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Information about shopping for chocolate and Chocolate shops in Calais, France and Belgium – Day-tripper.net, the web magazine which saves you money when crossing the channel to Calais, to buy wine, beer, spirits and food, travelling by ferry or Eurotunnel.
Chocolate is much cheaper in France and even cheaper still in Belgium. The range and quality are wonderful and the freshness makes a difference!
Good quality Chocolate is cheaper and better in France and Belgium. If you are buying tobacco, booze and food, why not stock up with chocolates as well?
Xmas shopping? A box of nice chocolates often is appreciated more than a nice looking gift. Leonidas have a range of decorative chocolates available for Xmas shoppers.
In Belgium a 250g box of chocolates costs just £4.80 – nearly 46% cheaper than in England. In France chocolate is more expensive, but the quality is superb and range fascinating. At the PJ Chocolate shop in Centre Auchan a kilogram of mixed chocolates costs 15 euro.
Actual prices in euro in March 2015 at Leonidas in Adinkerke (www.chocolats-leonidas.com); 250g – 6.00 (about £4.44), 500g – 12.00 (£8.89), 750g – 18.00 (£13.33), 1000g (pre packed) – 24.00 (£17.78), selection 26.00 (£19.26). Sterling prices at 1 euro 35 cents to the Pound.
There is a Leonidas shop in Calais, but because there is VAT on chocolates in France the selling price is 29.90 euro (£22.15).
Diabetic chocolates are about 20% more (but my Mother-in-law appreciated them!)
Chocoholics breaks with Canvas Holidays.
Chocolate Week. October each year in London. www.chocolateweek.co.uk
CREDIT CARDS – we suggest you ring your credit card company before shopping in France – increased fraud means they are turning down shoppers cards if their spending deviates from the norm. Take your mobile – you can often sort the problem out over the phone.
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As a general guide, for fine dark chocolate, you will find 60 – 70% cocoa solids used and is a blend of cocoa mass, added sugar and cocoa butter.
Milk chocolate will have 30 – 40% cocoa solids and is a mixture of cocoa paste, sugar and milk.
White chocolate has no cocoa powder solids in it (only cocoa butter) and is made from cocoa butter, sugar and milk.
Cocoa butter is the fat extracted from the cocoa paste. What's left is the cocoa powder.
When asking for chocolates in a Belgian shop, these descriptions may help you choose;
Fresh cream – covered in dark, milk or bitter chocolate.
Fresh butter cream – covered in dark, milk or bitter chocolate.
Ganache – A fine, silky, rich chocolate mixture made by combining chocolate and boiling cream or liqueur. Most often used as a filling for truffles and other chocolates. Flavoured with coffee, tea or spices in varying strengths.
Gianduja – A delicious mixture of melted chocolate, sugar and finely ground grilled hazelnuts. Used in making chocolates.
Liqueurs – Liqueur chocolates are easily identifiable because they are usually wrapped in coloured aluminium foil. Liqueur chocolates are made in a different way compared to other chocolates in that they have a fine layer of crystallized sugar with added starch between the chocolate and the alcohol.
Pralines is the Belgian name for chocolates, both in French and in Flemish. A praline is a Belgian chocolate made of delicious Belgian chocolate encapsulating a mouth-watering filling. Pralines were invented by Belgian chocolatier Neuhaus to describe these filled, bite size chocolates.
Praliné – Note the é at the end of Praliné, which distinguishes it from praline above. The most noble of fillings. A mixture of equal proportions of nuts (almonds, blanched hazelnuts, etc.) and sugar to which chocolate is then added. Covered in dark, milk or bitter chocolate.
Truffles – A confection made of chocolate, sugar, butter and sometimes a few drops of liqueur, shaped into balls and often coated with cocoa. This dark brown filling is slightly more compact than the fillings made from cream.
To preserve the aromas, store at a temperature between 16%deg; and 22%deg;C. This way they will last up to 5 weeks. It is best to eat chocolate soon after purchase though to get the best out of them.
Eat chocolate slowly and chew well. This allows the aroma to develop in your mouth. The flavour of liqueurs are released by the heat of the mouth, so make it last if you want to enjoy them fully.
On 3 August 2003, European Directive 2000/36/CE of 22 June 2000 came into effect. This Directive caused considerable and justified controversy as it authorised the use of vegetable fats (instead of cocoa butter) in the manufacture of chocolates, albeit under certain very stringent conditions. For the Belgian market, all chocolates containing vegetable fats besides cocoa must be clearly labelled as such.
