It’s the Game of Chocolate Thrones. Which European chocolate is best – Belgian or Swiss? In this two-part travel series, Akanksha Holani tells you all things dark and desirable when it comes to shopping for some of the best chocolates in the world.
They say that if you have been to Brussels and haven’t had Belgian waffles, it’s a sin. However, Belgium’s hot waffles find competition in an equally popular Belgian delight – dark chocolate! Be it the Palais Royal or the landmark Mannekin Pis, you will find a shop in each corner of Brussels, dedicated solely to freshly made chocolates.
Neuhaus: By popular choice
The most chocolate stores that tourists flock to are Neuhaus, a very famous Belgian chocolate chain. Neuhaus claims to have invented eccentric chocolates. Mixing spice, strawberry jam, cinnamon, coffee beans and what-not into a tiny cube which is otherwise pure chocolate, is the Neuhaus forte. But remember, this is where tourists flock. Local Belgians always know better.
Dominique Persoone: By local recommendation
The Belgian sweet tooth is no news. Dominique Persoone’s The Chocolate Line in Bruges is the place of chocolate worship for native Belgians.
The Belgian love for chocolate reaches far beyond famous brands. And further from just Brussels. I’m talking Ghent, Antwerp and Bruges. Yes, choco-philes, Bruges is your mecca in Belgium!
I was out on a rainy day with a bruised knee. I thought it couldn’t get worse. It did get better. A kind lady wrote down this name on a yellow paper: “Dominique Persoone”. ‘Limping on a rainy day?’, she said. ‘Well, if it helps, go to this guy, five blocks down! Name of his patisserie is The Chocolate Line. You will be better after this, girl’. Such sweet foresight!
Walk The Chocolate Line
Dominique Persoone has been the country’s best chocolatier for four consecutive years! As you enter his patisserie, you read a sign – Follow your dreams; especially if they are made of sweet things. Well, this man sure did. You look around and find yourself in a dreamy shop, with chocolates in all shapes and sizes.
No, seriously this place has a life-size truck made entirely of chocolates. Next to this drool-worthy road monster is the kitchen with huge machines crushing cocoa from Jamaica, Brazil and Argentina. You can navigate this cocoa haven best with their free samplers.
One chocolate down and you know you are taking the shop home! The smoothest cocoa-rich cubes you have ever had the pleasure of eating – right here! So smooth, you feel each atom of that cube melting in your mouth. You would be sorry to have bought just 3 kilos. You are lighter by 100 Euro but it’s so worth it.
The best chocolate shopping in Europe obviously has another contender. The Bollywood favourite – Switzerland.
Brace your taste buds, things are getting slurpy, sinful and competitive in my next story. You’ll find out who wins the coveted cocoa throne – Belgium or Switzerland!
– By Akanksha Holani