Ostend Stories and Tips

Of (Chocolate) Mice & Men

Chocolate making is not just a job - it's an art where people take their work seriously and their creations of all shapes and sizes are artistically displayed behind glass cases. Don't expect to find "inferior" products like licorice, jellies or hard candy here - these stores sell only chocolate (you can buy the others in any department store). There are pre packaged containers but it's more fun to pick and choose your own assortment. Pralines are filled chocolates and some of my favourites are marzipan, advocaat and creamy caramel. The hazelnut hedgehogs are also very popular. If you like your chocolate "straight up", ask for a chunk of dark callebut. Everything is priced by weight and the smallest bag they'll make for you is usually 100 grams - about 6 pieces. If you're buying it for gift giving, you can have your selection packaged in a decorative tin for an additional cost. One of the more well known stores is Leonidas and there is a branch right in the main shopping area. The chocolates are made with fresh ingredients and don't have the same shelf life as a regular chocolate bar so you're just going to have to eat up - but that shouldn't pose too much of a hardship! If you're looking for something cheaper and longer lasting, Cote d'Or chocolate bars are available in most grocery and department stores and are one of the best packaged bars I've come across. Chocoholics will love their '5 in 1' bar and the advocaat filled one is good too. I can honestly say that I've never met a Belgian chocolate that I didn't like.

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