Belgium, Brussels

Chouconut

18th February 2017

Chouconut stole my heart in Brussels. From the moment I stepped into this dessert dreamland, I was completely enchanted. It is here that my series of Belgium food posts begins.

On a Tuesday morning, I made my way to the multicultural neighbourhood of Saint-Gilles in the south of Brussels. The sun was shining, the sky was blue, and I had Chouconut on my mind. The focus of this patisserie is high quality and visually-captivating treats. It’s all in the name:

“Chou” for choux pastry.

“Co” for cookie.

“Nut” for donut.

The small choux pastries are beautiful works of art. Each flavour is a small puff of choux filled with a handcrafted cream. The morning of my visit there were 7 flavours to choose from: salted caramel, Snickers (dark chocolate, salted caramel, peanuts), vanilla and candied lemon, caramelised apple, pear & blackcurrant, mango & passionfruit, and lemon yuzu. I loved the variety in the flavours because there was something for everyone (and it was genuinely hard to choose among them).

I opted for 3 choux: caramelised apple, Snickers, and salted caramel. The man behind the counter, who is also one of the owners, informed me that there was a sitting room upstairs. So up I went, only to discover a bright room decorated with comfy arm chairs, old lamps, and a large window overlooking the street below. The room instantly welcomed me in and I realized that everything at Chouconut is meticulously made with care. The shop front, the logo, the decor, the pastries – everything is thoughtfully designed to create an inviting, modern, tasteful, and charming atmosphere.

Being early, I had the room to myself. I settled in, my treats and coffee were brought up to me, and a lengthy photo session ensued. I had to take advantage of having this beautiful and well-lit room to myself! I actually couldn’t get enough of these photogenic pastries. They were such a pleasure to photograph!

Once I felt that I had taken enough photos, I took my first bites. They were incredible! The choux pastry was light and delicate, while the cream within each one was decadently smooth and rich in flavour. I was hugely impressed. Each choux offered a unique taste experience and they epitomized their central ingredients – be they apples, caramel or chocolate. These little treasures – so refined, so elegant – won my heart.

   

I decided that getting three just wasn’t enough. I needed to indulge in more of Chouconut’s food art. So I reappeared at the front counter for round two. This time I wanted to try a cookie, but choosing just one was REALLY hard when the available flavours were classic chocolate chip, double chocolate chip, and chocolate chip with caramelized pecans. I wanted one of each, but that would be too gluttonous (plus I still had a full day of eating in Brussels ahead)! So I opted for a classic chocolate chip cookie and a mango passion fruit choux.

The mango passionfruit cream inside the choux pastry was luscious; the perfect blend of both fruits. It could not have been more spot on. And the cookie, oh baby that cookie. It was the epitome of the classic chocolate chip cookie: big chunks of chocolate in a cookie base that was sweet and soft, yet just crunchy enough. It wasn’t brittle, nor was it too crumbly. It was – in my opinion – the optimal cookie texture. Thankfully, I had the upstairs room to myself as I took my time enjoying this exemplar of biscuit mastery. I wanted to take the whole batch with me. Actually, I wanted to uproot Chouconut from its little nook on Avenue Jean Volders and bring it with me EVERYWHERE. If I had a magic handbag like Hermione’s – the one that holds an entire room – I would put Choconut in mine. I don’t even need to think twice about that.

Apart from being able to enjoy their delightful pastries and cookies, you can also buy their homemade jams, salted caramel spread, and sablés (of which gluten-free options are available). If it weren’t for the fact that I was only travelling with carry-on baggage, I would have 100% bought a jam and a caramel spread. Instead, I had to settle for a bag of chocolate fleur de sel sablés to share with my extended family who were hosting me in Brussels. That night, we tasted them and just about cried over how good they were. Chouconut is quite simply the gift that keeps on giving.

So it’s safe to say that everything at Chouconut is fantastic. The owners and pastry chefs – Baptiste Mandon and Giovanni Malecot – have a vision, they aim to produce the best quality desserts, and they’re totally nailing it. Finding Chouconut was like hitting the patisserie jackpot. I walked out of there a winner.

To close, I’ll say this:

Chouconut, you are a distinguished highlight from my week in Belgium and I’m confessing my love for you. From the bottom of my foodie heart, je t’aime.


Website: http://www.chouconut.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Chouconut/

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/chouconut/

Nearest metro station: Porte de Hal / Hallepoort


Jess

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