However, the Directive does not impose the use of vegetable fats, which is something that the general public has not clearly understood. It is therefore up to individual manufacturers to decide what their products contain … and up to the consumer to choose the quality they wish to retain in their favourite brands.
Many Belgian chocolate makers have taken the view that it isn't chocolate if it contains vegetable fats. LEONIDAS for example, does not use vegetable fats, other than pure cocoa butter, in either its chocolates or its fillings.
Aux 6 Bourgeois de Calais, 53, Rue Royale Tel: 0033 321 34 34 85.
Aux Royal Chocolate – 67, Rue Royale Tel: 0033 321 34 40 43. www.daskalides.com
Confiserie Cathy, 202 Bd. Gambetta. Tel: 0033 321 96 01 96.
Confiserie Au Régal, 79, Bd. Egalité. Tel: 0033 321 97 28 76.
La Bonbonnière,42 bis rue Neuve. Tel: 0033 321 96 87 24.
Le Lapin Blanc, 84, Bd. Jaquard. Tel: 0033 321 34 39 82.
Aux Pralines Leonidas, Chocolatier Confiseur. 60, Rue Royale Tel: 0033 321 97 70 21. www.leonidas.com
Pâtisserie du Theatre, 11 Bd. Pasteur. Tel: 0033 321 36 37 00.
Jan Popelier, 190, rue Marcel Dassault. Tel: 0033 321 96 05 26.
Rogier, 61, Bd. La Fayette. Tel: 0033 321 97 41 00.
Verschelle, 61 bis Bd. Jacquard. Tel: 0033 321 34 96 19.
– De Neuville. Tel: 0033 321 36 46 00. Exquisite range of appetising chocolates – ideal if you are looking for a special gift. www.chocolat-deneuville.com
All French supermarkets and hypermarkets have a huge range of choclate to choose from.
Dark chocolate lovers will appreciate the range available and the price compared with the United Kingdom Cooking chocolate bars make an ideal and cheap snack (or fix!).
We liked the Max Havelaar range (Fairtrade), especially the "Force Brute, Noir Intense" Bolivian chocolate. It's worth seeking out. Also available are Noir Orange and Noir Absolute (85%).
– Max Havelaar. Fairtrade foods. www.maxhavelaarfrance.org
Au Marine Gourmond, 70 rue Nationale. Tel: 0033 321 30 34 42.
Les Chocolat de Beussent, 49, rue des Pipots, Boulogne. Tel: 0033 321 92 44 00. www.choco-france.com
Confiserie de Tradition, 48 rue Lille. Tel: 0033 321 92 52 03.
GLUP's, 61 rue Faidherbe. Tel: 0033 321 31 66 00.
Jeff de Bruges, 26 rue Faidherbe, 0033 321 83 89 05.
Léonidis, 12 Grande Rue. Tel: 0033 321 31 41 63. www.leonidas.com
Récréation, 132 rue Chemin Vert. Tel: 0033 321 80 79 23.
Les Chocolat de Beussent – 66, Route de Desvres, Beussent. 62170. Tel: 0033 321 86 17 62. www.choco-france.com
Chocolate Passion, 67, rue Nationale, Lille. Tel: 0033 320 54 74 42. www.chocolatpassion.com
Jean Trogneux – Four stores in the North of France (Amiens, Arras, Saint Quentin, Lille). www.trogneux.fr
– Chocolaterie Cluizel. Avenue de conches. 27240 Damville. Normandy. France. Tel: 0044 232 35 60 00. There is a museum, cinema, and sampling opportunities. Open Tuesday to Saturday, 10.00am to 6.00pm. www.cluizel.com
Auzou – Normandy manufacturer of chocolate. Le Havre, 19, rue A. André Huet. Parvis espace Coty. 76600 Le Havre. Tel: 0033 235 41 30 70. www.auzou-chocolat.fr
Musée du Chocolat, ZA Bayeux Intercom. 14400 Nonant. Normandy. Tel: 0033 231 10 00 05. www.musee-chocolat.com
P and A – Chocolate Maker and Tobacco Shop (also at Auchan Centre, Calais). Dijk 3, B8660 Adinkerke. Tel: 0032 58 42 00 27. Largely caters to the British shopper.
