Saturday, March 2, 2013

Belgium #4

Alright, guys.  We're almost out of Europe.  I know, it's been an ordeal.  Who needs their socialist chocolate, anyways?

(I do.)



Del Ray:

I got off the train from Bruges and landed back in Antwerp.  I was short on time, so I hightailed it to Del Ray, the top recommendation of basically everyone.

I got a chocolate cake thing.  It was incredible.  The second best of the trip, after Peclard's.  I got a chocolate macaron that was totally up to Parisian standards.  I got a good, but not great, truffle.  And I ordered a dark chocolate bonbon, but they gave me a hazelnut one, and it was still pretty good.

I also got a pack of five origin chocolate bars, which I ate with Leila upon my return:

this blog is basically the usual suspects minus kevin spacey and a plot.

That review is forthcoming.

Overall, Del Ray was probably my favorite in Antwerp, but as a patisserie more than as a chocolatier.


I walked around for a bit, looking for Chocolatier Burie.  I found two stores right next to each other -- Chocolatier Burie and Confiserie Burie.  To this day I'm not sure whether this was a Dumon situation or whether the two were related.  If they were related, they were set up very differently.  The confiserie was basically a candy shop.  They sold lots of bars of Cafetasse-brand chocolate.  I bought some milk chocolate and dark chocolate hands.  The milk was better -- it reminded me of the European chocolate my family would bring back for me as a kid.  The dark chocolate was good too, but a bit brittle -- it reminded me of the chocolate at Stef's.  I also got a dark truffle, which was okay and a milk truffle, which was not great.

Chocolatier Burie looked like a much more serious... chocolatier.  I bought a 73% bonbon, and it was excellent.  The best bonbon I got in Antwerp, near the level of Dumon in Bruges.

dressed to impress.

I also bought a bar from each of the two places:

i found most bars in belgium were pretty hard to distinguish, once unwrapped.
From L to R: Chocolatier Burie, Confiserie Burie, Chocolate Line (from Bruges)
I liked the bar from Chocolatier Burie better than the bar from Confiserie Burie, though this was far from consensus.  The Chocolatier bar was more serious, definitely legit, and way better than even the one from the Real Dumon.  The other was sweeter, which made it relatively popular.  It was definitely not bad.

Chateau Blanc:

I raced to make it to Chateau Blanc before it closed.  I did not succeed.  But they had a stall still open at a nearby market/carnival, so I went by and sampled some truffles.  The dark chocolate truffle was only okay, but the heavily-dusted Cacao Truffle was truly excellent.  The best I'd had since Brussels.

Paster Snack:

After doing the Antwerp Circuit, I met up with my cousins.  They, as I've mentioned, are chassidic, so we rolled into an extremely kosher pizza place and ordered chocolate cake and ice cream.  There was a lot of hubbub.  I am still not entirely sure what was going on.  About an hour and a half later, one of their employees comes in the door with a container of ice cream.  We think they ran out to the store to buy some?  Anyways, the ice cream was not important.  The cake was actually surprisingly good, given that I had just eaten twelve million pounds of chocolate, plus dinner.  It just confirms Our Favorite Commenter Veronica's point that it's the kosher parve stuff that's not so good -- when milk is allowed, kosher desserts are fine.


But my cousins were far-from-finished.  They loaded me up with kosher Belgian chocolate for the road.  Along with a seriously adorable note made by their children:


But if we ever wanted evidence of Veronica's point, this is it.  Actually, the best stuff they gave me here was the white chocolate -- and I have never said that before in my life.  Particularly the white chocolate with the milk chocolate/hazelnut filling.  That was just amazing.  But even the plain white bar was great.

The dark pieces were ok, but they had lost their tempter, were very sweet, were brittle and dry, and were not the highest quality.  Of course my friend Annie loved them.  Even the dark chocolate filled with dark chocolate/hazelnut filling was not so good... way worse than the white chocolate, and dry.  Parve strikes.

You may actually notice some milk chocolate there.  I don't know what it tasted like, because it got eaten along with the gelt.

I was also given some Mazel Tov-brand chocolate ruggelach, which was also parve and also not good.  Or chocolatey at all.  It tasted like regular bread.  Which I guess isn't so bad, now that I think about it, but it's not chocolate.

But I don't want to get down on the stuff I was given, because that is seriously some of the best white chocolate I've ever had.  A new discovery!

Bottom Line: Taking all the cities in Belgium together might not get you the sheer quantity of ridiculously high quality chocolate that you have in Paris alone, but it's Bruges and Antwerp that just really cannot begin to compare.  Brussels is actually pulling its weight nicely.  So, my review of Belgium: worth a trip, if you're already in Europe.



    2) I also agree with YOUR point - like why is Parve dark chocolate so bad? Regular dark chocolate (like your standard 80% bar) shouldn't have milk in it anyway so at least in theory you should be able to get amazing parve chocolate bars. Maybe the milk chocolate is better because you can rescue the essentially bad chocolate with milk and more sugar?

    2b) Maybe in Israel there is good dark parve chocolate?

  2. It is because of comments like this that you are our favorite commenter.