Belgian Chocolate Shops in Brussels, Grand Sablon

By alison - March 15, 2010 (Updated: October 19, 2015)

A beautiful pink box of Wittamer Chocolates

A beautiful pink box of Wittamer Chocolates

Every good chocoholic knows Belgian chocolate is the best in the world. But while tourists flock to the shops selling chocolate Manneken Pis statues around Grand Place, locals and in-the-know travelers head to Brussels’ chocolate Mecca – Grand Sablon.

Grand Sablon (Grote Zavel in Dutch) is a small square (a triangle actually) with the beautiful Notre Dame de Sablon church at its head. Lining the streets are cafes, bars, restaurants and shops – most notably the best selection of chocolate shops in Brussels.

Here’s my rundown of the chocolate shops of Sablon.

One of the oldest chocolatiers in Sablon, and my personal favourite, is Wittamer. Henri Wittamer began his company in 1910 and it is now run by his son and daughter. Wittamer is the Official Supplier to the Court of Belgium but we lowly peasants can visit the chocolate shop, bakery and café on Grand Sablon. My recommendation – climb the stairs to the café on a cold winter’s day and warm up with the thickest and best hot chocolate you’ve ever tasted. Then head over to the chocolate shop for a mixed box of pralines (and for me, an extra bag of raspberry hearts, delish!)

Wittamer Café
Place du Grand Sablon 6
1000 Brussels
+32 2 512 37 42

Wittamer Pâtissier, Glacier & Traiteur
12 Place du Grand Sablon
1000 Brussels
T : +32 (0)2 512 37 42

If Wittamer is classic and traditional, Pierre Marcolini is new and avant gard. When you first step into this shop you’d be forgiven for thinking you walked into a jewellery store. The chocolates are displayed in long glass cases, like tiny jewels.  The clerks are immaculately dressed and handle the chocolates with white gloves. The décor screams decadence, and that is what Marcolini is all about. The cocoa beans are sourced from around the world, as are the unique flavours. Orange blossom, ginger, passion fruit and mango are just a few of the exotic flavours on offer.

Rue des Minimes 1
Place du Grand Sablon
T: +32(0)25141206

If you are looking for a truly traditional Belgian praline, look no further than the inventor of this delicacy – Neuhaus. Neuhaus has been making chocolate in Belgium since 1857 and they were my first introduction to real Belgian chocolate. They invented the praline, ‘a bite-sized filled chocolate’ in 1912 and now their collection includes over 60 flavours. If you can’t make it to Sablon, or to Belgium for that matter, never fear. It is possible to find Neuhaus outlets in 50 countries around the world.

Rue Lebeau 79 (Grand Sablon),
1000  Brussels
T: +32 2 502 38 13

Many North Americans’ first exposure to Belgian chocolate comes in a shiny gold box bearing the name Godiva. Over 75 years ago Joseph Draps founded a chocolate company in Belgium named for Lady Godiva. His son Joseph took over and shortened the name to simply Godiva. These days Godiva chocolate can be found from New York to Tokyo or right here in Brussels on the Grand Sablon.

Grand Sablon 47/48
1000 Brussels
T: +32 2 502 99 06

When you’re talking about global expansion of a Belgian chocolate company, you can’t leave out Leonidas. These little yellow chocolate shops are the ‘Golden Arches’ of the chocolate world. With 1,400 outlets around the world, chances are you won’t have to travel all the way to Belgium for a taste. Nonetheless, you will find an outlet tucked in a corner of Grand Sablon, rounding out the Belgian chocolate offerings on the square.

Place du grand Sablon 41
T: +32 (0)2513 14 66

One Belgian chocolatier that I just can’t fail to mention, even though it can’t be found on Grand Sablon, is Zaabär. This new-comer on the Belgian chocolate scene, is pushing the boundaries of flavour and has beautiful packaging too. Their red pepper chocolate is one of my all-time favourites and their lavender chocolate is a close second. Their shop and factory is well worth a visit if you didn’t get your chocolate fill on Grand Sablon.

125 chaussée de Charleroi
1060 Brussels
T: +32(0)25339580

The selection of chocolate shops in Brussels is endless, but if you are pressed for time and want one stop chocolate shopping, Place du Grand Sablon has something for every chocolate lover. What’s your favourite Belgian chocolate?
View Chocolate shops in Sablon in a larger map

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Alison Cornford-Matheson is a Canadian freelance writer and travel photographer and the founder of She is the author of The Foodie Guide to Brussels: Local Tips for Restaurants, Shops, Hotels, and Activities. Alison landed in Belgium in 2005 and, over the years, has become passionate about slow and sustainable travel, in Europe and beyond. She loves to discover hidden gems - be they museums, shops, restaurants, castles, gardens or landscapes, and share them through her words and photos. She has visited 45 countries and is currently slow travelling through North America in an RV, with her husband, Andrew, and two well-travelled cats. You can also follow her work on Google+
One of my biggest goals in coming back to my home province was to learn as much as I could about our First... - 3 days ago


  1. Comment by Dallas

    Dallas March 15, 2010 at 14:14

    Great post! Makes me hungry just reading it. I really like going to the Neuhaus chocolate outlet where you can taste test everything before you buy. It’s not a pretty storefront, but it has great deals.

