‘Belgian Chocolate: The best chocolate shops in Bruges’ article was first published on Culture Tourist on September 20th 2016, and updated on March 15th 2022.
Recently, I made a new rule while travelling – I am buying only edible souvenirs. So, you can imagine that now, going to Belgium for me, is a little holiday itself. Each time, I’m back with a bag full of Belgian chocolates (and a few more jogging mornings scheduled in my agenda). In this post, I compiled a short list of the best chocolate shops in Bruges, that will help you find the best Belgian chocolate shops in that charming Flemish town.
How it all started – History of Belgian chocolate
A tradition of making chocolate is quite long in Belgium, and it goes back to the 17th century. This is the time when Spanish brought that fine ingredient from Central America to Europe. It was traditionally used by Aztecs and Mayas, who called it a drink from the gods. Since Belgium was at that time a part of the Spanish Kingdom, the ingredient was introduced largely there, as well.
Already during the 18th century hot chocolate drinking became extremely popular among the upper class members and in courts around Europe (especially in France and Austria). However, larger production of it and the stricter regulations took place a century later. This was also when chocolate become affordable to everyone. Producers started experimenting with different flavours and shapes, which at the end led to making probably the finest products in the chocolate industry – pralines.
Belgian chocolate shops in Bruges
Today, there are more than 2000 chocolatiers in Belgium. There is a huge tradition of making the chocolates in the country. You can feel it very well when visiting one of many Belgian chocolate shops. They are home to a nice historical environment, beautifully packed pralines and many differently flavoured chocolate bars. Together with that sweet smell spreading from them, you’ll immediately start craving for something sweet.
Since I am in Belgium quite often, I started to explore more of the Belgian chocolate making tradition. And did quite some tasting. You will find many small stores around its cities, with numerous combinations of shapes, colours, fillings and flavours.
It would be a shame not to include them during your visit to Bruges, so here are some of the best chocolate shops in Bruges.
Choco Story – Chocolate museum in Bruges
The best place to start your visit and learn some fun facts about this confection is in a museum dedicated to chocolate itself. It’s located just around the corner of the main square in Bruges – Grote Markt. You will see how Mayas and Aztecs first started to make hot chocolate, how this sweet came to Europe and become a drink of kings, queens and court ladies. It is interesting to discover differences between some types of chocolates. And learn more about some special ingredients they are putting into them. The museum organises demonstrations during which you can see how the chocolate bars and pralines are being produced.
You’ll get a chocolate bar with your entrance ticket. However, if that isn’t enough for you, there is a wide selection of different kinds of chocolates in a museum shop, as well.
The best chocolate shops in Bruges
The Chocolate Line
The Chocolate Line is one of these places that are becoming hot spots soon after they’re opened. It is worth just visiting the store, to see its interior, design and a way they are interpreting chocolate in popular culture. If I had to describe it in the art terms, The Chocolate Line would be a Pop Art of the chocolate world.
However, their chocolates are even more amazing. They are experimenting with all the different flavours, from bacon and onion to a sake. You’ll find the chocolate pralines in all the different kinds of shapes; from they skulls to swans and covered by cartoon-like prints. The Chocolate Line is absolutely a must-see place in Bruges.
Dumon is a stylish Belgian chocolate shop with numerous chocolate bars and pralines to chose from. All of their products are nicely packed and decorated with blue ribbons, making them a perfect present from Belgium. Founded in 1992, it is still very much family owned, although the company grew massively from its beginnings.
There are few Dumon stores in Bruges, so it’s easy to find them and enjoy in high quality and stylish chocolates.
Jean Galler, the founder of this chocolaterie, was a member of the family of gourmets, so his path in the chocolate world was very much predicted from the very beginning. Galler chocolatier has a long tradition. It was the first company to create dark chocolate enriched with 70% cocoa, as well as being precursors in white chocolate of high quality (definitely, my favourite). You can choose from many different flavours and find the one perfect for you in their store located at the Grote Markt in Bruges.
Bruges, as the rest of Belgium, is home to so many fantastic chocolate producers, and accordingly chocolate shops. Be sure to visit some mentioned in this article to get the best chocolates Belgium has to offer.
What are your favourite chocolate shops in Bruges? What is your favourite Belgian chocolate? Let us know in the comments below.
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