Belgian Chocolates question

Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 10:27 AM
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Belgian Chocolates question

Does anyone know how long Belgian chocolates (from some of those really good stores in Brussels!) lasts? I want to buy some chocolates for friends while I am there, but not sure how long the "use by" date is for this type of chocolate.

Thanks!
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 10:30 AM
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We've kept chocolates for months with no problem, as long as they don't get too cold.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 10:32 AM
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Our chocolates never last long enough to find out.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 10:34 AM
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In my personal experience, I think that the best chocolates are best enjoyed when they're fresh. I wouldn't keep them more than a week.

The store can also advise you. When I bought some chocolates in Del Rey in Antwerp, I was steered away from buying certain chocolates which won't keep as well, since I was traveling. Talk to the store and they know their products best.

Also don't refrigerate your chocolates. Keep them in a cool place at room temperature.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 10:38 AM
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By the way, make Pierre Marcolini a must on your list. They're excellent.

I've yet to try Wittamer. I really want to though.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 10:41 AM
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Interesting question, I never thought of this. Chocolates in my possesion are not long for this world, so it's never been an issue for me.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 10:43 AM
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Well, it always depends on how much one buys, as well. A few months ago, I think that I bought more than a kilogram of chocolates (that's more than 2 pounds) and ate most of it myself. I went to (or, rather, a friend did this for me) four or five chocolatiers.

It took more than a week.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 11:59 AM
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<<We've kept chocolates for months with no problem>>
These were surely NOT made with fresh cream! Many Belgian chocolates have fresh cream as an ingredient. Best is to eat them within 7 days and to store them cool.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 12:49 PM
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Few hours at my house!
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 12:56 PM
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I am thinking of the boxed chocolates I bought in Paris.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 01:45 PM
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Last March my daughter bought chocolates in Belgium and brought them home to us in about 2 weeks.
They were really fine, good, delicious, I am so glad she is going back this Spring
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 03:30 PM
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I bought a box of Richart Petits Intense last week and the brochure said to consume within two weeks of purchase. Not a problem -- they are phenomenal! We had great fun having chocolate tasting party.

Also remember that humidity and odors are enemies of fine chocolate, so store them in a cool dry place -- and make sure to bring them up to room temperature (@ 70-76 F) before eating to bring out the flavor and bouquet.
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Old Dec 22nd, 2004, 07:33 PM
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Also be careful of heat when keeping chocolate..not just the melting but it can turn chalky..I've had the happen and it's ok to use and I have used it but you wouldn't want that to happen with really fine chocolate. Belgian is my favorite..I just don't think it can be beat.
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Old Dec 23rd, 2004, 01:35 AM
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We've never kept chocolates longer than two weeks either. However, we do have some Belgian hot chocolate mix that will last. It's Dolfin's Copeaux de Chocolat (I'm assuming it's Belgian, will have to look at the bag to be sure). Makes very rich hot chocolate.
If you want your chocolate to last a little longer, buy solid rather than filled chocolates. Keep them at a cool room temperature (no temp extremes, either cold or hot).
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Old Dec 23rd, 2004, 04:24 AM
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Just avoid the ones with the fresh cream centres and you will be ok. They taste lovely so get a few to eat yourself on the side! Btilke is right you are safer with the more "solid" ones. I used to get a box every few weeks from our Belgian office when someone came over for business....it was a great perk of that job .
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Old Dec 23rd, 2004, 04:56 AM
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The solid ones may be safer but the ones with (creamy) fillings, like ganache or manon, are so much better ... Anyway, in this house they don't get a chance to get bad!
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Old Jan 31st, 2005, 12:12 PM
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The other day, at La Maison du Chocolat's London store, I asked the question about how long they would keep. The absolute *maximum* for the cream-filled chocolates is 4 weeks, when kept cool. But they suggest you keep them for far less time than that (and come back for more!).
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Old Jan 31st, 2005, 12:18 PM
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Interesting. When I asked in Pierre Marcolini in Paris, the answer was three weeks. So I guess they keep longer than I thought they would keep.

Now, what are the other chocolatiers worth visiting in Brussels/Antwerp? Is Wittamer's good? Anything else on the must visit list? I'm expecting to pass through in February.

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Old Jan 31st, 2005, 12:28 PM
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Wittamer is supposed to have very good chocolates, but I LOVE them for their pastries. They really are a superb patisserie, the best in Brussels, IMHO. Pierre Marcolini has a a new flagship store on the Sablon; it's no longer in the old location next to Au Vieux St. Martin.
A new restaurant you might want to try is Notos on rue Livourne (just off rue Bailli). Haute cuisine a la grecque. I ate there last month and the food was absolutely delicious, like no Greek food I've ever had before. Outstanding Greek wines, too, which really surprised me (although I know very little about Greek wine). Reservations absolutely required. BUT, and a big but, the service was very scatterbrained and I was overcharged at the end. I would like to try them again...I'm no Cassandra, but if they can get the level of service up to the level of the food, I see a Michelin star in their future. If you go there, let me know what you think--especially about the service.
www.notos.be
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Old Jan 31st, 2005, 12:34 PM
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Thanks BT -- I know you'd know!

Actually I'm doing another one of these long weekend things, so I don't know if I'm spending the night in Brussels. I'm flying into Brussels (get there around 9 in the morning) but out of Paris on Monday afternoon.

I've not decided where I'm spending Saturday night, but I'm expecting to spend Sunday night in Paris. Initially I was thinking about spending the night in Bruges, but I think that I'd prefer something with a vibrant nightlife. So I'm still thinking about it.

I guess it won't be a trip for the faint of heart.


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