As the capital of chocolate of Europe (and maybe the world?), Brussels is full of incredible chocolate shops owned by renowned chocolatiers. In fact, Brussels has more chocolate factories than any other city on earth. Chocolate tasting is one of the top reasons why people travel to Brussels, and there is even a special neighborhood dedicated to it – Le Sabon.
Needless to say, if you’re planning a trip to Belgium, then tasting the best Belgian chocolate needs to be on top of your to-do list. With Belgium’s history and tradition of chocolate making, there’s no better place to eat, buy and gorge out on all things chocolate. With so many options to choose from, figuring out the mind-blowing from the mediocre can be a challenge. How do you decide where to go?
As the discerning foodie that I am, I have sampled my fair share of chocolate shops in Brussels during my many trips there. And I am here to spill the tea! Ranging from the historical and traditional all the way to the contemporary and creative, this blog post will highlight the top 6 chocolate shops in Brussels. I will help you avoid the common tourist traps and chocolate fountains in the city center, opting instead for award-winning and creative chocolate shops around Brussels.
Where to Find the Very Best Chocolate in Brussels
Why is Belgian Chocolate So Famous?
Belgium has a long history of chocolate production that dates back to – you guessed it – colonialism. After the Scramble for Africa in the 1880s, Belgium brutally colonized the Congo and began fiercely extracting resources from the African continent, including cocoa. As an emerging global commodity, Belgium got a head start on chocolate production during this time period, and pretty much never looked back. Pralines and chocolate bars were invented around the turn of the century, firmly establishing Belgian dominance over the chocolate industry.
Nowadays, it is a perpetual argument between Switzerland and Belgium over who makes the best chocolate in Europe; but to many, Belgium is the winner. It’s not only the deep knowledge and tradition that set Belgian chocolate apart. It is also the high-quality sourcing, continual refinement of processes, and experimentation with unique ingredients and recipes. Belgian chocolatiers are on the cutting edge of pastry and chocolate cuisine, and you can expect to discover some amazing chocolate while traveling in Brussels.
The 6 Best Chocolate Shops in Brussels
Located in the upscale Sablon neighborhood along Place du Grand Sablon, Wittamer has been offering chocolates to the patrons of Brussels since 1910. They’ve developed a global reputation over the years for being one of the best chocolatiers in Belgium. You can expect to see tourist crowds here. Thankfully, the creations live up to the hype. I loved the lightning bolt-shaped case running down the center of the shop, full with 3 dozen different flavors of bonbons. Famous options included their Sumo ganache, Tarragona praline, marrons glacés and Chocolate-dipped candied nuts.
- Location: Pl. du Grand Sablon 12
- Hours: Daily from 7:30 – 18:30
- Website: https://wittamer.com/
Founded by Mary Delluc in 1919, Mary is one of the most famous chocolate shops in Brussels. Not in small part due to its amazing (and luxurious) location directly on the Grand Palace square. As you enter the small shop, you will feel an air of sophistication. From the art deco branding and vintage style packaging, to the gold wallpaper and well-dressed employees, this place feels like old world luxury. But it isn’t just marketing that Mary is good at. The chocolate is crafted with the highest quality ingredients all the way down to the raw cocoa. Their truffles are hand-rolled and the array of different pralines are especially noteworthy – they were my favorite in all of Belgium!
- Location: Grand Place 23
- Hours: Daily from 10:00 – 20:00
- Website: https://www.mary.be/en/home
Located inside the beautiful glass-roofed Royal Gallery of Saint Hubert, Pierre Marcolini is perhaps the greatest chocolatier in Belgium. His chocolate and sweet creations have won multiple awards around the world, and he was named Best Pastry Chef in the World in 2020. What really sets his chocolate apart is the sustainable sourcing and mastery of step-by-step production. He is the only Brussels chocolatier who selects the unprocessed cocoa beans personally and roasts them himself. He also uses top-quality ingredients like pink berries from Morocco, pistachios from Iran, Sichuan pepper and Sicilian lemon.
The results are out of this world. As you walk into the shop, it feels like you’ve stepped into a designer boutique. You’re surrounded by glass counters that look like they belong in a jewelry shop, filled with rows upon rows of perfectly formed and colorful truffles, bonbons and bars. They look like little gemstones, so the entire aesthetic of the shop is quite fitting. Due to the high prices, you’ll want to be selective with what you get here. Ask the knowledgeable staff for assistance. They are likely to suggest different flavors individually selected to be perfect for your palette and preferences.
- Location: Several, I went to Galerie de la Reine 21
- Hours: Daily from 10:00 – 20:00
- Website: https://eu.marcolini.com/en/
Atelier Sainte Catherine
Set slightly further away from the well-known spots near the Grand Palace Square and Place du Grand Sablon, Atelier Sainte Catherine is a bit of a hidden gem. Their contemporary style shop serves as the perfect backdrop for their modern approach to chocolate production. It is one of the few Brussels chocolate shops which makes their own bean-to-bar chocolate, and offers a number of single origin chocolate bar varieties. Not only do they sell their own creations, they also stock famous local chocolatier Frédéric Blondeel’s entire collection. You can hit two bars with one shop, metaphorically speaking.
- Location: Quai aux Briques 36
- Hours: Daily 11:00 – 18:00
- Website: https://ateliersaintecatherine.be/
Offering an unpretentious shopping experience, Elisabeth has a homey and cozy feeling about it. I just liked being in their shop, and it is a good place to come if you’re easily overwhelmed or indecisive. When you walk in, one of the friendly employees will immediately offer you a piece of chocolate to try, often a full bonbon.
Small, artisanal and mostly handmade, Elisabeth has a wonderful selection of high-quality chocolate. Their products are inspired by Belgian culinary traditions, often combining different dishes into one creation. For example, their Speculoos bonbon or waffle pralines are great choices. Elisabeth isn’t just a chocolatier, however. You’ll find a range of sweets like biscuits, waffles, nuts, candy,and nougat.
- Location: Rue de l’Etuve 55
- Hours: Daily from 10:00 – 18:00
- Website: http://www.elisabeth.be/
Getting sick of dark chocolate yet? Then Galler Chocolate Shop is an excellent choice, because they specialize in white chocolate. And not just any white chocolate. Known for his stunning flavor combinations, Jean Galler has developed a reputation as one of the most creative minds in the Brussels chocolate world. Famous creations include white chocolate with marzipan and pistachio, raspberry truffles, and orange pralines filled with almond paste. The brightly colored shop just off the Grand Palace square draws you in immediately. It feels like stepping into a pop art painting! If you want a break from chocolate, they also serve a rainbow assortment of macarons as well.
- Location: Rue au Beurre 44
- Hours: Daily from 11:00 – 19:00
- Website: https://www.galler.com/en