Amsterdam for chocoholics
From bringing lovers together and mending broken hearts to warming weary souls or simply providing a decadent snack, chocolate is an elixir that has long sparked the imagination. Luckily, in Amsterdam you’re never far from the mouth-watering magic of fine chocolate. Discover tantalising flavours that are sure to whet your appetite with this tempting and toothsome roundup.
For over 30 years, this little chocolatier with two popular locations in Amsterdam’s centre has been offering big bonbons to its devotees. Puccini Bomboni strives for perfection with every one of their luxury confections. Their list of surprising and original flavours will have your mouth watering, from their signature Gianduja bonbon, a soft hazelnut milk chocolate, that keeps punters coming back for more, to firm favourites such as honey and cranberry bonbons. You’ll find exotic varieties such as lemongrass, thyme, rhubarb and very peppery pepper. Yum! No wonder this family-run business is popular among regular and first-time visitors alike.
This chocolatier sources ingredients from around the globe with a focus on sustainable and natural raw materials. Here in Amsterdam, they work their magic handcrafting delicious bite-sized bonbons with flavours that will delight. Think Earl Grey tea and bergamot, strawberry and balsamic and a selection of nut options. The caramel stroopwafel, caramel sea salt and the dark 80% cocoa are all so popular they virtually walk out the door. You can also pick up chocolate bars or try their freshly made brownies in white, milk, dark and red velvet varieties.
This small boutique, some might say gallery, located in Amsterdam’s Jordaan district is all about artisanal, single-origin chocolate bars. With high-end offerings from producers across the world, Chocolátl offers an eclectic selection of chocolate you’re unlikely to find elsewhere, such as the Geert Vercruysse bonbons which are stocked here exclusively. You can also sample sinfully rich hot chocolate and even take part in a Chocolab, a chocolate-tasting session that will hone your chocolate-appreciation skills.
Snuggled in around the Oude Kerk in De Wallen, Ganache Amsterdam offers bonbons made from the finest Belgian chocolate. Try their tantalising truffles, which come in more than 30 extraordinary combinations including Sea Buckthorn Cornflower. The best way to savour these delights is to moisten the truffles in your mouth allowing the flavour and scent to shine through, then sink your teeth into them and brace yourself for a shockwave of sweetness.
Located in Amsterdam’s east, it’s fair to say that Chocstar takes an individual approach to the art of chocolate-making. Using luscious chocolate and flavourful ingredients, you get to choose what goes on your made-to-order taste sensation. They look amazing!
With two locations, one at Central Station and the other in Westerpark, Amsterdam-based Tony’s Chocolonely is the place to pick up a bar or three of delicious chocolate. The company only uses cocoa sourced from farms that pay their workers a living wage, rather than utilising unpaid child labour, which is all too prevalent in the chocolate industry. It is a step on the way to a slave-free industry. Couple this good deed with your favourite flavours and some uniquely Dutch twists and you have affordable chocolate bars complete with lively coloured rapping.
At Chocolatemakers the focus is on purity. Not only do they source organic material, but all their bars feature just one type of cocoa from a single origin. These guys never blend! The result is a range of bars that reflect the essence of the source: a bit of smokiness from Papua New Guinea, the zest of lime from Madagascar or a hint of tobacco from Cuba. Not only do these bars taste great, they also support great causes. The purchase of a Gorillabar helps local farmers in the Congo protect the gorilla’s habitat. Bravo!
Chocolatemakers, available online and at Ekoplaza, Waar, Holland & Barrett and Marqt throughout the Netherlands
Valentine’s Day specials
With Valentine’s Day approaching, you’ll want to woo your sweetheart with fine chocolates. Luckily, most shops in Amsterdam put together special packages to help you hit the right note. Puccini Bomboni usually includes a white chocolate heart in their boxes, but this year they’re trying something new: a standalone red and white heart with a flavour they’re keeping under wraps for now. Expect it not only to taste amazing but to look divine as well! At Chocolate Company, conveniently located at Central Station, you can pick up all kinds of specials, including hearts big and small, boxed selections, truffles and more. Over at Chocstar, it’s all about personalisation, so you can send a bespoke chocolate heart to your object of affection. And at Urban Cacao, it’s all about hearts, hearts and hearts.