Many of my travel plans revolve around food and drink, and our recent European trip was no exception – I was on a mission to find the best hot chocolate in Belgium.
Before boarding our flight to Brussels I’d already spent a lot of time researching the best places for waffles and hot chocolate in both our bases for this trip: Bruges and the capital city.
This was a special Ladies what..travel pre-Christmas trip, made up of Emma, her husband, my boyfriend and myself. We all had ideas of the things we were hoping to see and do, but my focus was entirely on visiting what I heard could be the best hot chocolate shop in the country!
I did try out many chocolate-based drinks during my time in Belgium – entirely for research of course – but for me, there were two that really stood out from the crowd.
The best hot chocolate in Brussels
My personal award for the best hot chocolate in Brussels goes to Neuhaus. From a world renowned Belgian chocolatier founded in the 1850s you’d expect nothing but the best, right? The business began as an apothecary shop that covered medicines in chocolate in order to make them more palatable. The focus on chocolate took over from drugs and over time it has become known as one of Belgium’s finest chocolate producers.
During our visit to the capital we headed straight to the Galeries Royales, which is home to the original Neuhaus store. Here we each ordered a hot chocolate and waited for our freshly made drinks to appear. There was a bit of a wait but we were not disappointed. We each received a teapot full of what was essentially melted chocolate. Thick and creamy, it was pure milk chocolate goodness in liquid form. Once you’ve tried this you’ll never look at a hot chocolate drink in the same light!
However, even though this was an absolutely delicious drink, Neuhaus was pushed into second place by the hot chocolate I experienced in Bruges.
The best hot chocolate in Bruges
It’s easy to fall in love with Bruges, with its cobblestone streets and beautiful waterways, but the icing on the cake (or should I say waffle!) is the number of wonderful chocolate shops scattered throughout the city.
On the recommendation of Ladies what travel contributor Laura, I made a beeline for The Old Chocolate House, which is just off Simon Stevinplein. This beautiful old building houses a chocolate shop downstairs, but if you manage to negotiate the rather precarious staircase you’ll come across a wonderfully quaint, old fashioned tearoom.
We came from breakfast, and the waffles were delicious, but I’m not going to beat around the bush – I was there to experience a hot chocolate like never before.
The Old Chocolate Shop, Bruges
At the Old Chocolate Shop you can choose between a dark, milk or white hot chocolate drink. As this was my first trip (yes, I went back!) I played it safe with the milk chocolate version. When our drinks came out my jaw pretty much dropped to the floor– we were given a mug of steaming hot milk that was the size of a breakfast bowl and then a case made of chocolate and filled with chocolate chips.
Our waiter explained that we simply tip in the amount of chocolate we’d like and then use the whisk to mix it with the milk. I, of course, didn’t mess about and simply dropped the case and all its contents straight into the mug and whisked away.
Simply put, I was in hot chocolate heaven. The drink was surprisingly sweet, but super tasty. It wasn’t thick in the same way the Neuhaus drink was, but the ‘make it yourself’ experience made it much more fun!
Although I enjoyed the milk chocolate I did think it might be better with the bitterness of the dark chocolate, so when I did sneak in one more visit, I just I had to go full-out and ordered the white hot chocolate. Surprisingly, I enjoyed this even more than the milk, as it basically tasted just like a liquid Nestle Milkybar.
This cute little café is a great find, with a wonderful atmosphere and very friendly staff. In my world nothing can beat a mug of hot chocolate the size of your head, so this place goes down as number one in my book!
What’s your favourite hot chocolate experience? Do let us know by commenting below!