There’s more than just a golden ticket up for grabs at Frederic Blondeel’s chocolate factory, which displays its edible gems all over the stone and marble countertop. After working in the coffee business for 20 years, Willy Wonka of the Low Lands decided to take on the world of chocolate, first at Wittamer and Marcolini, then in this classy bean-to-bar showroom on the other side of the Annie-Cordy Tunnel. Behind the windowed shopfront, carefully-chosen cocoa beans get roasted, crushed and spun, before making their way into crunchy truffles (brown sugar and milk, coconut and tonka bean…), delicate pralines (flavorful almonds, fleur de sel…), chic mendiants with Italian walnuts or, for purists, single origin 70%, 80% or even 100% chocolate bars! To go with all that? A rather chilly tearoom, where you can nonetheless savor a marvelous hot chocolate or a scoop of homemade ice cream. // Monica Noli
The hidden gem: The dark chocolate-hazelnut spread (€9.70 for 300 g).
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