10 Tips to Visiting the Neuhaus Chocolate Factory Store
Neuhaus is a renown chocolatier famous for inventing the praline. Jean Neuhaus originally founded the company in 1857 as a Brussels pharmacy that made medicines more palatable by covering them in a layer of chocolate. In 1912, his grandson had the brilliant idea of replacing the medicine with cream and a new category of confections was born! Neuhaus grew to become a Belgian institution. Its stores are found throughout Belgium and Europe, selling vast arrays of cacao products in elegant ballotin boxes that make delectable souvenirs.
Last time I visited my sister in Brussels, we decided to go straight to the source and visit Neuhaus’ outlet factory store located a short walk from the Erasme Metro station at the end of line 5. Chocoholics should make it a priority – in addition to discounted sweets, there’s the opportunity to sample all of the pralines for sale. Though it doesn’t seem overly complicated to stuff your face with treats, we developed a few helpful strategies:
1. Go Early
Head to the store in the late morning or around midday since many of the better samples and box sets run out later in the day. The store is typically open from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm, Monday through Saturday (closed on Sundays).
2. Don’t Go on a Full Stomach
Chocolate lovers can expect to go overboard on truffles and pralines. Have a light, protein-rich meal or snack beforehand so you don’t go into a sugar coma, but leave enough room to pig out for this rare opportunity.
3. You Better Pace Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with so many decadent choices. We say go slow to avoid going into diabetic shock. Do a quick walk around the store to assess what’s available. Don’t overload on the same flavors all at once either, spread it out so you can sample a little bit of everything first.
4. Bring Water
Neuhaus’ treats are very rich and decadent so bring some water to wash it down. It will also keep you hydrated and cleanse your palette for the next tasting.
5. Indulge in the Box Sets First
The store displays specialty box sets near the front and bulk, 1-kilo cardboard boxes at the back. The box sets are first-choice chocolates or limited editions, so chomp on the premium stuff first before heading to the second-choice bulk area (not that those aren’t scrumptious either). Shop here if you aren’t near a Neuhaus store but want to sample their tasty chocolate box sets.»
6. Split with a Friend
Bring a friend to sample more flavors. Halve the sweets with each other to maximize the varieties of confections you can try.
7. Try the Caprice
The triangular Caprice pralines are a Neuhaus specialty. This legendary treat consists of a chocolate-covered biscuit shell that is hand-filled with decadent cream, nougat, or ganache. The iconic Caprice was introduced by Neuhaus at the 1958 World Exhibition in Brussels and has been a favorite ever since. For the best deals, see if any are being sold in the bulk section.
8. Kilo Boxes are the Best Value
The brown, cardboard kilo boxes (about 2.2 lbs) sold in the back are the best value at around 20€. Even though they may be labeled as “second choice” chocolates, they are still high quality and delicious. Often times, three kilo boxes are sold for the price of two, just make sure you have space in your suitcase to lug it all home. Other than hoarding all these pralines for yourself, they can be divvied up as gifts.
9. Mix it Up With the Unlabeled Kilo Boxes
Many of the kilo boxes are packed with the same type of praline. However, boxes that are not labeled with a flavor and only marked “Second Choice” contain a mixed assortment. If you want some variety, seek those.
10. Don’t be Scared to Ask
The salespeople at the factory store are very knowledgeable and can help you locate special requests. When we visited, we could not find a kilo box of the famous Caprices. We nicely asked the saleswoman if there were any being sold in bulk. She said they were sold-out but that she could create an assorted kilo box of the leftover Caprice samples and other pralines.
Postweg 2, 1602 Sint-Pieters-Leeuw, Belgium (near Erasme metro station)
What’s your favorite chocolate brand? Leave comments and questions below.
Lara was instilled with the travel bug at an early age and has visited over 25 countries. Her mother’s job as a flight attendant enabled a childhood of discovering the world. She recently relocated to Seoul, South Korea, where she hopes to explore much of Asia for the next few years. In addition to being the founding editor of En Route Traveler, Lara also works as a freelance graphic designer. In her spare time, she contributes as a Local Expert to AFAR, is an ambassador for FIG Clothing, enjoys vegetarian cuisine, instructs Zumba, practices yoga, dabbles in photography and, of course, travels as much as possible.
*Prices of chocolate kilo boxes are subject to change