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison March 15, 2010 at 14:38

      I haven’t been to the outlet; I’ll definitely have to check that out! What I like about all of the shops is you can just walk in a buy one or two pieces if you want. It’s a nice treat on a busy shopping day 🙂

  2. Comment by Laura

    Laura March 15, 2010 at 14:26

    I adore the white chocolates filled with pineapple cream from Leonidas; I think they’re called Desirée.

    I keep meaning to check out Zaabär as it’s only five minutes from our flat. Sadly, I’m not that big a chocolate fan (I know, I was surprised they let me in the country too) so I’m not often motivated to try the different shops.

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison March 15, 2010 at 14:40

      The smell of Zaabar wins me over every time and I admit I’m a sucker for nice packaging. I think it’s worth stopping in just to watch (and smell) the process 🙂

  3. Comment by Louise

    Louise March 15, 2010 at 14:31

    I vote for the traditional Neuhaus pralinés even though I feel more luxurious and feminin with one of the black boxes from Marcolini. The sizes of the Marcolini chocolats are also more lady-like compared to the big but wonderful calorie bombs from Neuhaus.

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison March 15, 2010 at 14:41

      Haha, yes the Marcolinis are a bit on the small size. My favourites will always be Wittamer but I have a special place in my heart for Neuhaus which amazingly you can buy in Halifax 🙂

  4. Comment by Unexpected Traveller

    Unexpected Traveller March 15, 2010 at 16:49

    For a long time I worshipped at the altar of Marcolini as his chocolates are simply, for my taste, the best of the lot. However, I have to confess that I have betrayed Pierre for chocolates that are even more magical than his.

    The chocolate shop is called “L’Atelier” and it is based in Uccle on the Chausee d’Alsemberg. The owner is the chocolatier himself and his creations include pralines made with Tuscan olives. While it sounds unusual, do note that a fairy gets her wings polished every time you bite into one.

    To find it, go to Gare Du Midi and catch the south-bound tram 51 (Destination: Van Halen) and stop at the tram stop called “Coghen”. Walk down a block or so – it’s just before the Lidl supermarket.

    Excellent stuff.

    The Unexpected Traveller

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison March 16, 2010 at 08:28

      Wow, that sounds fantastic! I will definitely have to give that place a try. It’s true there are many small chocolatiers dotted around the city that definitely deserve a visit. So much chocolate, so little time!

  5. Comment by Nomadic Chick

    Nomadic Chick March 15, 2010 at 21:35

    How ridiculous that you live near these shops, I mean that in a good way. I’m not much of a chocoholic, but I do enjoy a slice of dark, dark chocolate with a tumbler of wine. 🙂

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison March 16, 2010 at 08:30

      It is a bit crazy really but Belgians do love their chocolate and beer. I prefer dark chocolate as well and honestly the chocolate here is so good and rich I never want more than one or two pieces at a time.

  6. Comment by expatraveler

    expatraveler March 16, 2010 at 01:47

    Now you are making me want some incredible chocolate! What a great post and all of those flavors, yummy!!!!

    The best place I ever got chocolates from was in a village next to Montreux. I can’t imagine anything coming close here. Unfortunately it seems to me good chocolate is so pricey! I love your idea of getting 1 or 2 good pieces… Reminds me of going to See’s candies in California.

    • Comment by expatraveler

      expatraveler March 16, 2010 at 02:06

      P.S. I think having a visit would be the best excuse ever to tastes all of those chocolates!

      • Comment by Alison


        Alison March 16, 2010 at 08:32

        Good chocolate can be pricey but honestly it’s not as expensive as you might think. Many of the local bakeries also sell handmade chocolates quite reasonably. Even the store brand chocolate here tastes better than the North American stuff because it tends to be a bit fresher and have less preservatives (not that there’s not a few E numbers thrown in there but it’s not bad).

  7. Comment by Charlie's Tribe

    Charlie's Tribe March 16, 2010 at 17:18

    I also adore dark chocolate. Has anyone tried the Cafe Tasse shop in the middle of Brussels? It is another one of my favourites in addition to all the great places mentioned here. They make amazing chocolate flavours like Earl Grey tea which is yummy.

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison March 17, 2010 at 10:32

      Yes! I like Cafe Tasse a lot. I’ve only ever passed by their shop but I’ve bought the chocolate quite often from other locations.

  8. Comment by Rachel

    Rachel March 18, 2010 at 08:33

    Hey, Thanks for your comment on my sushi post.
    I have to agree on Zaabar, I LOVE their chocolate. THe red pepper is good, but so is the black pepper one. And their cardamom bar is amazing. I also love each of their ‘origins’ bars, my favourite being the 75% Masai chocolate. WOW.
    I took their ‘class of chocolate making’ on a saturday for 20 euros. You make truffles and mendiants with their chocolatier – who is a really nice guy and allowed us to make ones with Hawaiin black salt and my matcha green tea from japan. He even tested our creations and acted impressed… it was fun! (however their hot chocolate is really bad!)

    • Comment by Alison


      Alison March 18, 2010 at 08:59

      That sounds like a lot of fun! I’ll have to check out their website and see when they are doing it again. I’ve made chocolates on my own before but I’d love to learn from an expert 🙂

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