Confiserie Dalipan (Leonidas) – Chocolates only. This shop is in the main town itself – instead of turning left at the roundabout after leaving the A16 autoroute, go straight over and on for a mile or so (it's on the right). We found the quality here excellent, particularly the dark ones, and only slightly more expensive. At Xmas this shop is absolutely packed with locals. De Pannelaan 77, 8660 Adinkerke. Tel: 0032 58 41 49 58.
Goossens Isabellalei 6, B-2018 Antwerpen. Tel: 0032 323 9 13 10. www.goossens-chocolatier.com
Chobel Korte Gasthuisstraat 3 Antwerpen 2000 Belgium. Tel: 0032 32 32 36 88.
Choco Story, Chocolate Museum. Wijnzakstraat 2, Bruges. The Choco-Story Chocolate Museum will serve up interesting answers to all your chocolate questions and will immerse you in the fascinating 2,500 year history of this most delicious of foodstuffs. www.choco-story.be
Chocopolis. 110, Grasmarkt. 1000 Brussels. www.chocopolis.be
– Museum of Cocoa and Chocolate, rue de la Tête d'Or 9-11. 1000 Brussels. www.mucc.be
Ghent (Gent in Flemmish). Ghent is a good place to stop over or visit for a short break.
Bouchard Liescaut Henegouwstraat 1, 9000 Ghent. Tel: 0032 92 55 03 61. www.bouchardlescaut.com
Other shopping areas in Ghent;
The major shopping streets are situated in Langemunt, Veldstraat and Brabantdam. For the smart fashion boutiques try Voldersstraat, as well as the Bourdon Arcade (Gouden Leeuwplein) and Braempoort, between Brabantdam and Vlaanderenstraat.
Worth a visit is the Great Butcher's Hall which is a historic site used today as the "Center for the Promotion of the Regional Products of East Flanders". Here you will find many Belgian specialties such as chocolates, regional beer and other goodies. The best souvenirs in Belgium are also sold here. Groentenmarkt 7. 9000 Gent. www.grootvleeshuis.be (in Flemmish)
Another historic area is Mageleinstraat in the historic center near the Belfry and St. Bavo Cathedral. There are a lot of small food shops here. Look out for Belgian pastries, chocolates, cheeses and local breads.
Post Plaza Shopping Centre, Limburgstraat 2, Gent 9000, and Woodrow Wilson Shopping Centre, Woodrow Wilsonplein 4, Gent 9000 . Worth a visit as well is Korenmarkt, where an old post office has been converted into a small and popular shopping centre.
Other shops worth visiting
Kloskanthuis Home Linen sells linens, lace, and lavender items. Tierenteijn-Verlent is a famous mustard maker. Gent mustard is famously strong.
Temmerman, an old-fashioned sweet shop selling sweets and biscuits. Try Belgian's famous neuzekes, hard, triangular, cherry-red 'noses' with jelly inside, mokke, or aniseed biscuits.
The largest market is the attractive and historic Vrijdagmarkt, held Friday from 7.00am to 1.00pm and Saturday from 1.00 to 6.00pm. Buy and try Gentse mokken, syrup-saturated biscuits available from any pastry shop.
Choco Lux Watou, 21 Callicannesesweg. Watou – Poperinge. Tel: 0032 57 48 68 93. Worth a detour for individually made chocolates which we thoroughly enjoyed.
Chocolate events – France and Belgium
– April / May every year, Choco-Late. The Bruges Chocolate Festival. www.choco-late.be
– Salon du Chocolat. Now in its 16th year (2010). Paris, in October. www.salonduchocolat.fr
– October every year, Choco-Late. The Maastricht Chocolate Festival. October. www.choco-late.be
Bruges – Famous for its chocolate shops, there is a great choice available here. Look out for the famous Brugse Zwaantjes (little swans).
Confiseur Jacques, rue Adolf Buylstraat 4, Oostende.
The Chocolate Factory (sells a big range of chocolates and also tobacco and drink) – on the main road from the A16 to Ostende – leave the A16 at Junction 5, the shop is on the right just before the bridge over the canal. There is a large car park for coaches and cars.
