Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Latest Chocolate Happenings

The Belgian chocolate industry got some more coverage in the last few weeks. Le Figaro has a profile of Myriam Wittamer. The business started as a bakey in 1910 before evolving into a premium chocolate maker. Wittamer has a flagship store on the Place des Sablons in Brussels near the Pierre Marcolini store. Myriam Wittamer was responsible for relooking Wittamer in 1985 relying on the colour pink to add some cachet to the brand. She then opened some 15 franchise stores in Japan with her father.

Godiva has changed hands with Campbell Soup selling the chocolate company to the Turkish holding Yildiz Holding. Campbell acquired Godiva in 1967 according to the article in the New York Times and grew the annual sales to the current $500 million.

And finally take a look at the blog of Carol Gillot, Paris Breakfasts, for some photos of chocolate maps, those litle explanatory booklets you find in the boxes to guide you in the difficult choice of which praline to devour next.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Marcolini goes Corporate

It looks like our favorite chocolate magician on the Place des Sablons in Brussels has entered into a partnership with Nestle. Pierre Marcolini gets to expand globally and Nestle gets access to yet another luxury brand and knowledge. has an article on this news. Take a look at the Marcolini Belgian web site for the press release. He also has a US web site where orders are now accepted by fax.

Here are a few Belgian Chocolate sites, some offer online ordering:
Art de Praslin
Coeur Touché
Corne Port Royal
Pierre Marcolini
Pure Belge
Therese Leduc

For a complete report on the industry in Flanders go to this site. For a report in French on the sector in Wallonia go to this site.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Daily Commute over Merovingian Tombs

Just discovered I have been driving over 436 graves dating back to the Merovingian era (5th-8th century). The cemetery was discovered during the works to enlarge the N25 from Leuven to Louvain-la-Neuve. The exhibit at the Museum of Louvain-la-Neuve will close shortly. The contents of the grave of the lady of Grez-Doiceau ("La dame de Grez-Doiceau") will travel to Venice and Bonn before coming back to Belgium in 2009. The contents of this grave are remarkable, the ring for example is beautiful.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

A quick trip to Lille - Tri Postal

Until the 1st of January 2008 the Tri Postal museum in Lille is hosting the Exhibit Passage du Temps from the Francois Pinault collection. Usually I do not really like video art but the Bill Viola installation is gripping. Entitled Going Forth by Day, The Voyage,  this installation is projected on 4 walls, including the wall you enter through. It presents the main milestones of life in a style inspired by the Italian Masters. For a list of articles take a look at the web site of the James Cohan Gallery that represents him. The linked blog also has some good details on the work shown in Lille.