Wednesday, January 25, 2017

A Delicious Beer and Chocolate Tour The Brussels Journey for Non-Beer Drinkers!

A couple of weeks ago, I had the chance to go to the land of chocolate, waffles, fries, Looking at all of my options and knowing I wasn't a beer lover, I wanted to have an experience that would allow me to go beyond my comfort zone while also enjoying the experience as well. Then I saw The Brussels Journey, a local beer and chocolate tour run by a local herself, Marie! Not going to lie, at first, I was super excited about the chocolate tour while also not knowing what to expect with the beer part of the tour! So here's my super awesome experience with The Brussels Journey!
The trip first started out with our lovely tour guide, Marie, taking us to all the delicious chocolate shops in Brussels. The first one, which was called the Chocopolis, we tried some dark chocolate pralines, which were super  delicious and also fresh since they have their own mini factory right then and there!

Afterwards, we braved the wind and in between our stops, Marie explained some cool facts about Brussels, including the legendary Manneken Pis!

Next stop was at a upper-mid range chocolatier called Frederic Blondeel in the posh district of Brussels- this one honestly was my favorite chocolate shop since the pralines had rich flavors like basil, passion fruit, and a spiced rum! Here we also tried a cocoa seed, which if you didn't know, is 100% chocolate! Definitely couldn't finish mine but hey, there's a first time for everything!

After our stop there we went to what Marie liked to call, the Chanel of all chocolates, also known as Pierre Marcolini. This prestigious chocolatier was amazing, try their "hug" praline and you'll fall in love!

What I really enjoyed throughout the chocolate tasting tour was that Marie provided a story to every one of the locations we visited which was awesome, especially when traveling around a country that has the most recognized chocolate producers in the world. I also loved how she explained what ingredients make or break a good piece of chocolate, which was useful for future chocolate purchasing (hint: Godiva and Milka are not on the nice list).

The majority of the places we went to were chocolatiers that I would have never thought about going and even knew they existed. Having an experienced Chocolate lover as a tour guide really made the tour worthwhile, exciting, and informative.

After eating chocolate up to our noses (which I was totally ok with), we headed on over to the beer tasting part of the trip. We made our way from the last chocolate shop, Meert in the Galerie de la Reine, and were directed to a hidden back street with narrow walls where we had our first drink. Although I am not a beer lover, the first one we had was actually pretty good! It was a little bitter and red in color which does not make it your traditional beer.

We proceeded our tour by going to other local pub with an awesome, spacious upstairs which was nice since it gave us the opportunity to get to know other people on the tour. Marie did a fantastic job at explaining where the beers were from, the difference between one beer and another, and best yet, we had the chance to try one of the best Belgium beers! Although I did like the majority of the beers at this establishment, our guide was nice enough to order me and my friend a glass of wine as a replacement to those drinks that were very "beer-y" if you will. 

Our tour ended at another quaint, hidden tavern that was very local and surprisingly right in the center of the city! This time I chose a very "girly" beer (I hate admitting that!), which was also very pleasing to my non-beer-drinking-palette. It was a nice send off since here we mingled more with the tour group and got to personally know more about our tour guides.

Overall, an amazing experience, especially for someone that isn't crazy about beer. Like our tour guide said, there is a beer (and chocolate, of course) for everyone in Belgium!

Tips for going on the Beer and Chocolate Tour with Brussels Journey:
  • Say yes when you are asked for water! Marie was kind enough to buy us some water at a local convenience store just before indulging in delicious chocolate. Chocolate definitely leaves you thirsty so make sure to take up Marie's offer! 
  • Be adventurous, don't be afraid to test your limits. I knew I wasn't a beer drinker, but giving this tour a try was well worth it. Our guide said there is a beer for every drinker in Belgium, including those who don't like beer. So if you consider yourself a non-beer drinker like me, don't let this tour throw you off, you can always fall back on wine! 
  • Buy from Federic Blondeel. Seriously, in terms of quality and price, you should at the very least buy the nine pack pralines from this place- local and great quality, what more can you want?!
  • Pralines are actually just flavored chocolate. No solid pralines! 
What are your favorite chocolate/beer shops in Brussels?

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