Brussels Belgium chocolate
Founded in 1919, Mary is the grande dame of Belgian chocolate. For 90 years it has been on the rue Royale, the smartest street in Brussels, a short walk from the palace of the Belgian royal family, and it has been the holder of a Royal Warrant since 1942. George W Bush bought some chocolates here, but don't let that put you off. A trip to this famous shop is a pleasure in itself. Decorated in flamboyant rococo style, with Louis XV furniture, the interior is a bit like the inside of a huge Fabergé egg.
Mary's chocolates are still made to their original recipes, with no artificial colours or preservations. The beans come from as far afield as Papua New Guinea and Peru and, unlike the cheaper brands, it uses only cocoa butter rather than cocoa powder. Specialities include white-chocolate mousse with cinnamon, and dark-chocolate mousse with Earl Grey tea. If you just want a sample, you can buy a couple of pralines to take away, in a pretty little cardboard box, for €2.40.
Mary's chocolates are no longer made on site, but you're welcome to visit their smart new workshop in the suburbs. If you're feeling fit, it's about an hour to walk along the Chaussée de Wavre, a long, winding street that runs from the city centre to the outskirts through several colourful neighbourhoods (if you can't spare the time or the shoe leather, it's easy to reach by bus or Metro). Here you can take a 45-minute tour (€12), or a two-hour chocolate-making course (€40)