Mary Royale store (Mary.be)
List Words : Ellie Kinsella | 13 February

5 irresistible independent chocolate shops you must visit in Brussels

There’s no better way to sample Belgium than working up a taste-bud sensation in its chocolate-haven capital – all with good knowledge that your euros are funding local chocolatiers

1: Lawrence

Lawrence chocolate store, Brussels (Ellie Kinsella)

Lawrence chocolate store, Brussels (Ellie Kinsella)

Take a two-minute stroll up-street from the grandeur of Galeries St Hubert and you’ll discover the magic of Lawrence – where exotic flavours of the Middle East come wrapped in high quality Belgian chocolate.

The combination of freshly imported dates from palm groves across Jordan, Dubai and Saudi Arabia, with a drizzled coating of chocolate made from 100% pure cocoa butter guarantees a juicy mouth-watering sensation. But their floral-inspired confectionery speciality is second to none, as each piece is intricately filled with a pink-tinted mousse, smothered in melted dark chocolate, then topped with rose petal flakes to create an aromatic experience that leaves a lasting memory.

Now in its fourth year since opening, the store remains one of a kind and its golden Arabic-inspired exterior continues to lure customers its way.

“Our pralines symbolize the perfect fusion of Western culture, chocolate and a traditional expression of oriental hospitality, the date,” says their website. We can only agree.

For more information visit: lawrencedattes.com

2: Elisabeth

Elisabeth store in Brussels (Dreamstime)

Elisabeth store in Brussels (Dreamstime)

From same-day whipped meringues and caramelised almond biscuits, to melt-in-the-mouth truffles and fluffy marshmallow cakes. Elisabeth and her expert team of four professional pâtissiers and chocolatiers have a treat readily prepared for all, no matter your sweet-tooth tolerance.

With all five stores centrally dotted around or a short walk from the Grand Place, navigating to Elisabeth couldn’t be easier while taking a trip to the capital. As for spotting Elisabeth herself, well she’s busy scouting Belgian delicacies from local artisans to adapt and add to the menu.

Be sure to pop in store – even if it’s just to try one of their warm crispy butter waffles!

For more information visit: elisabeth.be

3: Mary

Mary store (Mary.be)

Mary store (Mary.be)

What started as a personal affection for chocolate in 1919 soon escalated into a life-long confectionery affair, after Mary Delluc shared her creations with the nation. Her first shop was tactically opened on Rue Royale street, where the king and aristocrats would frequently be spotted – some of whom made it into her guestbook listing customer’s favourite delicacies.

Catch a glimpse of the jar filled with sugar-coated jewels and you’ll find it hard to resist one of the fruit gelatine sweets that are made with juices from the real thing – imagine a first class version of a Fruit Pastille. Alternatively, dig in to one of Mary’s ‘ballotin de pralines’ - a delicate assortment of chocolate pralines and inscribed with Mary’s signature.

Try out more personalised recipes at one of six Mary stores in Brussels and get a taste of what it takes to maintain the prestigious title of Belgium Royal Warrant Holder to this very day.

For more information visit: mary.be/en

4: La Belgique Gourmande

La Belgique Gourmande Brussels store (Ellie Kinsella)

La Belgique Gourmande Brussels store (Ellie Kinsella)

In need of a chocolate fix? Take a pick from a selection of convincing cocoa-dusted hammers, spanners, nuts and bolts that mimic the findings of a handy-man’s rustic toolkit.

This gourmet establishment is dedicated to producing the finest specialities, from the classic Belgian waffle and mouth-watering macaroons, to caramel-coated almonds and powdered truffles. If you find yourself in need of soothing your sweet tooth, take a pick from one of 250+ types of bottled beer, selecting one to accompany your choice of chocolate delicacy.

The only way to top off the experience is with a personalised hand-crafted vintage box that makes the perfect keepsake for your favourite chocolate pearls.

For more information visit: labelgiquegourmande.be

5: Bruyerre

Rue au beurre Bruyerre store (Bruyerre)

Rue au beurre Bruyerre store (Bruyerre)

This native-Belgian chocolatier has flourished since its opening in 1909 and continues to spread its affection for cocoa confectionery to 38 countries around the world. Bruyerre prides itself on a three-month shelf life for open display chocolates to ensure optimum freshness, as well as crafting palm oil-free pralines – encouraging goodness for both you and the environment.

If the bookshelves of ribbon-decorated boxes weren’t appealing enough, then the rainbow of individually crafted treats kept under glass at the payment desk will tease up an appetite. Take a bite into one of their best-selling hazelnut pralines that are hand-piped into a cone formation. If you’re not feeling too nutty, take a pick from their milk chocolate pearl filled with white ganache and lemon, or a fresh butter cream champagne truffle.

For more information visit: bruyerre.eu/en/bruyerre