Marie Hennechart

From Brussels to Dubai, chocolatiers are developing the highest-quality flavors. Here, our favorite shops.

January 11, 2010

In Brussels’s main square, 10 master Belgian chocolate makers are showcased at La Maison des Maîtres Chocolatiers Belges boutique, where they host daily workshops to teach the secret ingredients of their country’s rich dark and white cocoa.

Parisian pastry chef and food stylist Jacques Genin infuses his bonbons with the essence of seasonal fruits in Marie Antoinette’s former 17th-century orangery, now a stone, brick, and steel-beamed atelier by French architect Guillaume Leclercq.

Technology meets the sweet stuff at San Francisco’s Tcho, founded by a former NASA technologist and a chocolatier, with a cofounder of Wired magazine as its CEO. The company uses beta testers to perfect four dark blends (Chocolaty, Nutty, Fruity, and Citrus) while temperature probes help monitor climate in South America to ensure their cocoa beans mature properly.

You’ll find camel’s-milk chocolate (that’s right, camel’s milk) with dates, spices, and half the fat of your standard cow’s-milk variety at Dubai’s Al Nassma, located near the city center. Chocolate lovers, rejoice.

La Maison des Maîtres Chocolatiers Belges

This shop has closed.

In Brussels’s main square, 10 master Belgian chocolate makers are showcased at this boutique, where they host daily workshops to teach the secret ingredients of their country’s rich dark and white cocoa.

Jacques Genin

Before opening his chocolaterie at the end of 2008, Parisian pastry chef and food stylist Jacques Genin only sold direct to Paris’ top restaurants. He now infuses his bonbons with the essence of seasonal fruits in Marie Antoinette’s former 17th-century orangery, redesigned as a stone, brick, and steel-beamed atelier by French architect Guillaume Leclercq. His caramels, both classic and salted butter, fetch 100 Euros per kilo, but locals say they're well worth the expense. The elegant shop also has a tea salon where patrons duck in from rue de Bretagne to enjoy a glass with a pastry.

Tcho

Straight-up, artisanal chocolate defines Embarcadero's Tcho, a simple white warehouse on Pier 17 that creates remarkably tasty sweets. Nothing ganache-filled or gimmicky is offered: just bars, drinking chocolate, baking drops, and cacao nibs, all presented in colorful packages with bold typography (in other words, perfect for gift-giving.). The dark chocolates and one milk chocolate exemplify flavor profiles of citrus, fruit, nuts or classic bittersweet, and it's all achieved through the roasting and blending processes, without additional flavorings. Before buying, you can tour the factory and enjoy a complimentary, in-depth tasting of Tcho's treats, which often include organic ingredients from small-scale farmers and co-ops.

Al Nassma

You’ll find camel’s-milk chocolate (that’s right, camel’s milk) with dates, spices, and half the fat of your standard cow’s-milk variety.

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