Belgium is famous for a few things: beer, waffles, fries, and chocolate. (Yes, I know there is more to the country than food, but the best way to learn about a culture is through its cuisine, right?). With over 2,000 chocolatiers in the country, there are a lot of options to choose from. Having just traveled to Belgium, I tackled the oh-so-difficult task of taste-testing the many of the chocolatiers in Belgium. Here’s my ranking of the best of the best.


Jean Neuhaus, originally from Switzerland, was the first person to establish Belgian chocolate as the world's best. In 1857, he moved into a pharmacy/sweets shop in Brussels, which eventually turned into a full sweets shop when Jean’s grandson created the first praline in 1912. Praline is a hollow chocolate shell filled with a delicious surprise such as nuts, marzipan, caramel, coffee, liqueurs, or a chocolate blend. The story behind this invention was actually for medicinal purposes – as a pharmacist, Neuhaus sold chocolate as medicine and experimented with ways to make his chocolate tastier (he succeeded!). 

Ingredients and production process

Belgian chocolates are magically delicious and addicting, primarily due to their ingredients and production processes. In 1884, a law was passed in Belgium regulating that a minimum level of 25% cocoa must be used, preventing the usage of low-quality fat sources.


1. Neuhaus

Neuhaus was the original inventor of the praline and this company has maintained its high quality standards. Their Les Irresistibles are truly irresistible: triangle-shaped nougatines with different types of fillings, dipped in exquisite Belgian chocolate. These treats make the perfect combination of textures and flavors.

2. Pierre Mercolini

Pierre Mercolini is one of the most famous Belgian chocolate makers, and it's clear why. He stands out by using unprocessed cocoa beans directly from local producers and roasting them himself to bring out the intense dark flavors. He likens tasting chocolate to tasting wine, emphasizing the importance of the origins of the cocoa beans. Pierre Mercolini and Neuhaus are both on the pricier side, but it is definitely worth trying at least one praline or truffle.

3. The Chocolate Line

Dominique Persoone creates some of the most innovative, creative, and delicious chocolates, complementing is funky, unique personality. Notably, he created the Chocolate Shooter for the Rolling Stones so they could sniff their chocolate. The Chocolate Line is also known for its crazy flavors. My favorite is the Yuzu, white chocolate ganache with raspberry and caramel of yuzu – a truly a special combination of flavors. Other crazy pralines include Miss Piggy (bacon), sake, hemp seeds, gin, and more. Definitely put the Chocolate Line on your list of places to go to; it’s one you don’t want to miss.

4. Mary Chocolaterie

Mary Delluc started her shop in Brussels in 1919, and was the first woman to enter into the Belgian chocolate business. She wanted to change the way chocolate was used from pharmaceutical purposes to a luxury treat. The motto guiding this chocolatier is: “Excellence, tradition, and quality.” This chocolate shop is one of four in Belgium that has earned a Belgian Royal Warrant from King Leopold II, so it's truly fit for a king.

5. Godiva

Godiva started out as a small boutique in the Grand Palace in 1926, but is now a massive worldwide manufacturer. Godiva is famous for its Truffle Originale, an intense dark chocolate mousse in enveloped dark chocolate and rolled in cocoa powder. Like Mary Chocolaterie, Godiva was appointed as an official chocolatier to the Royal Court of Belgium. While Godiva chocolate is pretty accessible in the U.S., it's still fun to go to the stores in country where it all began.

6. Galler

Galler is known for its interesting combination of flavors: white chocolate with marzipan and pistachio, raspberry truffles, and pralines stuffed with almond-paste and orange. Galler is a bit more reasonably priced and is a great choice if you want to bring back gifts for friends and family.

7. La Belgique Gourmande

This chocolate shop has a wide variety of chocolate confections that you can pick up in bags and serve yourself. They have all your favorite truffles in different types of chocolates – milk, dark, white, and filled with nuts, fruits, creams, or ganache.

I must have eaten a lot of chocolate, because I was too stuffed full of cocoa to make it to these last few shops. So if you're in Belgium, I've also heard rave reviews about: Bouchard, Laurent Gerbaud, Leonidas, and Frederic Blondeel.

Also, make sure you take advantage of the tasters in all these chocolate shops. The more chocolate you eat, the happier you will be – and maybe healthier too, after all, chocolate was originally used for medicinal purposes.