Notes on chocolate: Amsterdam’s star turns unwrapped

They’ve definitely got a sweet spot in the Netherlands capital

Amsterdam. Tony’s Chocolonely is a big noise here because this is where its business all started and where its HQ is based. Like many responsible chocolate manufacturers, it aims to make its chocolate slave-free. There are flavours available that you can’t get in the UK yet and I spend some time on a translation app trying to work out what is what.

Later that day I head to Puccini Bomboni, where the chocolates (‘our chocolates are seen more as dessert’) are massive and gorgeous and sold by the gram. The gianduja alone is palm-sized. I want to buy an assortment, but seeing the man in front of me spend €60 on what is scarcely 16 pieces, I settle on just one: a walnut square, thick with nutty ganache and crowned in chocolate curls.

Puccini’s walls are lined with boxes of prepacked chocolate products and there are mini flakes (‘bark’) in higher cocoa-content chocolate - something I’ve never before found on my travels. I buy a box, which, once tasted, has to be replenished. Before you hate me: Puccini ships abroad.

Walking home we spy a 300m queue outside a tiny shop: Van Stapele. It sells only one product: a Valrhona dark chocolate cookie with a white chocolate heart. Supplies are rationed to no more than seven per customer and they make only 3,000 a day: when they sell out they shut. There is a charming ‘minder’ on the door. We promise to try one if the queue ever shortens. On the last day, it does. We buy one and then immediately return for a glorious box of six.

Contributor

Annalisa Barbieri

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Notes on chocolate: fantasy pick’n’mix selections
If you were packing your own dreamy little bag, what would go in it? By Annalisa Barbieri

Annalisa Barbieri

27, Oct, 2019 @9:00 AM

Article image
Notes on chocolate: pale and interesting
It’s often dismissed by aficionados, but these takes on white chocolate could convert the haters

Annalisa Barbieri

30, Jun, 2019 @5:00 AM

Article image
Notes on chocolate: Oxford’s local heroes
In town for a wedding and a little the worse for wear, Annalisa Barbieri looks for something sweet and soothing

Annalisa Barbieri

22, Sep, 2019 @5:00 AM

Article image
Notes on chocolate: Italy’s finest bar
Gianduia with its micro-ground Piedmontese hazelnuts is gorgeous, if pricey, says Annalisa Barbieri

Annalisa Barbieri

14, Jul, 2019 @5:00 AM

Article image
Notes on chocolate: a simple chocolate ice-cream recipe
An easy way to conjure up a bit of magic

Annalisa Barbieri

28, Jul, 2019 @5:00 AM

Article image
Notes on chocolate: the best nut butters
Peanuts and cashews add good nutrition to your sweet treat, says Annalisa Barbieri

Annalisa Barbieri

19, Jan, 2020 @9:00 AM

Article image
Notes on chocolate: learn to love liquorice
A treat that could convert sceptics, plus white chocolate snowballs for Christmas

Annalisa Barbieri

14, Nov, 2021 @8:59 AM

Article image
Notes on chocolate: precious cargo incoming
When chocolate arrives by boat it’s always worth waiting for, says Annalisa Barbieri

Annalisa Barbieri

27, Dec, 2020 @9:00 AM

Article image
Notes on chocolate: living it large
Sometimes nothing less than a whole slab will do, says Annalisa Barbieri

Annalisa Barbieri

23, May, 2021 @8:00 AM

Article image
Notes on chocolate: the Christmas countdown begins
Mark each day in the old-fashioned way with your Advent calendar, says Annalisa Barbieri

Annalisa Barbieri

21, Nov, 2021 @9:00 AM