Have you ever had the chance to drop into family owned Chocolaterie Spegelaere in Ezelstraat 94, Bruges? If not pop it on your 'must visit' list!
Ezelstraat is in the Historic district and dates back to the 1200's. The chocolaterie is discreetly placed in the street and near to the canal. And if you are interested in churches and monasteries you will discover quite a few in this street.
So ... back to our chocolate chat.
Chocolaterie Spegelaere was created back in 1954 by Fernand Spegelaere as a patisserie/bakery. There is a rather sweet romantic story attached to the chocolaterie with how Fernand met his wife. Fernand was single when he set up his patisserie and whilst he created and baked in the back of the shop his mother would help him out selling the patisseries. Both were lacking inspiration with the shop window display and so one day Fernand's mother decided to ask the butcher next door if his daughter, who was working in another patisserie, could help. Suffice to say she did and they married a year later in 1955 and had three children. The patisserie moved from baking into chocolate In 1970 and they have been a chocolaterie ever since. If you are a biscuit/pastry fan fear not you can still buy some from them. In 1994 their son, Jan, took over the chocolaterie with his wife Isabelle who both run it today. On the busy times you may well find one of their daughters or Jan's sisters helping out behind the counter!
As soon as you walk in you will see oodles of different types of chocolates to choose from. It was just before Easter when I popped in and so the shop was in full Easter egg mode! I have never seen such a selection of mini chocolate Easter eggs - every flavour you could ever imagine.
Easter Egg Treat
The four I treated myself to were sublime, with fondant or ganache centres, perfectly balanced and far from overly sweet. The jelly topped egg blew me away. A pop of pear, that really tasted like a pear, resting on a dark chocolate base.
Do you know what 'lard' is in Flemish? Well if you do, you are definitely ahead of me! I discovered it was marshmallow. And so, with my chocolate weak spots being dark chocolate and marshmallow or candied fruit dipped in dark chocolate I had to pop one in my bag.
Wow - did it transport me to another place. A springy, not overly sweet pop of raspberry and vanilla with the most perfectly tempered dark crispy outer. To experience it, ok visually, hop on this link here
One of the specialities at Chocolaterie Spegelaere is their bunches of chocolate grapes! Fernand wanted to create a chocolate gift to take when visiting people instead of the traditional Leopold grapes. So he set about creating the same look of the grapes but out of chocolate instead! On the bunches, which are so amazing to look at - each one large and perfectly round either in milk chocolate, dark or a mix bunch. (Sadly they were too big for me to bring back this time). A cool idea don't you think?
Cobble stones and chocolate? Yes! These became the surprise icon of the shop and down to a family friend who was a local politician and a problem they had with sorting out an issue over cobbles stones in a particular street in Bruges. Some residents loved the the cobble stones and wanted them to stay but many cyclists couldn't stand them. He took along a plate of chocolate to the deciding meeting as to what would happen to the cobble stones and said to everyone there that once the plate was finished a decision had to be reached. The decision was reached and the chocolates have been made and bought ever since!
Do drop in when you have a chocolate adventure in Bruges and make sure you add lard chocolates into your selection.