– Belcolade. www.belcolade.com
Bonnat (French). www.bonnat-chocolatier.com
– Callebaut. www.callebaut.com
– Cluizel, Michel, route de Conches Le Roncenay. 27240. Damville. Tel: 0033 232 35 60 00. www.cluizel.com
– Cyril Chocolat. Samrée 63. 6982 Samrée (La Roche-en-Ardenne). Tel: 0032 84 46 71 20. www.cyrilchocolat.be
– Dalloyau. www.dalloyau.com
– Daskalies. www.daskalides.be
– Defroidmont. www.chocolatier-defroidmont.be
– Dolfin. www.dolfin.be
Chocolatier du Drakkar, 13 rue St Pierre. 14000 Caen. Tel: 0033 231 10 00 05. www.chocolateriedrakkar.com
– Godiva (now an American company). www.godiva.be
– Jacques Chocolate Factory, Rue de l'industrie 16. B-4700 Eupen. Ther eis a museum here. www.chocojacques.be
– J. P. Hevin (French). www.jphevin.com
– Cote d'Or. www.cotedor.com
– Leonidas. www.leonidas.com
– La Maison du Chocolate (French). www.lamaisonduchocolat.com
– Monbana. A French family run company. www.monbana.com
– Neuhaus De Panne, Zeelaan 184. 8660 De Panne. Tel: 0032 58 41 10 94. www.neuhaus.be
Pralus (French). www.chocolats-pralus.com
– (French) Valrhona, 14, Av. du Président Roosevelt. 26601. Tain l'Hermitage (near Lyon). Tel: 0033 475 07 90 09. www.valrhona.com
Have you developed a chocolate addiction over the festive season? If you have over indulged in one too many selection boxes over Christmas, you're not alone – feel better by meeting like-minded chocolate lovers at Canvas Holidays' new Chocoholics Anonymous sessions.
The fun sessions, aimed at teens, involve a series of challenges that test even the most die-hard chocolate fan including a mastermind-style on the spot quiz about chocolates and sweets, a marshmallow eating contest and a chocolate biscuit design competition.
Chocoholics Anonymous is available as part of Canvas Holidays' dynamic FamilyExtra activity programme, expanded to eight sites across France and Italy for 2010. Other activities include the innovative Waterwalkerz, which allow you to walk on water, raft building, archery, circus workshops, canoeing and BMX biking.
Canvas Holidays is offering seven nights at FamilyExtra site Camping la Croix du Vieux Pont, Berny Rivière, France from £277 per family (including £100 special "tent" discount) based on arrivals on site 28th June 2010. Price includes accommodation for two adults and up to four children in a fully-equipped Canvas Maxi tent and return midweek ferry crossing for a car and passengers. www.canvasholidays.co.uk
Happily you can order Belgium and British made chocolates when in the United Kingdom, but be prepared to pay quite a bit more.
– Cadbury Chocolates. www.cadburygiftsdirect.co.uk
– Hotel Chocolat. www.hotelchocolat.co.uk
– The Chocolate Boutique Hotel, a chocolate themed hotel. Bournemouth. United Kingdom www.thechocolateboutiquehotel.co.uk
– The Chocolate Trading Company. www.chocolatetradingco.com
– Green and Blacks chocolates. www.greenandblacksdirect.com
– Leonidas United Kingdom do them. Expect to pay £39 for a kilogram (includes postage) of dark chocolates. www.leonidasbelgianchocolates.co.uk
– Montezuma. www.montezumas.co.uk
– Prestat, handmade Organic Chocolates Delivery London and United Kingdom by leading online chocolatier. www.prestat.co.uk
– Thorntons Chocolates. Can be ordered for delivery in the United Kingdom www.thorntons.co.uk
– Chocolate Delight chocolate workshops throughout the United Kingdom www.chocolatedelight.co.uk
– The Chocolate Tart, Bristol. www.thechocolatetart.co.uk
– Coghlans Cookery School, Derbyshire and Yorkshire. www.cookingexpert.co.uk
– The Cookery School, Glasgow. www.thecookeryschool.org
– Divertimenti, London classes. www.divertimenti.co.uk
– The Lavender House cookery school. www.thelavenderhouse.co.uk
– Leiths School of Food and Wine in West London runs chocolate classes. www.leiths.com
– Rococo have a chocolate school at their Motcomb Street branch in Belgravia, London, offering specialised chocolate-related classes. www.rococochocolates.com
– Slattery Chocolates, Manchester. www.slattery.co.uk
– Choc-o-lait. A new product we found in some shops in Belgium, just add it to a mug of hot milk. Stir it around until it melts, and if you are weak, have the odd lick. www.choc-o-lait.be