This story was written after my chocolate trail during my last month in a place I called home for almost 4 years.
Thus, it was my way of honoring Brussels, my adoptive city.
Bruxelles is for me the city of chocolate, Art Nouveau, European Institutions, smurfs and bande dessinée. I will cover for now only chocolate. It will be the pricey one because in Belgium quality comes with a (high) price.
My French teacher always told us in class (with a tad bit of sarcasm) that Belgium is the land of surrealism:
La Belgique c’est le pays du surréalisme.
Oui mais … non, Belgium is surreal and witty, as Magritte’s art, but we have to agree that Belgium is the land of chocolate. Am I right, right?
Nevertheless, in Brussels, I attended running marathons and one architecture marathon during the Biennale of Art Nouveau and Art Deco, basically Victor Horta. The most delicious was the chocolate one.
First stop – Grand Place
Grand Place is THE square and is a heaven for chocolate lovers, with many chocolate shops per square meter.
Alors, I started my chocolaty marathon in here and then went to my favorite gallery, the Royal Gallery. Next, I went to Place Saint Catherine and ended up in beautiful Place du Grand Sablon.
Last stop – Mont des Arts or Kunstberg (in Flemish, the other language of the country).
Second stop – Royal Galleries
Neuhaus aka inventor of the praline! Yes, Charles Neuhaus was a pharmacist, and in 1912 he invented the praline.
Neuhaus – eat pralines and call it a day.
The original shop is the most beautiful and is located inside the Royal Galleries. The store made me think of Juliette Binoche on the movie set of “Chocolat.”
As an architecture lover, this shop is one of those unique Art Nouveau sites you must see. Plus, walking in the Galleries along the arcades in the evening is pure joy!
Fun facts – The original shop is the old pharmacy of Neuhaus where he was working and perhaps created the praline. The sales persons were happy when they realized I knew this piece of information.
Moreover, his wife invented the chocolate boxes we use today, which she names “ballotins.” One creative couple.
Address: Grand Place 27, 1000 Bruxelles and Galerie du Roi 5, 1000 Bruxelles
To be continued. To much chocolate information for a day 🙂