City wanderings - and a pilgrimage to some of the best eating and drinking spots in Brussels. Or maybe not eating or drinking - ah, oh well.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Vandenhende Chocolatier

 Tonight I'd like to take you to a chocolate shop, nestled in the La Chasse neighbourhood, conveniently On My Way to the Supermarket.  This time my shopping list sternly lists milk, fabric conditioner and wine; but no matter, I will delay the walk home laden with bottles - wouldn't you?  How about calling in for some delicious fondant au chocolat instead?

So, follow me as I trudge up the hill towards Eden, in my oversized snowboots (now, with holes!) their furry insides protecting me from the sapping cold and drizzle which has returned to Brussels, but not, sadly, from those paving slabs like seesaws which you step on and curse when dirty water splashes up your leg...

The first time I passed Vandenhende I peered at the chocolate specimens in the window, and then beyond those to all the chocolate-making apparatus towards the rear of the functional shop.  This is a place where the chocolates are actually made on the premises, without the aid of branded frippery and a marketing budget the size of Jean-Claude Van Damme's biceps.  Still, I hesitated: I don't generally like going in shops with no other customers in them (a deep-rooted fear of feeling obliged to buy something), but happily a customer who had emerged praised the wonderful fondant au chocolat, and that was all the encouragement I needed.

 At least the decision over what to buy was easy.  Unfortunately I discovered I only had five euros on me, and did not want to put a trivial amount on the plastic and get a "humpf" of disapproval.  But Kenny the owner surprised me: by kindly, patiently, smilingly replying to my questions; and then won my instant gratitude by handing me the remaining substantial end piece of a long slab of fondant - all for my measly five euros.  No, I'm not a hard-up student any more, but after such service of course I'd be back!

This extra generous portion gave me more than one opportunity to enjoy Kenny's work.  It could have complemented vanilla ice cream and coulis exceedingly well, but in the end I paired the gently warmed fondant with what was in my fridge: fresh mango and blueberries, and it was delicious!  Thank you, Kenny: I appreciate the long hours you work (mostly alone, apart from the part-timer who helps you make the chocolate boxes), I love your rich dark fondant au chocolat, and yes, I will return - I need to try your ice creams.

Artisan Chocolatier
Chaussee de Wavre 643
1040 Etterbeek

Tel/Fax: 02 644 63 00


  1. Excellent idea: there are loads of stores selling industrially made chocolates in Brussels but not so many homemade chocolate shops. The only one I knew until now was Marcolini.

    And please, with all these bottles, don't mix up wine with fabric conditioner: this could have a disastrous effect both on your clothes and on you...

  2. Wine with milk would be even worse!