Every time we visited Europe before we moved here we would hit a chocolate shop or two. Or ten. We'd been to chocolate shops in Switzerland, France, Germany, and Italy. By far my favorite memories are of chocolate from Switzerland (Heine in Luzern) or France. Don't get me wrong, Parkleigh (mere steps from where I used to live in Rochester, NY) had some very tasty bon-bons from Ghiradelli in California. It is also tough to refuse a truffle from Godiva. However, my favorite American chocolate used to be Scharffen Berger or Valrhona and when I lived in the USA I used to seek out Callebaut, which is made in Belgium.
So, just imagine my anticipation of actually living in Europe, steps away from European chocolate shops. My mouth watered the entire plane ride over. When we spotted our first glimpse of one, in downtown Eindhoven, we bolted to buy a nice assortment of bon-bons. As I tasted them, one after the other, I couldn't help but feel strange. These weren't what I was expecting. Wait a minute, I said, we are 20 minutes drive from Belgium now! The chocolate here should blow me away! We tried another shop in the Netherlands. And another. And another... I'm not saying that any of these chocolates tasted bad, of course. I'm just saying that they are maybe a step down from Ghiradelli or Godiva. Of course they are better than Bakers chocolate, or a Hershey bar. But I was puzzled. Where was the Callebaut at every street corner?
It turns out that the Dutch have very different preferences for chocolate than the French, for example. If you bring bon-bons from the Netherlands back to the US, people will say they are good. So it isn't you, its me. I must just have taste buds that are more like French people.
Twenty minutes away from Belgium and where is the Callebaut? At the watermill, of course! Genneper Park watermolen, located in Eindhoven, sells chocolate chips made from Callebaut chocolate. SCORE!
Don't worry, I got my chocolate fix: in Switzerland at the Cailler factory in Broc.
which chocolate treats to buy because they all tasted good. Oh yes, they had a tasting room.... unsupervised.... and it was not a dream. I have pictures to prove it.
We brought home as much as my husband would allow me...