Belgique Patisserie & Chocolatier, best known for its delicious handmade Belgian chocolates, has opened a second location and is changing its name to Belgique Chocolatier to reflect a new primary focus on chocolate.
The new store opened on September 16 and is located at 88 Elm Street in the middle of downtown New Canaan. It is open Wednesdays through Sundays. The Gilissens have taken great pains to make the façade look as much like the Kent store as possible, with the familiar yellow clapboards, rounded red awning, and Belgian cobblestone front.
Connecticut Magazine has named Belgique chocolates as the best in the state 3 years in a row (2008, 2009, 2010). Belgique also had the prestige of providing its chocolates to royalty such as Queen Elizabeth II at a state dinner in Washington, DC in 2007, and over the years Belgique has been featured in such notable publications as The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Chocolatier Magazine, and Conde Nast Traveler Magazine. Its authentic Belgian hot chocolate was named as “one of the best 7 hot chocolates in the world” by Vivre Catalog in 2004.
Before opening Belgique in the year 2000, Chef Gilissen served as Executive Chef & Manager at The Residence of The Netherlands Ambassador to the U.S. in Washington, D.C. Prior to that, he worked in Washington as Sous Chef for the British Ambassador to the U.S. Gilissen’s job was to prepare all meals, receptions, teas, etc. for these Ambassadors, their families and up to 1,000 guests. Working for embassies gave him the opportunity to cook for such notables as Queen Elizabeth II, President George H.W. Bush, Princess Diana, Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton, Queen Beatrix of The Netherlands, King Hussein of Jordan, and violinist Isaac Stern. His particular passion for chocolates began during his time in Washington, D.C. He received his culinary education at Belgium’s École Hôtelière de Libramont after four years of study emphasizing gourmet cooking, restaurant/hotel management, pastries and wine. While in Belgium, Gilissen worked at Michelin 2-star hotel/restaurant Le Moulin Hideux in Noirefontaine, Belgium and Auberge de Lavacherie in Lavacherie, Belgium.
Belgique Chocolatier is located at 1 Bridge Street in Kent (860) 927-3681. The phone number for the New Canaan store is (203) 801-0538.