Photo by Greg Balfour Evans
“Even if you came here with no intention at all to buy chocolate, it would beat you into submission,” says an Englishwoman sitting near me at breakfast.
I am not sure if that is a complaint or a justification for succumbing to the temptation of a near-endless array of chocolate shops. But welcome to Bruges, where tourists are spoilt for sweet choice on every corner.
My breakfast chocolate comes as a tall cup of hot milk with a small dish of thick chocolate sauce that I can spoon in to taste. Plus a large dollop of cream to help ease the whole thing through my arteries. It’s a decadent feeling to keep adding chocolate until well past what’s needed, but it seems equally sinful to leave any behind. Hot chocolate for breakfast turns out to be a habit I could get used to.
Bruges’ passion for cocoa dates back to the late Middle Ages when the beans first arrived from the Americas. The city was then perhaps the richest in the world, having taken advantage of its position on the North Sea and near the Rhine – rivers being the motorways of the age – to establish extensive trading links throughout Europe and into Scandinavia. The resulting wealth left a rich legacy of architecture, churches and art treasures – and shops – that draws tourists to this day.
The many chocolate shops in Bruges – including such major names as The Chocolate Line on Simon Stevinplein and Dumon near Market Square – serve its visitors cocoa in a bewildering range of styles. It’s a tough job to search through them all to find the variations that best suit your taste but I’m sure, like me, you’re up to the challenge.
Earn money by using your travel knowledge to help your friends, family, and other travelers book the best hotels. Learn more about becoming a TRVL Agent!