I was starting to grow a tad weary after tour stop# 3, Leonidas, mainly due to the complete lack of sleep the night before, having arrived in Brussels at 6 am from New York, dropped my bags off at the hotel, had a coffee (or three) and breakfast, and dove right into the tour all before 9 am. It was now around 1, and I was quickly losing steam. I considered just returning the hotel at this point, taking a long overdue shower and nap, and heading back out afterwards, but as fate would have it, my proposed stop #4 just so happened to be on the way back to the hotel. And as I walked up to the entrance and was greeted by the large faux chocolate elephant, I realized there was no way I was just gonna walk on by. So, I decided to make one last stop for the day at:
Stop #4: Chocopolis.
Appropriately named, Chocopolis was big – a chocolate metropolis for sure. I walked in and immediately to the right, were a few gentlemen around a hot chocolate station, sipping cups and chatting away in french. Behind the giant counter in the center, two women were actually making some chocolates, and encouraging folks to gather ’round and watch while they demonstrated their craft.
I grazed around the counter, while a third woman flitted about, tending to customers and asking me if I needed help (in french). Nothing had been calling out my name as of yet, so I declined politely and continued my perusal. It wasn’t until I began cruising the perimeter that I saw it – glowing like a full moon on a dark winter’s night, beckoning me to come closer. As the gravitational pull of awesomeness drew me, I reached up for it, the perfect combination of Belgium’s two greatest natural resources: Chocolate Beer.
Now I’ve had chocolate beer before, but it was a chocolate flavored beer – not a beer made out of chocolate. As I picked one up off the shelf, I was momentarily disheartened as I discovered these chocolate bottles were not actually filled with beer. I still thought I’d buy one, just because they were way cool. But as I began walking away from the shelf with bottle in hand, I started having second thoughts. There was no way I was going to eat this entire beer bottle in two days, especially with 6 more chocolate shops to sample! And carting it around Europe for the rest of the week or even eventually back to the states just seemed unrealistic. So, I placed the bottle back on the shelf, and hung my head. While looking down, I happened to notice a shelf of mendiants just below and to the left. I never see mendiants at home, and I loved them when we made them in pastry school, so…I picked out a mixed bag (white, milk, and dark chocolate) and was on my way.
There was even one super cool one that looked all outer spacey. I ate that one first, but all three varieties were slammin’. I just wish I could find mendiants more easily at home in New Jersey. I guess I’ll just have to start making them. I could start the next big dessert craze.
At this point, not even the best chocolate in the world could keep me awake. As I laid in bed, I drifted off to sleep while visions of fine Belgian chocolates danced in my head. Sweet Dreams, indeed.
Stay tuned for Day 2, which begins relaxed and refreshed at Stop #5: Pierre Marcolini – three floors of “club chocolate”.