From November 6th to December 8th, at Choc'in Brugge, you can meet the best master craftsmen, visit the Chocolate Museum, enjoy themed menus in high-class restaurants, participate in workshops and tastings, sign up for a chocolate beauty treatment, or take a tour to discover the history of the love affair between the city of Bruges and everybody's favourite sweet temptation.
The links between Bruges and cocoa go way back: it all began in the late Middle Ages, when some of the city's families started to look for new products in which to trade. They already traded in sugar cane from Madeira, and when the Spanish brought cocoa from the New World in the sixteenth century, they soon learned to mix it with sugar. And so began the first chapter of a long story to which new pages continue to be added today as master confectioners create new treats for the sweet-toothed and new ways are discovered to enjoy and use the age-old delight. Visit the beautiful chocolate-box setting of Bruges while Choc'in Brugge is underway, and let yourself be tempted.
Bruges is a true chocolate lab thanks to over 50 expert chocolatiers, some long-established as well as other exciting new talents. So may experts in one place means there are a thousand ways to enjoy chocolate in the city, from traditional crafts to the most innovative creations. Just take a stroll around and look at the confectioners' windows and you'll see that no other city in the world offers more choice or higher quality chocolate products. Depla (Mariastraat, 20), Dumon (in Simon Stevinplein square) or its smaller, more traditional sister establishment in Eiermarkt Street will set your mouth watering. Don't miss other such as Guillaume (Grasdreef, 19), Roose (Steenstraat, 47), Spegelaere (Ezelstraat, 92) and The Chocolate Line, one of just three chocolate shops that rate a mention in the Michelin Guide.
The Chocolate Museum has the answers to all your questions about cocoa and its 4,000 year history. The sensorial museum shows how the sweet treat has evolved through the centuries, how the tropical seed is processed and chocolate is made, and, of course, it offers visitors plenty of opportunity for sampling. During the celebration of Choc'in Brugge the museum is also hosting special workshops for adults and children. In short, it's a perfect place for chocoholics to indulge their addiction under the guise of a cultural visit!
Over a dozen fine restaurants – boasting six Michelin stars and nine Gault Millau mentions between them – including Danny Horseele, Zeno, De Jonkman and Kwizien Divi join in the sweet celebrations to offer creative menus dedicated to chocolate.
Some of the best restaurants in Bruges – Bristo De Amand, De Mangerie, La Tache – play their part, too, with fascinating workshops for small groups, where the chefs show how chocolate can be combined with fine gastronomy.
To coincide with the sweet celebrations, until December 8th, on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and Wednesdays, there's a two-hour guided tour of the city available which will let you discover the places and the stories, the aromas and the flavours that have influenced the history of Bruges chocolate.
Wellness and chocolate
Eating chocolate can brighten your spirits, but it has its uses as a beauty treatment, too, as it's an excellent skin tonic. Five of the city's most famous beauty parlours are offering exclusive chocolate therapies. So, how do you fancy a choco body scrub? Or a hot chocolate skin wrap? These are just two of the indulgent options available for your pleasure.
From November 11th to 13th, Bruges is hosting the fourth annual Choco-Late fair for professionals and chocolate enthusiasts of all ages. There will be tastings, talks, workshops and all types of activity led by patisserie chefs, and chocolate experts, while children will have their own area at the Choco Kids Village. Sweet!
(See site for details of three-for-two-night offer on accommodation between November 6th and March 22nd.)
It's a little princess!