Hubert. Here you can find La Belgique Gourmande, that offers a wide selection of sugary treats and Delvaux, a Belgian brand of luxury handbags, so maybe it’s best not to enter :-). Continue up to the Mont des Arts, take a romantic stroll in this park, where you can sit on a bench and taste some of the chocolates you probably already bought. Up the steps on the left and through the tunnel, you will find one of Brussels best kept secrets, Laurent Gerbaud, an artisan chocolat with a unique approach who uses chocolate especially designed for him. Appreciate all the flavours in his exquisite chocolate and carefully choose the combination that suits you (or even better, your partner).
After all this walking around and tasting chocolate, you are probably in need of a drink, for this head on up to the Musical Instruments Museum with its beautiful Art Nouveau facade. The restaurant on top of the museum has an amazing view of the city. Try one of our specialty beers or have a crêpe with Nutella. From here you are right next to the Magritte Museum or the Royal Museum of Fine Arts. If you need some tourist information head over to the BIP, the Brussels Information Point.
This tour is of course not a complete list of the chocolate experience of Brussels, so here is a list of some of the must-sees that are not included:
- Frederic Blondeel, an expert chocolatier experimenting with all kinds of tastes.
- Mary, an institution in Belgian Chocolates, have their atelier in Etterbeek, that you can visit.
- Zaäbar offers workshops on wednesday and saturday where you can learn how to make your own chocolates, lots of fun.
- ROB, a high-end supermarket, is the only place that stocks the chocolates of Benoît Nihant. They are made from traceable varieties and are one of the most exclusive you can find. ROB also has a selection of the best chocolates
- Yasushi Sasaki is a Japanese patissier (I know!) who has brought Japanese mastery to the Belgian chocolates.
Enjoy your Valentine’s Day and don’t exaggerate on the chocolates!
If you are still hungry and want to go out for dinner, check out our list of restaurants in Brussels.