It will come as no surprise that chocolate was pretty high on my agenda when planning our Easter Bruges getaway. After getting our bearings with our walk around the centre, we figured we could explore the town some more while enjoying a bit of chocolate indulgence as we went along! I wanted to share this as a bit of a self-guided walking tour of Bruges taking in some of the main sites while experiencing some of Bruges’s best chocolatiers.
We started in the morning at Rozenhoedkaai between 9:30 and 10am. At this point it was still fairly quiet and we could snap some photos before making our way to the first of our chocolate shops.
Address: Wollestraat 31
Opening hours: 9:00-18:00 daily
Highlight: Huge selection with both traditional and more creative flavours
A great place to start our chocolate adventure, not just because of their earlier opening times, but because of the huge range of traditional as well as more experimental flavours. The shop has a spacious and neat feel with the chocolate laid out in rows upon rows along their counter. We picked out a small selection that took our fancy including a traditional praline, apple speculoos, basil, and Baileys. I have to say the basil flavour was brilliant.
Address: Wollestraat 15
Opening hours: 8:30-18:30 daily
Highlight: Epic window displays
This shop is all about the display which is particularly fantastic at Easter. The huge, colourful, marbled egg in the window was the central piece, with arrays of chocolate bunnies, chocolate eggs acting as boxes for pralines, alongside more…exotic pieces. We left with a box of traditional Bruges Swans, pralines with a subtle, spiced, biscuit flavour. You can read more about Bruges Swans here. https://www.visitbruges.be/the-story-of-the-bruges-swan-brugsch-swaentje-
At this point you can wander through the Grand Markt on the way to the next shops. There’s a bit more about the Markt in a previous post about our walk around the centre of Bruges.
Jan De Clerck
Address: Academiestraat 19
Opening hours: 10:00-12:00, 13:00-18:00 Mon & Wed-Sat, Closed Sun & Tues
Highlight: Its time-warp interior and value for money
Entering this chocolaterie is honestly like taking a step back in time. The floor-to-ceiling, charmingly cluttered displays made me smile. Jan De Clerck is the value player in the Bruges chocolate market. They know how to compete on price without necessarily compromising on quality. This is a great place for getting novelty chocs and we got a good price on a large box of pralines to take back to the office.
Address: Wijnzakstraat 2
Opening hours: 10:00-17:00 daily
Highlight: A museum of chocolate
A chocolate tour of Bruges wouldn’t be complete without this museum of chocolate. Interesting for both adults and kids, it’s actually really informative and interesting. Laid out across 3 floors, the museum takes you right from the Aztec and Mayan use of chocolate in religious and medicinal rituals, right up to chocolate as a fashionable drink in Europe and its place in the modern world as a sweet staple.
Address: Eiermarkt 6
Opening hours: 10:00-18:00 Mon & Wed-Sat, 10:00-17:00 Sun, Closed Tues
Highlight: Quaint building and beautifully creamy chocolate and pralines
The original location of family-run Dumon is a cute building just off the grand Markt. The chocolates here aren’t labelled as the staff apparently prefer to describe them. Our experience was that they just wanted to sell us a selection box as the shop was busy – not that there was anything wrong with the service per se, but didn’t feel much like we could linger for long and get into a real conversation – it probably didn’t help it was the day before Easter! The chocolates are delicious though and I imagine the experience would be different in any other day and the building itself is so central and so quaint that it doesn’t make sense to skip it!
Address: Sint-Amandsstraat 39
Opening hours: 11:00-13:00, 13:30-1800 Tues-Fri, 10:30-18:00 Sat, Closed Sun & Mon
Highlight: Delicious, interesting chocolates, impeccably curated
BbyB is more of an art gallery or museum than a chocolatier. The chocolate bars are all uniform in shape and are all numbered according to their flavour. The numbers align across their products, so it’s actually an efficient cataloguing system as much as a unique novelty.
The gentleman in the shop was really helpful and clearly passionate about what he does. He let us taste the caramel with coffee – the delicious chocolate and subtle but complex flavours really make you savour the experience, yet it’s not as overt as the chocolate line and has a bit more subtlety and sophistication. We bought the golden collection box with a range of their top flavours.
The Chocolate Line
Address: Simon Stevinplein 19
Opening hours: 9:30-18:30 Tues-Sat, 10:30-18:30 Sun & Mon
Highlight: Unimaginable creativity in flavours and eccentricity value
This parallel-universe, brain-child of Dominique Persoone is all about the weird and wonderful flavours from yuzu, coriander to bacon, curry, and cigars. It’s whimsical, playful and eccentric and getting people excited about mixing things up and challenging their expectations. It gets really busy but is fascinating to peruse all of the unlikely options as well as checking out the awesome window displays and the kitchen at the back.
The Old Chocolate House
Address: Mariastraat 1
Opening hours: 10:00-18:00 daily
Highlight: Incredible hot chocolate
There was no better way to finish our chocolate tour of Bruges than with a hot chocolate at The Old Chocolate House. Upstairs, above the chocolate shop, is a gorgeous, traditional, cosy tea room with panelled walls and floral tablecloths. You get to choose your hot chocolate and whether you want it spiced like the Aztec’s or smooth with praline like the Belgians. Hot milk arrives in huge mugs (which you can purchase in the shop!) served with a chocolate cup filled with chocolate ganache that you stir in. You can add as much or as little as you want but we were like children in a toy shop and threw in the whole lot!
The tour then leaves you in a good place to head over to the canals near the Groeninge Musuem, the Cathedral of St Salvator, the Church of our Lady, and the serene Begijnhof. I’ve written more about these in two previous posts: Bruges: A Walk Around the Centre, and Bruges: A Tranquil Easter Sunday.
We thoroughly enjoyed relishing the Belgian chocolate experience and it helped us appreciate the variety and creativity in Bruges’s chocolate scene. There’s far more to discover than those praline shells!
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Note that opening times/addresses/website details are correct at the time of writing as may change over time.