I'm pretty sure that Belgium is heaven on earth for chocolate lovers. Of course Belgian chocolate is world-famous but, like many things, I wondered if it could possibly be worth all the hype. For me, it was worth all of it and more!
We woke up on Saturday morning in Brussels with a single mission- to hit the chocolatiers with force. There are four top makers- Leonidas, Neuhaus, Galler and Godiva, not to mention countless small but equally delightful shops. It felt like Starbucks in any American city- you can't go more than a couple blocks without finding another chocolate shop.
The experience begins at the shop window where, at this time of year, there are elaborate Easter displays- giant chocolate eggs, fanciful bunnies, little chicks. They have made it an art form and each shop has a little different approach- some with a modern edge, some with very traditional motifs, some geared to children and whimsy, some very sophisticated. And when you walk in the door you could almost drown in the scent of chocolate as you gaze at mounds of truffles and pralines and confections stretching for several feet of counter space. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate, white chocolate-ahhhhhhhh! And everything with some divine filling inside- raspberry creme, mocha, coconut, ganache- it just went on and on.
Over the course of five days in Belgium I must have been in a dozen or more chocolate shops and never got tired of the whole sensory experience- a feast for the eyes, the nose and most importantly, the mouth!