Bruges is the Belgium centre of chocolate, a beautiful small and very clean city with a fabulous reputation for homemade chocolates and pralines.
We spent two days filming, firstly in the chocolate museum dedicated to the history and production of chocolate. The in-depth tour of the world of chocolate is a must, and they even throw in a chocolate demonstration at the end where chocolates can be tasted and bought.
We also filmed in The Chocolate Line, a fabulous shop where Dominique, the head chocolatier, makes over 300kg of chocolates a week. There are hundreds of varieties to choose from, including wasabi marzipan for Japanese visitors. The Brits are well looked after also with such flavours as Earl Grey tea, chilli (delicious) and tobacco! Pralines feature heavily, as you would expect. These little beauties are basically nut pastes mixed with milk chocolate and set in various moulds. These can range from fish, cocoa pods and even copulating rabbits.
What comes over in this city, especially this shop is the sheer passion and dedication to finding great raw products. Dominique sources all his covertures from all over the world. My favourite was Madagascan, beautifully smooth and rich.
Always looking to move forward, Dominique is constantly looking for new flavours and trends. His shop window frequently changes with huge chocolate sculptures; whilst we were filming, a giant Nemo was being created. I helped to put the teeth in.
A real must is a visit to the museum and The Chocolate Line you can even taste before you buy. That’s got to be incentive enough.
If you are staying over and feel hungry, try out Rockfort, a very small restaurant just off the main square. Intimate yet relaxed atmosphere but very cool food, and sensibly priced.
My meal of roast foie gras with oranges, steak and vegetables were very good, and only let down by the chocolate soufflé. Now, given where we are, you would have thought they would have got that one spot on! Nevertheless, a delicious meal, all served confidently and swiftly by the best Fabien Barthez look-alike I have ever seen. To get there it takes just 2 hours from London on Eurostar, then 40 minutes to Bruges.
Choco-Story The Chocolate Museum
Tel 0476 21 49 97
For more information contact www.choco-story.be
The Chocolate Line
Simon stevinplein 10-8000 Brugge
Tel 050 34 10 90 Fax 050 34 78 99
For more information contact www.thechocolateline.be