Raised a global citizen, to an Irish father and American mother, Kiri has lived and worked in five c...
The best chocolateries in the Netherlands14 April 2017, by Kiri Scully
Spring is in the air, and what better way to celebrate than with a selection of quality chocolate! Like the speciality coffee movement that imports quality beans from coffee plantations around the world, chocolate is quickly gaining momentum with its own speciality cocoa beans, from single origins to blends, from the rich soils of far away lands.
Whilst many speciality coffee cafes are starting to stock quality chocolate to compliment their liquid gold, the Netherlands also hosts an impressive selection of chocolateries and ateliers. So with Easter around the corner, why not have a little gander around some of these chocolate havens?
Chocolateries around the Netherlands
Here are some of our favourite chocolateries around the Netherlands, listed in alphabetical order:
› Bonbon Atelier Luca
Grote Kromme Elleboog 12, 9712 BK Groningen
A little goes a long way at this atelier. Bonbon Atelier Luca has an impressive selection of high-quality bonbons available to all, and as chocolate connoisseurs will know, you don't need to eat a lot when you've got the right stuff in stock.
It's a small shop where chocolate aromas greet you as you struggle to make a choice. With a fine version of typically Dutch cream-filled truffles, as well as caramel and passion fruit bonbons, this place is a must if you happen to be up north in Groningen.
› Chocolaterie Pierre
Kleine Houtstraat 1, 2011DD Haarlem
Houttuin 2, 2181JG Hillegom
Chocolaterie Pierre is a family run shop. It originally opened in 1994 by Piet van Soest in Hillegom, and was the first of its kind with an open kitchen.
Now his children Gert and Karin van Soest have taken over with an aim to provide their customers with chocolates made on the day! With mouth-watering flavours, this chocolaterie claims that their 70 percent dark recipe can convert even those who dislike chocolate.
In 2011, their son Jeffry opened a branch in Haarlem and they also started selling home-made ice-cream. If you live nearby, you can also order online and have the chocolates delivered to your work or home.
Chocolate Atelier Puur began in 2006 when Peter van Driel decided it was time for a career change. Chocolate was already in his routes as his father ran a chocolate factory in Amsterdam at the beginning of the 20th century.
Peter only uses one kind of fair trade chocolate, the French brand Valrhona, and the reason it's called Puur is because he does not use any fragrances, dyes or additives; the chocolate comes straight from their own plantations.
Besides the more standard bonbon flavours, Puur also has some intriguing delights that are worth a try such as Black Current with Violets and Caramelised White Chocolate, Red Port with Stilton Cheese, and Absinthe. So even if you don't live in Gouda, it may be worth a visit!
What's nice about Puur is that they don't only offer workshops for adults, they also host fun workshops for children, all at reasonable prices. And if you've got a celebration coming up, their chocolatiers will sculpt a portrait of your favourite person if you provide them with a picture, or simply describe their character or hobbies, and they'll whip something up.
› Chocolaterie van Dam
Raadhuisstraat 60, 2101HJ Heemstede
Having won awards for the best Belgian chocolate, Chocolaterie van Dam is not to be missed. Situated in Heemstede, this chocolaterie has been working with a family recipe from 1901, so they must be doing something right! They make their chocolate in an open studio, fresh each day, so passersby can get a glimpse of how this art reaches the shop.
Chocolaterie van Dam believes in sculpting delicious chocolate from four simple main ingredients, namely butter, vanilla, cream and chocolate. The studio hosts three-hour workshops where you can make your own chocolate and have an immense amount of fun whilst doing so.
Hazenstraat 25A, 1016 SM Amsterdam
Chocolátl is a speciality chocolate shop, often likening themselves to more of a "chocolate gallery", promoting and displaying a grandiose selection of the highest quality of chocolate from around the world. With a focus on artisanal, single origin bars, offering nothing short of an eclectic mix, along with bonbons from chocolatier Geert Vercruysse.
Chocolátl also offers locally roasted coffee, premium origin teas and single-estate hot chocolate. Soon enough, they'll also be offering a chocolate subscription where they'll send a carefully selected box of the latest chocolate extravaganza straight to your address, but if that wasn't enough, they encourage you to come in for a chocolate consultation. You won't be disappointed.
› De Bonte Koe
Delftsevaart 26, 3011 HL Rotterdam
Lange Haven 54-56, 3111 CH Schiedam
Bergse Dorpsstraat 25, 3054 GA Rotterdam
This southern favourite began thanks to two siblings; Carmel Kelly Klein (great name) and her brother, Cees Klein, who in 1992 hosted a chocolate workshop in an old gin distillery in Schiedam. Little did they know, their chocolate workshop, originally aimed entirely at the gifts industry, would defy categories and expand to include a shop or three, spreading across town to Rotterdam.
