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Behind the scenes at Pierre Marcolini
Brussels, Belgium | Marcolini.com

Brace yourselves, there’s a whole load of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (and a bit of poop, for that dose of unprofessionalism that I know you secretly love) references coming your way, because I’m about to take you behind scenes to where Pierre Marcolini chocolates – also known as dreams – are made. Now, if you’re not familiar with the Pierre Marcolini magic, first of all, let me book a crane to lift that rock you’ve been living under (do Uber do cranes?), and secondly you need to up your dessert game, son.

I’m not necessarily one to say, of course – we all know that anything brown makes its way into my mouth (this is not where the poop jokes happen, people.) and if it looks like a half-decent éclair, it has full potential to rock my world. But what I admire about Maison Pierre Marcolini, aside from outstanding practice of traditional Belgian artisan skills with matched innovation and creativity, is the respect for the bean. Meaning, an appreciation not only of the chemistry and the taste, but the people and community around the bean. Fairtrade is Marcolini’s norm, anything less is not accepted – and this is one of the decisive factors that I personally find validates the Maison an haute chocolaterie. So you try not comparing this to Willy Wonka and the cocoa-loving Oompa Loompas. (I do stand to believe that we should be seeing more of this type of approach in the fashion industry but perhaps this is a topic for another time.)

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The factory is an unpretentious block of a building that exudes a smell that some would consider an aphrodisiac – a somewhat spicy, earthy scent that piques curiosity yet makes your knees weak at the same time. This scent is directly traced to the first room where the cocoa beans are roasted in a giant contraption – the smell is most pungent here. With every following room, the aroma changes, and we taste each process with our noses – a whiff of vanilla and chilli in the mixing room, a dash of cream in the churning chamber… This is also where I chant to myself Don’t go Augustus Gloop, don’t go Augustus Gloop watching the chocolate swirl, until our guide hands over a small plastic spoonful of freshly churned liquid chocolate, and I melt at the spot.

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In the main hall we are given permission to pick up and eat anything off the assembly line and I ask myself this is some kind of heaven yes/no? If there were grass I’d have eaten it. The candied orange covered in dark chocolate (long poop-looking bits below) is especially scrumdidiyumptious. I am genuinely contemplating on moving to Brussels. Into a chocolate factory. Maybe build a pillow fortress behind a stack of cocoa bean burlap sacks and come out only when all the lights are shut. A bit like a raccoon, yes.

Candied orange things covered in dark chocolate

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Eclairs in the making

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Raspberry Cœers (‘hearts’)

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The Marcolini residence

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Much like grapes or coffee, cocoa beans are also identified the geographical factors of the source, so the outcome is vastly different depending on which passports the beans hold. Pierre Marcolini is not about creating ‘Belgian chocolate’, but in maintaining the native character whether it’s from Ecuador, Cuba, or Peru – a celebration of origins. This is apparent from his private residence, in central Brussels – ceiling as high as it comes, walls and corners littered with art and souvenirs from South America, Africa and Asia. After poking your head into his room for whiskey and cigars you realise, that for Marcolini this is not just a job, but a passion, this everlasting search for a voyage of the senses.

Finally, I am henceforth doomed with any diet whatsoever, as Pierre Marcolini have just opened the first standalone London store, on 37 Marylebone High Street W1U 4EQ, which also sells (fully-decent) éclairs, therefore guaranteed to rock my world at least 200%. I’ll build my pillow fortress there for now.

Park & Cube was the guest of Pierre Marcolini; All views and opinion mine.

