Filip Martin, where these Manneken Pis statues make up a window display, is only one of around 40 chocolate shops in the immediate area of the Grand Place. The reputation of Belgian chocolate is such that Brussels Airport is the world's largest retailer of chocolate.
Brussels – Been There

Where to get the best chocolate in Brussels

Photo by Eurasia Press

Brussels – Been There Where to get the best chocolate in Brussels

Alongside beer, chocolate is undoubtedly Brussels’s most famous product. Every year, Belgium produces 220,000 tons of it. Chocolatier Laurent Gerbaud tells me where to get the best Brussels chocolate.

Sergi Reboredo
Sergi Reboredo Travel Photographer

Alongside beer, chocolate is undoubtedly Brussels’s most famous product. Every year, Belgium produces 220,000 tons of it. Chocolatier Laurent Gerbaud tells me where to get the best Brussels chocolate.

Chocolatier Laurent is the grandson of a local baker and has studied in Shanghai but came back home to open one of the city’s leading chocolate shops. He offers me some good advice: “Eat it fresh, from a small chocolatier such as the ones around Place du Grand Sablon or, of course, just stop by my place opposite Bozar (the Palais des Beaux-Arts).”

I sit at the terrace table of one under an elegant awning in striking brown and fuchsia and watch the comings and goings as I enjoy a chocolate with orange peel. It strikes me that a good proportion of the people of Brussels seem to spend their day, dressed in rich jewelry and fur coats, wandering between tearooms, chocolatiers and luxury boutiques.

The wonderful flavor of the chocolate still on my lips, I walk a short distance up the street to Pierre Marcolini’s store. This Belgian chocolatier has become one of the best known in the world thanks to his tireless search for new flavors: sour, bitter, sweet and utterly delicious. He travels every year to remote places in search the best cocoa beans.

Judging by the prices, he can afford to travel First Class, but the store is not lacking customers. Passing over flavors such as blackcurrant, pepper and sandalwood, I leave with a bar of chocolate that mixes cocoa from Ecuador, Ghana and Mexico. Tasting it later, I am left with the feeling that chocolate is like wine: anyone can tell the difference between bad and good, but it takes an expert to distinguish the outstanding from the excellent.

“Just go to a supermarket and buy Cote d'Or,” says my friend Judith when I ask her which chocolate she prefers. “You don't have to go to a special chocolatier. Or try the tiny Carrefour in the Central Station, where you can buy Dolphin Chocolate – which is incredible.” It seems the rumor is true: everyone in Brussels has an opinion on chocolate.

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