One of the best reasons to visit Belgium is for its chocolate, which according to many connoisseurs is the best in the world. Once a treat for the rich, chocolate in Belgium has grown to become something that is now to be enjoyed by all. Wherever you go in Belgium, be it the capital city of Brussels or the small town of Bouillon, you are bound to find a chocolatier, or chocolate maker, close by. In fact, you’d be hard-pressed to find a city or town here without some sort of chocolate-based operation. Shops galore can be found in Belgium selling this savory delight, which is so good that you’ll have to keep reminding yourself to go slowly. Whatever you do in Belgium, be sure to try at least one praline during your trip. Pralines are divine little candies, and they consist of chocolate shells that are filled with either a nut or cream paste. A Belgian favorite since 1912, pralines are decadent indeed, and thankfully they are easy to find.
While you can duck into any number of chocolate shops for a quick fix during your Belgium vacation, such as the ones at the Grand Place in Brussels, you will also want to consider enjoying one or more Belgium chocolate tours. When visiting a Belgium chocolate factory, like Roose’s Chocolate World in Brugge, you’ll not only get to learn about the history of the company and how they make their chocolate, but you’ll also get to taste the final product, which is the main highlight. In addition to Belgian chocolate tours that are offered at a Belgium chocolate factory, you can also enjoy ones that are offered at a museum. The Museum of Cacao and Chocolate in Brussels is an ideal Belgium museum where chocolate is king. This museum is just a short walk from the central Grand Place and is a great place to learn about the complete history of chocolate. The delectable and addictive praline is also covered in the museum’s exhibits, and you’ll even have the chance to watch a master chocolatier put on an informative demonstration. Should your sweet tooth be hounding you during your visit to this museum, there is a small shop onsite where you can buy some tasty chocolate.
In the lovely Belgian city of Brugge, another excellent chocolate museum awaits those who are interested in Belgium chocolate tours. Choco-Story, as this museum is called, is found just a few blocks north of Burg Square in the heart of Brugge. You’ll learn all about the history of chocolate here as well, and just like at the Museum of Cacao and Chocolate, you can take in a chocolate-making demonstration. The free samples that are offered to visitors should be enough to tempt you to include the Chocolate Museum (Choco-Story) in your Brugge itinerary. As for Belgian chocolate tours at a Belgium chocolate factory, often times they are reserved for groups, who must make arrangements in advance. Such is the case at Le Chocolatier Manon in Brussels, for example, and the aforementioned Roose’s Chocolate World in Brugge. Other times, the Belgium chocolate factory that you visit is little more than a shop. That shop will have a kitchen of course, which is where its hard-to-resist treats are prepared.
One of the most renowned chocolate shops in all of Belgium is Dumon, which is found in Brugge. There are multiple reasons why Brugge is Belgium’s top tourist destination, and the Dumon chocolate shop is one of them. Another top Belgium chocolate producer is Godiva, which is also based in Brugge. For other top Belgian chocolate brands, Hans Burie, Guylian, Neuhaus, Galler, and the aforementioned Chocolatier Manon are all worth checking out. Of course, you really don’t have to stick to these names exclusively. The Belgian government regulates chocolate production, which means that finding a bad batch is pretty much impossible. Whether you enjoy Belgian chocolate tours at a Belgium chocolate factory, head to a Belgium chocolate museum, or simply opt to see what the individual Belgium chocolate shops have on hand, you’ll enjoy the experience. For those who are really serious about Belgian chocolate, extended Belgium chocolate tours that include a bunch of stops at museums, factories, and shops around the country are something to consider.