I have found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Or rather, at the end of Metro Line 5. And the pot contains an unlimited supply of Belgium’s finest chocolates. If you’re a chocoholic like me, a visit to the Neuhaus chocolate factory outlet just outside the centre of Brussels is like winning the Golden Ticket and being granted access to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory – I could eat as much chocolate as my belly would allow.
A short 10-minute walk from the Erasmus metro stop, the Neuhaus outlet can easily be found by following the trail of shoppers armed with red bags full of chocolate walking in the opposite direction from you. When I arrived at the building I was greeted by walls stacked high with boxes filled with Neuhaus chocolates, one of Belgium’s luxury chocolate brands, and known as the first to produce the now world-famous Belgian praline over a century ago.
Stripped of the trademark Neuhaus packaging, the ‘bulk’ chocolates on offer at the outlet are sold in plain cardboard boxes with simple labelling, and are available for unlimited sampling. At first I wasn’t sure what the etiquette was when it came to sampling but soon realised that I could help myself to any open box in the store – that’s a lot of chocolate! I decided to tackle the challenge systematically and worked my way from one end of the store to the other, trying each available chocolate variety. I can tell you from experience that that are all delicious. The only problem was that with so many fine chocolate options to choose from I couldn’t decide which ones to buy. And the only solution I could think of was to go back to the beginning for a second round of sampling!
The outlet also offers a selection of items from their regular retail range, but the bulk boxes each containing 1 kilo (approximately 100 pieces) of chocolate is perhaps the most attractive offer. Although each box contains just one chocolate variety, at just 20 euros for a 1 kilo box this presents a considerable discount on the retail price. And when purchasing two boxes, the third box is free. I couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by – I left with one box each of salted caramel ganache, crème fraîche cream, and chili hazelnut praline. Now I just need to get through 3 kilos of chocolate…
Neuhaus Factory Store
Postweg 2, 1602 Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, Belgium