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buying chocolate as gifts when you don't have big money

I am going through duty free from Brussels is Corne Port Royal chocolate any good? It is in my price range. I want to get something not available state side.

Posted by
7026 posts

I have no idea about that chocolate, but just be careful when you’re bringing stuff like that back because if it’s warm, it can melt, depending on the chocolate. I had that happen once and it wasn’t pretty.

Posted by
33337 posts

I take it that none of that chocolate is fresh cream pralines?

In addition to it melting, I think that fresh cream is not permitted into the US. It will also go off very quickly.

Since this was an hour ago and you were apparently going through the duty free at the time I am now interested in what decision you made.

(I've never heard of that brand)

Posted by
6818 posts

The better brand names are Mary’s, Neuhaus, and Galler. A friend who lived there for a while said that Leonidas was their equivalent to or Hershey. It’s good chocolate at a reasonable price. The others I mentioned are pricey. I’ve never heard of the brand you mentioned.

Posted by
171 posts

Corne Port Royal is on the same mid-quality level as Neuhaus or Galler. I personally prefer Neuhaus but that's just my taste.

Posted by
67 posts

My advice is to go to smaller artisanal shops if you have the time. The best brands according to google top searches are the best marketeers in my opinion. Brands like Galler, Leonidas, Cote d'or,... are supermarket brands in Belgium. It's ok for daily use but I wouldn't call them superb. Corne Port Royal is ok, it's comparable to Mary's & Neuhaus.

Herman Van Dender, Pierre Plas and Dominique Persoone (Chocolate Line) have won prices as the best chocolatier in the different regions in Belgium. You could also combine the best of both worlds and go to a beer and chocolate pairing :-).

The problem with the bigger brands (Neuhaus, Pierre Marcolini, Godiva,...) is that they are very pricey and not always worth the money, atleast in my opinion. The smaller brands (e.g. Herman Van Dender) are also pricey but atleast you'll get value for money.

Posted by
33337 posts

following on from NSTTSN's comments just above, not all is as you might think with some of the big hitters.

Godiva, for instance, does indeed have production lines at their factory in Belgium. But also in Reading, Pennsylvania, and in Turkey.

It used to be owned by Campbell Soups and is now owned by a Turkish company.

Headquartered not in either Turkey or Belgium, but at 333 West 34th Street, New York City, in the good old US of A.

Posted by
7571 posts

I am not bad-mouthing Neuhaus or Godiva, but I don't see the point of bringing something home that can be bought in most large cities of the world, including Chicago and Los Angeles, for example. (I understand being at the airport and needing something quick to hand out at home!)

One superb artisanal brand I've bought is Burie, which may have only one store, in Antwerp.

I don't think the reverse is true, but I have been told that many Europeans, especially in the U.K., dislike Hershey's milk chocolate because it is made by an entirely different process. To them it tastes like soured milk or something like that.

Posted by
2141 posts

The problem with Hershey and other US/UK chocolate brands is that what they produce isn't even considered chocolate under EU law. There are quite strict requirements as to what you are allowed to put in chocolate. A lot of the industrially produced stuff from the US and UK is not really suitable for human consumption.
Another way in which Brexit has made the UK worse...

When I pass through Belgium one of the things I buy are big bags of Chocotoff. Another thing you can't easily fine elsewhere,. And they are not as sensitive.

Posted by
7026 posts

Godiva, for instance, does indeed have production lines at their factory in Belgium. But also in Reading, Pennsylvania, and in Turkey.

That's interesting - Reading is only about an hour away from Hershey, PA.

Posted by
6751 posts

I actually tried Hershey's at the end of last year- it was on special offer (allegedly half price, 50p per bar) in our supermarkets, and I am aware that it is not generally liked over here.
I didn't dislike it, but couldn't really see what the fuss was all about.
It was OK, wouldn't by any means be my first choice but to my taste nothing to complain about either. So I'm neutral, sat firmly on the fence.