Do you love or even adore chocolate? Then you’re in luck, as Brussels is also the capital of chocolate. Specialist boutiques are not the only places where you can discover the delights of chocolate in the city. The Belgian capital also hosts museums, workshops, events and even gastronomic walking tours. Amateurs and enthusiasts will be blown away by everything that Brussels has to offer. Explore the history of chocolate, try your hand at making it, discover its many shapes and forms, and, of course, treat yourself to some! So, find out everything the capital has in store for you, so you can set off on an adventure to learn all about this brown gold, and experience some unadulterated gourmet pleasure.
© The Belgian Chocolate Makers SRL
A little history: when the cocoa bean was transformed into a praline
Brussels’ love affair with chocolate began at the beginning of the century. Pharmacist Jean Neuhaus came up with the idea of covering medicine in chocolate in order to disguise its unpleasant taste. In 1912, he replaced medicine with fresh cream, and the praline was born! In order to protect them, his wife created a carton box, just like a jewellery box, and called it the “ballotin”. One hundred years later, a ballotin of chocolate pralines is still the favourite gift from Brussels, both to give and to receive.
Learn more about cocoa and its history at Brussels' museums of chocolate. The Belgian Chocolate Village is located in the old Victoria biscuit and chocolate factory, just a few steps from the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in Koekelberg. Along an interactive trail, the museum tells you the history of chocolate and reveals the secrets of its production. Its exhibitions include sculptures made by chocolatiers and a tropical greenhouse where the cocoa trees and exotic essences, used in flavouring the chocolates, are grown. Close to the Grand-Place, Choco-Story Brussels offers you the chance to watch a demonstration of how chocolates are made, given by the museum’s very own chocolatier.
© Belgian Chocolate Village
Workshops: make some creations of your own
Try your hand at being a master chocolatier in the many workshops that offer you the opportunity to make your own chocolates. Planète Chocolat gives you the chance to put yourself in the shoes of a chocolatier and learn how to make this famous delicacy in the very heart of its workshop. Laurent Gerbaud is another specialist who teaches you how to create your own “mendiants” (small pieces of chocolate with pieces of dried fruit and nuts) and tells you more about different varieties of cocoa during a tasting of ten chocolates. The workshop ends with another tasting, this time of the master craftsman’s collection. They also organise chocolate workshops with beer and wine pairing. Reserve directly with the chocolatier or consult Itinéraires.
Belgian Chocolate Workshop also teaches you to make your own pralines and mendiants. What's more, this activity is also perfect for vegetarians as you will be able to make vegan or lactose-free chocolates simply by asking at the start of the workshop. It also includes the sampling of a home-made hot chocolate.
At Choco-Story Brussels, you can make mendiants, lollies, a personalised chocolate bar and other chocolate specialities. A tasting and museum visit are included in the workshop. If you come in a group, you can learn about, among other things, how to make pralines during a workshop. At the Belgian Chocolate Village, Brussels’ other museum dedicated to chocolate, why not combine your visit with a group workshop for six to twelve people. Make your own mendiants and pralines in teams, with family or friends, guided by the museum's artisan chocolatiers.
As for Concept Chocolate, they offer two distinct workshops: one where you can learn how to make your own chocolate bars and mendiants and another giving you an initiation in the food-pairing of chocolate and Belgian beers.
Finally, The Belgian Chocolate Makers organise workshops every day of the week, during which you can make your own chocolates to take home: mendiants, truffles, lollipops, etc.
© Laurent Gerbaud
Guided visits: gastronomic walking tours
To find out everything about Belgian chocolate, join a guided tour t-which takes you to the famous chocolatiers responsible for Brussels' reputation, both nationally and internationally. The guides will share their passion for chocolate with you along with the history of this little brown bean. These gastronomic tours will make your mouth water as you look in the attractive shop windows and glass cabinets and will give you the chance to taste different chocolate specialities: treat yourself to the manons, truffles, mendiants, orangettes and other treats that you’ll find in the many boutiques.
Thanks to Bravo Discovery, you can discover the historic centre of the capital through a chocolate tasting. For a 100% gastronomic visit, take part in the tasting tour, in the heart of the city, which takes you to meet the great chocolatiers. You will taste their creations and learn the history of the little bean, from its discovery in Latin America to its transformation into the Belgian praline. You can also opt for a private visit, which is a customised tasting tour.
Groovy Brussels also takes you off to discover chocolate and its history with a guided tour of top chocolatiers: visit the boutiques and taste the delicious chocolates, but also admire the galleries, shop windows and glass cabinets, the monuments and other must-see spots in the capital.
Legends of Brussels guides you through the streets of Brussels to discover their secrets: for two and a half hours, your enthusiastic guide, Sancar, will teach you all about the city, show you its buildings and heritage, and, of course, let you taste some chocolates!
Guides Brussels Belgium invites you on a tour through the historic centre of the capital to discover its delicious, sweet specialities. For three hours, enjoy a guided tour through the streets of Brussels to discover, among other things, the chocolatiers and the history of the little bean in Belgium. A gastronomic visit that will teach you more about the delicacies from Brussels. A treat both for your eyes and your tastebuds.
During these visits and tasting sessions, the guides will tell you about how to pair chocolate with beer and other culinary specialities from Belgium or Brussels. Hungry Mary will take you to discover some incredible places in the capital along with its gastronomy: between sampling chocolates and beer, admire the Grand-Place, and round it all off with some chips. All in all, you’ll sample more than twenty culinary specialities. Spend a day discovering and tasting the essence of Brussels.
© Bravo Discovery
At the hotel
Hôtel Amigo, located in the heart of Brussels, offers you a chocolatey stay in the capital. Besides accommodation and breakfast, the hotel will treat you to a “chocolatey treat” in your room and take you to meet Laurent Gerbaud, a famous chocolatier with an international reputation. Just 10-minutes’ walk from the hotel, the master artisan himself will show you his workshop and teach you how to make your own chocolate. A unique experience to be savoured!
If you love chocolate, don’t miss the Salon du Chocolat. It’s held every year at Tour & Taxis and is a real treat: demonstrations, tastings, workshops, conferences, sculpture exhibitions and other works made of chocolate, not forgetting the famous catwalk of chocolate dresses. Make the most of the many experiences to learn more and savour this gastronomic delight.
© Salon du Chocolat
At the end of your stay in the capital of chocolate, you’ll probably be keen to take some home. Discover our selection of chocolatiers here.