De Bonte Koe, known in English as The Spotted Cow, personalises their chocolates and packages them in a little wooden box for the perfect gift, but they also sell bars of quality chocolate that is authorised by the Cocoa Foundation, which promises to work on fair terms directly with the farmers.
De Bonte Koe hosts workshops, events and can often be found at festivals and pop-up shops.
› Ganache Amsterdam
Oudekerksplein 17, 1012 GX Amsterdam
Puccini Bomboni, Amsterdam
If you're looking for an "explosion of flavour" then Ganache in the heart of Amsterdam would be a prime choice. Their unique trait is that they use edible flowers as an ingredient, and they make sure their chocolates are bite-size so that you can experience those flavours in one go with a burst.
Their Flower Power truffles use real fruits, flowers and the finest of spices. The Duindoorn Korenbloem (Seabuckthorn Cornflower) will leave your palate with a memorable first impression. Their store is situated in De Oude Kerk, which makes for an atmospheric chocolate-tasting location.
› Hop en Stork
Passage 82, 2511 AE Den Haag
Lijnmarkt 1, 3511KE Utrecht
If there was a hipster chocolaterie, then this would be it! Hop and Stork has a coffee lounge where you can take your time to enjoy the sweet and savoury flavours on offer. The shop is built in a Dutch UNESCO monument from 1885, which has a chocolate factory on the ground floor along with two tasting rooms that include their own outdoor terrace.
Claiming that chocolate and coffee compliment each other, this cafe aims to pamper their guests by offering the best of exquisite flavours, which it definitely does, but have you ever heard of chocolate and cheese? At Hop en Stork, you can get old Reypenaer cheese on a roll with a balsamic chocolate dip. Perhaps an acquired taste!
Founded by Arnout Kors and Monique Korenhof, K&K claims to be the smallest chocolate factory in the world. Situated in the charming city of Maastricht, the atelier produces first-class chocolate with high-quality ingredients. Boasting delicious, exclusive and handmade products, they sell their stock to restaurants and hotels, personalising small orders where possible.
They also stock their bars in various locations throughout the Netherlands with flavours ranging in percentages as well as interesting flavours; some of which include Butter Cookies and Star Anise, and Caramel with Fleur de Sel.
K&K also currently offer two workshops; a Chocolate and Wine workshop, which aims to train you in matching the two, and a Tempering Chocolate session that is very hands on, showing you how to get the balance right when attempting to make chocolate at home.
› Lara’s Chocolaterie
Jodenbreestraat 50, 1011NM Amsterdam
Possibly still a little secret of Amsterdam, Lara's Chocolaterie specialises in Belgian chocolate. With chocolatiers that follow 60-year-old recipes, she has a wide selection of treats to tickle those curious taste buds.
From pralines to various types of fillings, different shapes and sizes, she is particularly renowned for her chocolate high-heels. In fact, they are so impressive, they've made it to the window display. Lara's gets a fresh delivery of stock every month.
› Puccini Bomboni
Singel 184, 1016 AA Amsterdam
Staalstraat 17, 1011 JK Amsterdam
With two branches in the heart of Amsterdam, Puccini Bomboni began crafting chocolate some 30 years ago, and we are profoundly pleased that they did! Not only are their chocolates "larger" than what most other chocolateries have on offer, but they are also cover a unique spectrum of flavours and textures that literally melt in your mouth.
The chocolates are carefully selected and quality takes precedence. For this reason, all chocolates must be collected, but with the rich smells that greet you at the door, it adds to the overall sensory experience.
› Urban Cocoa
Rozengracht 200, 1016 NK Amsterdam
Huidenstraat 30, 1016 ET Amsterdam
Urban Cocoa houses a 400m2 workshop where all the chocolate they sell is produced. Visitors can peek in to see how they make magic. Founded in 2013, and led by chocolatier Hans Mekking, their stores have an impressive selection of chocolate from practically every corner of the planet ranging from lower percentages of milk to a variety of higher-percentage dark chocolate.
They also make bonbons, though somewhat on the sweet side, they do have interesting flavours including Strawberry and Basil, Earl Grey and Bergamont, and Champagne.
Nieuwe Spiegelstraat 72, 1017 DH Amsterdam
Vanroselen specialises in exclusive international brands and homemade chocolates with the pure flavour of cocoa with the subtle influences of herbs, fruit and spices. With boxes of the homemade delights available in small, medium, large or even extra large, customers can choose from a wide variety of flavours such as Cinnamon, Lemongrass, Irish Coffee and Salted Peanut Caramel.
Their international chocolate bars guarantee Fair and Direct Trade, grown and transported sustainably, and organic, where possible. Their brands include Acalli, Bonnat, Chocolate Makers, Dean & DeLuca, Dick Taylor, Fruitition, Manoa, Menakao, Raaka and Taza. Vanroselen also offers tasting sessions to those truly passionate about chocolate.
Have we missed your favourite? Then please add them in the comments below.