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 the Japanese visitors. The Brits are well looked after also with such flavours as Earl Grey tea, chilli (very good) 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 and especially this shop is the sheer passion and dedication in 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 changes frequently 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 was 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 very good meal, all served confidently and swiftly by the best Fabien Bartez look-alike I have ever seen. To get there it takes just 2 hours from London on Eurostar, then 40 minutes to Bruges.
- The cocoa tree can only be found within ten degrees latitude of the Equator.
- It grows no more than 250 feet above sea level and needs rich soil, plenty of moisture and shade to thrive.
- Over 3000 years ago, the Aztec, Toltec and Mayan civilisations of Central America were enjoying the extract of the Cacao bean.
- At the beginning of the 16th century, during the conquest of Mexico, the Spaniards learnt about cocoa. When they returned to Spain in 1528, news travelled quickly and their recipe, now mixed with honey or sugar to take away the bitter taste, was implemented throughout Europe.
Chocostory The Chocolate Museum Sint-jansstraat 7B
Tel 0476 21 49 97 Fax 02 460 84 76
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