Belgium is best known for two things: beer and chocolate. We visited Bruges for Christmas and found that the city was definitely a mecca for those with a sweet tooth. Here are nine places that we tried and recommend for getting your chocolate fix on a Belgian Christmas holiday.
1. The Chocolate Line
The Chocolate Line is known for it's unorthodox mix of flavors (cannabis chocolate anyone?). We stuck with slightly more conservative flavors including Thai Lemongrass and cardamon.
Cafe Dumon is a handy spot to stop for a coffee and to admire the seasonal chocolates. The espresso comes with a small piece of chocolate but we chose to indulge with an additional praline.
Depla featured all sorts of decadent single-origin chocolate ganache. The truffles simply melted in our mouths.
Sukerbuyc is a bit of a fussier place (no photos allowed inside!) but totally worth visiting. You essentially suss out what you want in the window, go inside to get the manager's attention, and then go back outside to point to what you want. Cuberdon flavored swans were my favorite.
5. Dumon Take 2
We soon discovered that Dumon has multiple locations in Bruges. We went into their smaller outlet further from the centre of town. The counters were literally overflowing with chocolate and the Chocolat movie poster totally made me smile.
6. De Fruyt - Thys
De Fruyt - Thys is a local bakery and sweet shop not far from the canal that rings Bruges. A variety of mini-chocolate eclairs greeted us in addition to the usual selection of truffles.
7. Pur Chocolat
Pur Chocolat was located in a lovely white-washed step-gabled house. The proprietor was incredibly friendly and the shop was open past the advertised closing time. It's places like this that reinforce why Bruges as a whole is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
SIDEWALK SAFARI SPOTLIGHT: Interested in exploring some other great destinations in Belgium and discovering unique chocolates? Visit Antwerp for a day to grab some delicious chocolate chocolate hands. Antwerp is named for Brabo, a mythical Roman soldier that cut off the hand of a giant. Antwerp means 'throwing hands' and the local chocolate reflects this lore.
I like Tsiokoreeto because the shop was clearly catering to the Japanese tourists that frequent Bruges. One thing we learned when we studied Japanese in anticipation of our trip to Japan is that many Japanese words are taken from English and the Romanized spelling is typically derived from the English version but tweaked to make it easier for Japanese to pronounce: Tsiokoreeto = Chocolate
9. Representative Touristy Chocolate Shop
Bruges also featured a ton of chocolate shops with imaginative displays in the windows. They clearly target the tourists in town, tempting people to come inside and admire everyday things crafted from chocolate. I particularly liked this shop which featured Duvel beer turned chocolate. I have no idea what this place was called. It's simply representative of the many Belgian chocolate shops in Bruges with more mass appeal.