Even though it was Jean Neuhaus who invented the praliné 99 years ago and, therefore, stands to define Belgian chocolate, the first stop on a Brussels chocolate tour should be Mary.
The 92-year-old chocolatier has its own history and pedigree, supplying bonbons to the royal family for decades. Their rue Royale boutique, the one Sarah, Jo and I visited last year, is undergoing renovations. So I visited their new boutique in the Galerie de la Reine for this year’s fix.
Les vendeuses at Mary are lovely. “If you need anything, just ask. We are here to inform you,” is how the one girl responded to my appreciation, after having asked her about 100 questions about the chocolates.
But from the caramels and marzipan fillings to the chocolate mousse, ganache and creams, plus the truffles and pralines, I needed some guidance in choosing my bonbons.
In the end, I decided to try something a little different: a raspberry teacake.
It’s a fresh cream filling flavored with raspberry (other varieties include mocha, vanilla or chocolate mousse), topped with a walnut, and then coated in sugar icing.
Sweet is an understatement.