If you are looking for Brussel’s best chocolates, look no further than Elisabeths, the artisan. Just a few doors down from the Grand Place on “Butter Street” you’ll find many more than 31 flavors of chocolate-melt-in-your-mouth pleasure. Some of these chocolates are so pure (think no paraffin or preservatives), they recommend you eat them within three days. (And in case my family is wondering, that’s why I didn’t mail any of these home!)
What became my tradition when we lived in Belgium and entertained guests was to take them to whatever sights they wanted to see in Brussels first. We would end at the Grand Place where we slipped down the side street to Elisabeth’s for chocolates and then further down on the left to Dandoy’s.
Oh how I miss Dandoy!
What’s Dandoy’s? In my opinion, it’s the finest dedicated cookie shop you will ever enter. No, there are no huge Mrs. Field’s chocolate chips cookies. The cookies here come much larger–that is if you order speculaas baked in one of their handcrafted wooden molds.
Want a cookie soldier three-feet tall? They’ve got it. Speculaas cookies are all over these days though.
What you really want to get from Dandoy is a selection of their small cookies. Most are only half-dollar sized. Even so, each one is packed with a Tyson-like punch of flavor. You simply must try the Earl Gray tea cookies. Amazing.
At Maison Dandoy, we want to make your senses twinkle and dance. With oven-fresh biscuits rich in flavor, sweet in scent and capricious in figure. All our guilty pleasures are handmade in our Brussels’ atelier, with 100% natural ingredients just like our great-great-great grandfather did 180 years or so ago. Made with skill and care in a truly artisanal way. These are the biscuits that will love you back.
They love me! They love me!
If you see the large Dandoy shop on the way from Mannikin Pis to the Grand Place–just keep walking. That’s the new tea room for tourists which won’t have half as nice a view as further on. When you come to the Place (and you’ve petted the arm of the reclined statue as you entered), orient yourself. Across the Grand Place and all the way down on the end exactly opposite of you is your gateway to chocolate and cookie delights. What you want to experience is the antique hole-in-the-wall past Elisabeth’s. Worth a look-see for the antique staircase, leaning interior, stained-glass, and dozens of cookie molds. Atmosphere means a lot when eating abroad.
With a bag in each hand, one of chocolates and one of cookies, return to the first cafe on the left as you re-enter the famous town square. Great hot chocolate, coffee, or traditional Belgian beer can be had while people watching at their outdoor seating area.
Relax and enjoy.
Every trip needs a splurge of decadence at least once, and in Brussels this is where to have it.