What do you first think of when someone says they are going to Belgium? If you are anything like me, the first things that come to mind are waffles, chocolate, fries, and beer!
Naturally, when it came time to plan my own weekend in Brussels, Bruges, and Ghent, I had food on the brain, and was determined to find the best food and drink that Belgium had to offer! When I had the opportunity to hop on a Beer and Chocolate Tour with The Brussels Journey, I was (to put it mildly) extremely excited.
Seriously…it’s all I talked about for like 3 weeks, just ask my friends and family ;).
I am happy to the report that the tour totally exceeded my already high expectations, and The Brussels Journey’s excellent Tripadvisor reviews prove that I’m not the only person who thinks so! The beer and chocolate tour proved to be a highlight of my visit to Belgium and was the perfect way to learn more about these famous Belgian foods while also satisfying my taste buds.
Keep reading to discover all of the crazy chocolates we tried, what it was like visiting some of the most historic bars in Brussels, and learn exactly why I’ll be recommending this tour to all of my family and friends (and readers!) who are heading off to Belgium!
About the Beer and Chocolate Tour
Chocolate and beer may seem like an unlikely combination, but The Brussels Journey tour truly is one of the most amazing tours that I’ve ever been on! The tour lasts around 4.5 hours and is the perfect way to sample some of the best beers and chocolates that Belgium has to offer, while also learning about the history of both.
There are so many chocolate shops and places to drink beer in Brussels that finding the best spots on your own can be quite overwhelming. Since I only had about 2 days in Brussels, hopping on the Beer and Chocolate tour really helped me maximize my time and head straight to the premier places in town!
Additionally, I happened to be traveling on my own, so the tour was a great way for me to meet other food lovers from around the world! We had a great group, and by the end of the tour, everyone had become friends. Our guides were super friendly, funny, informative, and created a really comfortable tour vibe.
Tours run Wednesday to Sunday from 3 pm – 7:30 pm. I highly recommend grabbing lunch or a snack beforehand as you will be walking quite a bit, and be sure to wear comfortable walking shoes and enough layers if it is wintertime. Our guide thoughtfully provided water bottles for us, which definitely helped us keep from getting parched.
Our tour got off to a sweet start (I can’t help myself when it comes to puns) at Chocopolis, a chocolate shop which also happens to be the meeting point for the tour. Here we got to learn about the process of chocolate making, and we were even able to observe some of the chocolate production that takes place in-house at Chocopolis.
We each got to sample two chocolates, the most memorable of them being the delicious and surprising chocolate and chili combo! The sweet and spicy mix really makes for a unique and fun flavor. If you aren’t a fan of spicy foods, fear not-the chili was in no way overpowering.
Next, we headed to Frederic Blondeel. This chocolatier is known for creating chocolate “from bean to bar.” As we learned all about cocoa beans and where the ingredients for chocolate are sourced from, we were even able to try the beans for ourselves! Spoiler alert: they are NOT sweet!
Here we were able to choose from a selection of unconventional flavors. I opted to try a Jasmine chocolate and a colorful passion fruit praline. I loved that we were able to choose our own adventure here, although deciding which flavor to get was so difficult-there were so many great options!
For a luxury chocolate experience, we walked across the street to the Pierre Marcolini, a “Haute Chocolaterie” that is as fancy as it sounds. It was here that we tried a yummy Madagascar chocolate as well as my favorite (and perhaps the most unexpected) flavor of the tour…Earl Grey?
heard read me right, Earl Grey…this chocolate was infused with the tea flavor and was so good that I could probably have consumed an entire box!
Thankfully before I could do this we were headed off to our final chocolatey stop of the tour, Meert.
Surprisingly, Meert is actually a French shop! However, after walking into the store (located in the beautiful Galeries Royales Saint-Hubert) it was clear the chocolaterie was too charming (and the chocolates too delicious) to skip! Here we once again were able to sample 2 treats-one of which was a tasty sea salt caramel flavor.
Kicking the tour off with all of this chocolate tastings was a brilliant way to make sure that everyone had enough caffeine and sugar in them to be energetic for the tour’s second half-beer tasting!
While I mostly discuss the tour’s focus on beer and chocolate in this post, don’t get me wrong-out tour was packed with plenty of historic and entertaining information about the city of Brussels and included many of the city’s top sites, such as Manneken Pis! When we passed by, he happened to be in the processes of changing outfits, so I had to sneak back later to catch a glimpse of this iconic sculpture!
Au Bon Vieux Temps
Our first stop on the beer portion of the tour was Au Bon Vieux Temps, a historic wood-paneled bar with stained-glass windows that dates back to 1695! Located in a small alleyway, I never would have stumbled upon this gem on my own. Here we tried a Westmalle Trappist beer as well as a darker beer paired with chocolate. We also learned what a Trappist beer actually is (authentic Trappist beers are produced by specially approved monasteries).
While I was able to learn a lot about wine while living in Italy, I was woefully lacking in my beer education! I typically have not been a fan of dark beers in the past, but my mind has been completely changed after this tour! I genuinely enjoyed every beer I tasted, including the darker ones.
Royal Theatre Toone
Our next bar offers quite a crazy combination-beer and…puppet theater? Yep! The Royal Theater Toone is known for its puppet theater as well as it’s delicious beers. Located down a small ally, passers-by could easily miss this quirky local spot with an incredible atmosphere. While we didn’t catch a puppet show while we were there, we did refuel with a much-needed plate of tasty meats, bread, and cheeses.
Again, we sampled two different beers, one of which was a tripel, the other was a kriek beer made from sour cherries! I won’t lie this one tasted like wine-no wonder I loved it!
One last stop…
Our final stop was a more modern local place, which was perfect for getting a taste of today’s popular Belgian drinks! Again we tried two more beers while chatting with each other like the best of friends-isn’t that what beer is for? As the night wound down the group began to trickle off, thanking our awesome guides before heading out into the night-some to bed, and others out to drink some more!
If you haven’t gathered by now, I successfully ate (and drank) my way through the best chocolate shops and beer establishments in Brussels and had a blast while doing it!
The tour truly was a highlight of my visit to Belgium, and I can’t thank The Brussels Journey enough for letting me tag along! Cheers to another incredible adventure! You can learn more about tour and book on their website!
Have you been on a food tour? What did you try and where? Tell me all about it in the comments!
Disclaimer: this post was created in collaboration with The Brussels Journey. As always, my opinions are my own.
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