Friday, January 7, 2011

Brussels Chocolate and Other Dessert Review

We're doing this by manufacturer/retailer.

Jean-Phillipe Darcis, 14 Petite Rue au Burre:

A cute little shop we stumbled by almost through accident. They do a very professional job, although I can't say their assortment is that far removed from their competitors.

La Cure Gourmand:

Off the Grand Place, La Cure Gourmand does not really sell much chocolate. They do cookies, hard candies, and chocolate novelties like their peanut M&M-style "chocolate olives," but for those looking for a Godiva-style seller of "pralines," this is not the right store.

However, what they do sell and we found delicious were their exotic caramels, including coffee and sesame flavors. They also sell really pretty tins, both with and without candy in them.

De Rose Damas, 19 Rue de Marche au Herbes:

This is a Middle Eastern confectioner, making both traditional baklava-style sweets and Belgian/Levantine "fusion" desserts. We got a small assortment from the shopkeep, and everything was sweet, crunchy, and wonderful, although we preferred the pistachio-filled crunchy pastries to the softer ones filled with fig paste.

Passion Chocolat:

A small store off the Place du Sablon, Passion Chocolat surprised us with its slightly different approach to truffle-like chocolates. Here, immersion in particular flavors seems to be the theme; there's a peanut-shaped truffle filled with peanut butter, a coffee-cup shaped truffle filled with coffee ganache, and a truffle with a coffee bean on top filled with a marzipan/coffee mix. Those, and the almond-crusted Grand Marnier ganache truffle, make it well worth your visit.


We probably don't need to review this, since you get a 25% off coupon in your Brussels Card guidebook, but it's a pretty decent store, if a teensy bit touristy, off the Grand Place. Unlike several of the touristy places off the Grand Place, it does make its own truffles, and none of them look like the Mannekin Pis (the little peeing boy fountain that Brussels is famous for; it's great that the city can laugh at itself, but I'm not sure that anyone really wants to eat a rainbow-colored assortment of chocolates in peeing boy shapes, as one shop sold). We ate a bag of caramel lace cookies dipped in chocolate that we got from Elizabeth, and they were pretty incredible; despite their odd cup-like shape, I would call them nearly the Platonic lace cookie; the lace cookie from which all other lace cookies should be measured. We haven't yet tried their spoons with chocolate to be dissolved in hot milk (some including alcohol), but we're looking forward to.

We also bought a bunch of things from Pierre Marcolini and Wittamer in the Place du Sablon, but we know both of those places are tasty, so you'll have to wait until we get home and eat them to learn about those.

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