Exterior of Lorette
Address: Ave Michel Angelolaan 47 1000 Brussels
- Tuesday to Friday: 10:00-18:30
- Saturday: 10:00-16:00
- Closed on Sundays and Mondays
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“You’ve been back there how many times?” My husband Gene asked when I mentioned that I was going to Lorette’s. “I thought you were writing an article about the shop, not becoming its best customer.” If imitation is the best form of flattery, then repeated visits must be the greatest praise one can give a sweets shop. I went to Lorette’s the first time to interview the owner for this article. I went back a second, third, and fourth time because the products are delicious, unique, and I needed more.
Lorette Claey, owner of Lorette
This is a shop teaming with the best family-business products made in Belgian. Lorette Claey, the owner, chose to specialize in confections and other sweets from family-businesses because she found these products were not only exquisite, but embodied the love and respect for tradition that makes a family business last. Her premiere product lines are speculoos, advocaat, and chocolate.
Her speculoos come from Aerts Speculoos in Sombeke. This 80 plus year old Flanders business use to be a full bakery, but now only makes speculoos. Speculoos are spiced cookies made using a clay mold rather than a cookie cutter. The Aerts family keeps to the same recipe that has been handed down from father to son since the 1920s. Their speculoos have a satisfying amount of crunch when you bite into it and soften to the perfect texture when dipped into something liquid. Indeed, Speculoos is the quintessential Belgian dunking cookie, often given with coffee or tea. These cookies are a Christmas tradition but popular all year round. Lorette remembers how for a particularly hearty breakfast her mother would have them put a speculoos between two slices of bread and then dip this speculoos-sandwich into their coffee.
De Klok advokaat
Another line of family business products featured at Lorettes features is from De Klok www.deklok.be. De Klok got its start producing jenever (a Dutch juniper flavored liquor) during WW II. Lorette carries their chocolate and vanilla jenever as well as their advokaat (Dutch for “egg cognac”). What is special about the De Klok’s advokaat is that it’s made as a pudding rather than a liquor. As a serving suggestion, boxes of tiny cup-shaped chocolate (called snobinettes) are for sale next to the advokaat pudding. My husband and I tried the advokaat filled snobinettes and now we’re its biggest fans. We serve it next to a tray of spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, cloves and cayenne pepper) so our guests can sprinkle the spice of their choice on top. It’s remarkable how a different spice on top changes the dynamics of the advokaat’s flavor.
Chocolate high-heeled shoe
And we can’t forget the chocolate. The chocolate pralines and ganaches at Lorette come from Frederic Blondeel <www.frederic-blondeel.be>. Blondeel makes a wide variety of chocolates, but the ones sold at Lorette are his chocolates for the health conscience gourmet who wants chocolates that are mostly glutten and milk free but still follow the Belgian tradition of rich, deep chocolate flavors. Blondeel initially designed these chocolates for his own children who are allergic to glutten. Now this is a line of healthy chocolate made with soy products that is anything but dull and tasteless. The chocolates are confidently flavored with fiery tastes such as wasabi, hot chili, green cayenne and basil.
Lorette’s also sells molded chocolates made of top quality chocolate. Just because a chocolate is in a fun shape, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be delicious too. The molded chocolate comes in such whimsical designs as happy rubber duckies to my personal favorite, a woman’s high heel pump.
Lorette’s is located in the EU Quarter of Brussels, just down the road from the Schuman Metro. She chose this neighborhood because she’s lived in the neighborhood for 12 years and loves it’s international flavor. As a speaker of five languages, Lorette is the perfect ambassador to her store of Belgian family delicacies for an international clientele.