It’s hard to avoid chocolate when you’re visiting Belgium and especially so in Bruges, where there are chocolate shops galore. As if it weren’t enough to be tempted by hundreds of chocolate shops, hot chocolate drinks are also widely available on menus around the city. One tea room that we highly recommend is De Proeverie, where we sampled their speciality hot chocolate.
De Proeverie is located in Katelijnestraat, close to one of the canal point pick-up points in Bruges and across the road from their sister shop, Sukerbuyc, where they make chocolate. Unlike many of the other chocolate shops in Bruges, Sukerbuyc has a slightly strange policy of not allowing anyone in their shop unless you’re buying something – and they adhere to it strictly – so if you simply want to browse their offerings, you’re stuck doing so through the window outside.
Quite how they manage to keep this policy going, when there are so many other chocolate shops competing for business and welcoming customers with open arms, remains to be seen. However, if you’re interested in finding out more about their chocolate and tasting it, then it’s a far better option to start across the road in De Proeverie (which means Tastery in Flemish), where they’re happy to let you in.The De Proeverie Tea Room claims to be the only place in Bruges that serves proper English Tea, but most tourists come here to sample the chocolate. A selection of pastries, scones, cakes and ice creams are also on offer. Set at the back of the shop, the café area is in two parts and is very nicely decorated in a shabby chic style, with a gentle ambience and a number of tables and chairs dotted around.
After you’re seated and have chosen what you’ll have from the menu, a waitress will come and take your order. With the hot chocolate option, the individual components are prepared at the counter – if you’re sitting close enough, you can see this in action. The hot chocolate arrives served on an individual small tray with a large mug of steaming milk, a small saucer of melted hot chocolate, a dish of fresh whipped cream and a plate of four handmade chocolates.
The small dish of hot chocolate is perched on the top of the mug, with the idea being that it’s you that gets the pleasure of tipping it in, mixing it up and creating your own hot chocolate drink. The whipped cream is then spooned on top, for the perfect finish.
It sounds like heaven and indeed it tastes like heaven too! It’s so nicely presented, and tastes so gorgeous, that you want to savor it and make it last as long as possible, rather than guzzling it down in lightening quick time.
The chocolates you receive with your order (usually a mix of three or four milk, white and dark) are a very nice added touch and are handmade over at the Sukerbuyc chocolaterie. It’s a nice opportunity to get to taste their chocolate, without the pressure having to buy — if you try and enter the Sukerbuyc shop.
With the chocolates to eat, and the hot chocolate to drink, all in all, it’s a rather indulgent experience, but one that chocoholics visiting Bruges shouldn’t miss. The Tea Rooms are open daily from 9.30am to 18.00 and the cost of a hot chocolate is Euro3.50.
Tea Room De Proeverie
Tel 00 32 (50) 33 08 87