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We like to think of Peterman’s Eye as an old fashioned interactive community newspaper (if there is such a thing) focused on travel and curiosities. Talk with us about today’s post. Tell us about the places you’ve been. Or take a trip using J. Peterman’s exclusive travel services (coming soon). Read more...

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In Bruges

February 23, 2009

While I enjoy the occasional film noir, I much prefer a steady diet of chocolat noir. For that, there’s no better place to be than in Bruges.

Amid the quaint canals and charming old buildings, there are 47 chocolate shops, all within walking distance of each other. Many offer free samples, virtually guaranteeing an addiction.

Many of these artisan chocolatiers use the same brand of chocolate, Callebaut or Belcolade for couverture, but differentiate themselves with the old family recipes they use, producing wonderful fruit creams, caramel toffees, bursts of liqueur, exotic spices, tea and coffee flavors, all enrobed in rich, heavenly chocolate.

I ask the owner of one of these shops where Godiva and Leonidas stand in the spectrum of Belgium chocolate makers. She places them squarely in the middle.

One characteristic that distinguishes Belgian chocolate from its Swiss and French counterparts is the fine degree to which the chocolate is ground—to 18 microns—accounting for its unique flavor and texture. Furthermore, Belgian chocolatiers proudly maintain a commitment to pure 100% cocoa mass although the European Union allows 5% vegetable oil in lieu of cocoa butter (the oil from the cacao beans).

After my exhaustive search for Bruges’ best chocolate, I head for Choco-Story, the chocolate-themed museum located in a former wine tavern, the Maison de Croon, ca.1480.  Opened in March, 2005, the museum’s exhibits include the earliest history of cacao from its Mexican and Aztec beginnings, an impressive, time-lapse documentary that demonstrates how the cacao pod grows out of the flower, and a live demonstration for making pralines, a hard chocolate shell casing containing various confections. Belgium’s Jean Neuhaus developed the praline in Brussels in 1912.

Sated from chocolate, I search for my next indulgence at Oud Vlissinghe, the city's oldest tavern.

I hear they serve some pretty good beers in these parts.


J. Peterman


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Under Construction: Design Stuff & Member Commenting - Changes Soon.
6 Members’ Opinions
February 23, 2009 12:08 AM
2873 First-com Seer Raven said...

I think it is time to get some sleep.  There are no good dogs under the porch.  Who would look there anyway?

How about those Pancakes, sliding under the door like that?  I do not believe that it was the DT's that made him see them.  They turned into black cats and drank all his whiskey.  Then they chased him out of the bunkhouse.

February 23, 2009 1:13 AM
Stage_2 10photoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoHr-1Hr-10Hr-5 JALOPKIN said...

In the States, we look for places where Big Rig Drivers gather, knowing that where they are found, so will be found good food in generous portions, and coffee that presents either as weak Tea or burnt and viscous so that it will strip paint ... Bruges is a pretty place with all the "Old World Charm" one would imagine ... but if one wants directions to Good Food, Good Drink, and Good Chocolate ... ask one of the host of Mercenaries that have congregated there, available for hire, for the last fifty years or so ... It is an amazing paradox ....... but even Rambo can like Chocolate Bunnies ...

February 23, 2009 9:19 AM
2330 10photoviewsFirst-comFirst-photo MissExpatria said...

Forty. Seven. Chocolate. Shops. *faints*

February 23, 2009 1:57 PM
First-comHr-1 jobug said...

Absolutly right, no where better to search for the best chocolate than in Bruge! The chocolate museam sounds facinating, and the wonderful old tavern as well... sounds like the perfect trip (the world's best chocolate, beer and old world charm all wrapped up in one!).

February 23, 2009 3:12 PM
790 10photoviews10videoviewsCom-100Com-300Com-500First-comFirst-photoFirst-videoHr-1Hr-5 MissIve said...


Laughing. Love it!

February 23, 2009 8:49 PM
First-com luludemajorque said...

Chocolate rules...especially if it's dark. And, when I find exquisite chocolate with almonds or hazelnuts in it, I have found my true love!

Honor Roll

still thinking about today...

Yesterday's Discussion

One of travel’s great gifts is the opportunity it gives you to step out of your life—so why bring along its soundtrack? Any good trip will provide its own.


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