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Write a Comment

36 Comments

  1. Cajmel

    Perfection, as usual! <3

  2. I may have shamelessly squealed after seeing all these chocolates

    http://Www.whimsicalzoo.blogspot.com

  3. Looks delicious! The hearts look really nice too. I don’t think I have seen so many rows of exquisite looking chocolate hearts together *.*b

  4. This is such a great post! So much chocolate!

    http://somebodyfromsomewhere.blogspot.com/

  5. This looks tastful!

  6. Great photos!

    L.A

  7. Wow you really have a gift at making anything you shoot look so stylish (cocoa beans hello!), no but seriously I really do love this type of article that shows you the behind the scenes of such respectable labels.
    It seems to have been an increadible visit :)
    Thanks for sharing!
    x
    Ylenia
    Ambitieuse Paris

  8. Looks like heaven! It must have been wonderful to snoop around Marcolini’s factory and home. As always, thanks for the beautiful photos and your rip-roaring humour…even the scatological ones! :)

  9. HOW on earth were you able to walk away from the assembly line? I would still be there. I really like these stories you do behind the scenes. Thanks for sharing! x

  10. I’m literally going to the shops now to pick up some chocolate. Great post!

    http://www.hercouturelife.com

  11. wow, reminded me of that chocolate factory tour I did in primary school, only 100x better and classier ;)

  12. Your photography is amazing and the chocolate looks delish! xx

    http://carlotarules.wordpress.com

  13. Gah.

    Holy frigging gah.

  14. These pictures are amazing and yes the chocolate looks DElicious. I really like the praline ones. Great post.

    LEJA

  15. These pictures are amazing and yes the chocolate looks DElicious. I really like the praline ones. Great post.

    LEJA

  16. oooo it seems like an amazing experience :)
    thanks for sharing
    xo xo from paris
    http://www.rosesinparis.com

  17. Great post Shini – now my mouth is watering and I also want a giant marble fireplace… not sure if these 2 quite fit together, but I’ll roll with it. Beautiful pics as always :)

  18. OMG! this is a magical place! I really love the pictures and I bet the chocolates are a piece of heaven.
    Glamoury Armory Blog

  19. I always enjoy your photography !

    xx
    M.

  20. I agree definitely a little bit of heaven! My chocolate obsession has lead me to give up chocolate for a year (yes bonkers I know), so your beautiful photos were so hard to look, I am sorely tempted to pop down to their shop & buy an eclair! Thanks for a lovely post as always.

  21. I think it’s pretty cool that you got to see the behind-the-scenes of how chocolate is made! I can actually imagine the smell just from the photos!

    / O.R.R. || Life & Personal Style Blog

  22. Hi Shini,
    First of all I want to say that I’m very happy I crossed your blog. You’re really inspiring. May I ask you what kind of camera you have? Your photos are really amazing!
    Kind regards,
    Marijke Versluijs

  23. Nice to know they are opening a store in London. I thought about moving to Belgium a few years back… it’s the country of chocolate AND French fries. You have to love it!
    xx,
    E.
    http://www.theslowpace.com

  24. Great post Shini! As always, I admire your attention to detail in your photography. Love the photos!
    http://www.theavantguardian.com

  25. alfredo ciano

    I Love This Factory !!! Chocolate Forever !!!

  26. Delicious & Sinful

    http://imyownmuse.blogspot.com

  27. Looks amazing! Love your photos!

    Best, Albert | Palming Pebbles

  28. You found heaven! I can imagine how wonderful and delicious the factory visit must have been!

    ♡ veena | seveninchstilettos.com
    twitter/instagram: @veenamccoole

  29. Your pictures are fantastic. Looks so, so yummy!

    XO, Natalia from http://www.darlingtrend.com

  30. Woow! Amazing photos!

  31. Interessante Webpage. Das Design und die nuetzlichen Infos gefallen mir besonders gut.

  32. I’m sure my country would welcome you with open arms ;) and it’s actually a pretty nice place to live!

  33. Great photos!
    TN

  34. OMG, the dream of every girl, visit the Chocolate factory, thanks for sharing
    xo xo from Paris
    http://www.rosesinparis.com

  35. […] to do your best to figure out the larger picture – in my case, the Brussels I know consists of: the pungent aroma of a sack of cocoa beans (with a chocolate factory attached to the end of it), the whiff of cinnamon sugar on my very […]

  36. Very nice post!
    It must be a luxury to be able to enter a chocolate factory for a true lover of this food. As you can see, they all wear the proper hospitality uniform as good professionals.
    A greeting!