Belgium is known for its artisan chocolate with many critics claiming that the Belgians craft some of the world's finest.   There are over 2,000 chocolate shops in Belgium, which is a testament to their passion for chocolate.   The capital city of Brussels offers many insights into this Belgian craft.

First off, visit one of the shops of Pierre Marcolini, master chocolatier.  When he was 31, he earned the title of best pastry chef in the world.  His shops sell a variety of chocolates and macaroons of all flavors.  He sees cofectionary like fashion.  There is a style to chocolate that renders the need for different collections and seasonal items.  My favorite is the speculoos macaroon which combines the Belgian tradition of speculoos and the French macaroon perfectly.

Then there is Neuhaus chocolate shop. They seem to be on every block, so you will not miss them!! There is as large assortment of chocolates laid out before you, making the decision of which one to try oh-so-difficult.  If you find that having to pick out your own chocolate is too difficult, try one of the already filled boxes.

The locals consider Mary's one of the best chocolate shops in Brussels.  There are only two locations in Brussels, but one of them is in the main square, The Grand Place.  Walking into the store is like walking back into time as the store is designed like an old-fashioned confectionary store.   The chocolates are beautifully wrapped and presented in Victorian styled paper.  You even get a free piece of chocolate with your purchase!

To get the full chocolate experience go on one 10 plus chocolate tours available.  They range from touring a chocolate factory, Les Jardins du Chocolat, in Tournai a short train ride from Brussels to going to each chocolatier and sampling!   Some tours such as the Brussels' Chocolate Walking Tour and Workshop has a hands on portion-making your own pralines.  Others give you a history of chocolate and of making chocolate in Belgium such as the Chocolate Duval Tour and Belgian Chocolates Tour. 

Many of these tours are walking tours, thus taking you to the main tourist areas of town. So not only do you learn about the confectionary culture of Belgium you also get to see the city of Brussels.  Check out this websites for a full list of tours: