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I originally started researching Brussels chocolate tours after I booked my waffle workshop and thought to myself “hey, why not take a chocolate tour too?”. The answer, I quickly found out, to “why not take a chocolate tour” is that they are expensive. Like, €30+ expensive. And unlike the waffle workshop that I took, there wasn’t unlimited chocolate on these tours. In fact, according to some of the reviews the sample opportunities were pretty limited. So I adopted a “fuck it, I’ll do it myself” attitude and DIY-ed my own dang Brussels chocolate tour. And it was awesome.
Such is the mind of a girl who is decided to travel Belgium on a budget.
I started my morning off with a trip to the Grand Place, which is just kind of where you end up ALL THE TIME when you’re in Brussels.
My first real destination of the day was just off the Grand Place, however…
Brussels Museum of Cacao and Chocolate
That’s right friends. An ENTIRE MUSEUM. Dedicated to CHOCOLATE. I think I was in heaven the second I walked through those doors.
Sure, it was a bit of a tourist trap, but I got to learn all sorts of fun stuff about the history of chocolate and how it’s made. Oh, and there were samples. Loads and loads of samples. #score
The real highlight of the tour, however, was the praline making demonstration.
There were only a small number of people in the museum at the same time as me, and all eight or so of us eagerly gathered in the workshop when the time came. The man making the chocolate spoke barely any English, but he had been making chocolate his entire life, so just watching how easily and gracefully he went about things was a treat in and of itself.
And at the end? More samples!
The Chocolate Shops of Brussels
Not gonna lie, I had already visited a few chocolate shops before I went on my self-guided tour of them. Any time I saw one that looked enticing on my trip, I popped in. And more often than not, I left with another little box of chocolate. But I was going to be damned if I didn’t actually concentrate on visiting some of the best chocolate shops that Brussels had to offer. So, off I went.
My first stop was Mary Chocolatier, purveyor of fine chocolates. I’m pretty sure my eyes glazed over when I entered this shop. All of the little chocolates, perfectly alined in their display, and all so beautiful and delicious looking. I had so much trouble deciding on just a few pieces (I had decided to limit myself to just a few pieces from each shop, since there was no way I had the room in my bag or my budget to go crazy in each one), but in the end I was very happy with my decision.
I couldn’t actually tell you what I bought, though, as I didn’t have the common sense to write down what each of the chocolates were before I ate them. Easily one of my bigger blogger fails, I know.
My next stop was only a little ways down the street from Mary Chcolatier – Planete Chocolat. This one was a little bit less classy than the store I had just been in, but it was chocolate all the same, wasn’t it? There was also less of a selection of loose pralines and more gift boxes, so I had an easier time choosing my designated three pieces.
What made this store a highlight, though, was the incredibly friendly shop assistant. We had a great little conversation while he was checking me out, and once I had paid he kindly let me know that there was actually a window to their workshop at the back of the store where you could watch them making the chocolate! How cool is that? Unfortunately, there was no one there when I went to look, but I thought I’d share that little tidbit for if you ever make it there yourself!
Chocolaterie Manneken Pis
I was a little wary of visiting this chocolate shop because it was literally right next to the famous Manneken Pis and therefore in prime tourist trap area. But the GPS My City guide that I based my own walking tour off of had suggested it, so I went anyway.
I didn’t actually buy anything is this store, because there weren’t any pick-your-own options, so I would have been forced to buy a big box. But, if you’re looking for novelty Manneken Pis-shaped chocolates then this is definitely the place to go! If not, though, you’re probably not missing much by skipping it.
Okay, so this stop was less chocolate based than the others, but I couldn’t help stopping in after my instructor at the Brussels Waffle Workshop recommended it as the best place to try the traditional Belgian speculoos cookie. The store was super cute and the employees there were so nice. I bought a little bunch of speculoos cookies to take on the road with me, and set off in search of more chocolate!
You can find Neuhaus chocolate all over the place in Belgium, but I wanted to go to the place where it all started: their original store in the Galeries-Royales St. Hubert. This place was probably the highlight of my Brussels chocolate tour, because the guy at the counter was just so much fun. He also told me and the other couple in the store all about how they make ALL of their chocolate (that they ship all over the world) just outside of Brussels, so Brussels really is the best place to buy it.
I bought four pieces of chocolate from here (a big splurge, I know), and they were all delicious.
Also located in the Galeries-Royales St. Hubert is Leonidas, another famous Belgian chocolatier. Compared to the liveliness of the employee at Neuhaus, this place was just a little bit eerie – especially because I was the only one in the store. Bad luck, I guess.
Leonidas was also the cheapest place I stopped for chocolate along the way. I think I only spent a little more than €1 on three pieces of chocolate, which was a serious deal. I should have bought more from there because, like all Belgian chocolate, it was delicious! (Am I sounding repetitive yet?)
How to Take Your Own Brussels Chocolate Tour
You can, of course, take a guided tour of Brussels chocolate shops. But I don’t think I missed much by doing it by myself – and it was definitely cheaper that way! Sure, you might learn some cool facts about chocolate, but I thought I learned plenty at the museum that I visited at the beginning of the day.
Start your day off at the Museum of Cacao and Chocolate, and once you’ve learned all you can stand about chocolate, head off in search of some! Follow this map to make it to all of the places that I stopped:
I hope you have so much fun on your very own Brussels chocolate tour!