Time for some shameless advertising on behalf of some of my favourite stores! I can't exclude all processed foods from my life, well I could but it's already so hard to shop much less trying to exclude even more. Sooo I'll be putting in recommended stores and or places into my blog. These places will still deal with gluten free items still but that I found to go above and beyond when it comes to the gluten free experience.
The first of these is shamelessly for chocolates. Yes I'm American by heart but I swear my sweet tooth is completely Belgian! The shop I want to recommend is called Leonidas but not just any of them... one of them in particular that has gone above and beyond their requirements to sell chocolate.
There is a Leonidas located in the heart of the 'old city' of Gent at Emile Braunplein 13, 9000 Ghent (Gent). They have their own WEBSITE but it's not marked right off the top as Leonidas so it might be hard to find by doing a general search but their logo at the top of the page translates into English from 'voor zoete mensen' to 'for sweet people'. I can't translate the whole site but even just the images are enough to make you drool even if you can't read it all and remember that there is always google web page translator! They do offer you a way to order products through their site but I am not a member of the site so I do not know if they actually deliver the products ordered or if they just prepare them ahead of time for you to go and pick up or if they offer both. I suspect they prepare the order for you to come pick up though because they also offer items that they sell at a small 'cafe' area they provide for you to sit in and enjoy some of their chocolates, drinks and even ice cream.
Now the reason I recommend this one over all the rest is because this one is run by a husband and wife team who first off take on school kids over the holidays and summer periods instead of hiring permanent people, I like this because it gives these kids a chance to experience something different when working as well as something to do with their lives other then sitting in front of a TV screen playing videos games.
This is not the main reason though and not the reason for placing this recommendation in this blog. The main reason is because the wonderful wife part of the team has taken her extra time, care and patience to make little cards for each and every single chocolate that they have in their display case that not only marks what the chocolate name is but on the back for the employees to read is marked with almost any kind of allergy that chocolate might contain from gluten to milk to nuts to even soy. I have yet to encounter any other chocolate store that has taken this step or this amount of care for their customers in the 10years I have been living here.
So in the end, if you really love a good box of chocolates, want to be promised they are 100% gluten free and of course are going to visit the old city centre of Gent, GO HERE! One tip though and is due to the people that make the name Leonidas that they carry a slightly different selection of chocolates in the spring/summer months then they do in the fall/winter months, so if you can get there at both seasons, do so. I prefer to get my chocolate fix from them in the fall/winter months because it seems I loose about 5 different chocolates that are in the gluten free selection through the spring/summer months. This choice has nothing to do with the owners of this shop remember but with the people behind the Leonidas name. This store would sell every kind of chocolate allowed to them if Leonidas HQ would continue to provide all their chocolates year round because this store is located in the heart of one of the biggest tourist areas of Gent itself.
Having problems finding the shop? I've also included a link to GOOGLE MAPS and a special embed to try and help you find it!
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Edited to add - Upon re-reading this post myself after making a wonderful thank-you comment in another recent post, I wanted to also point out that not only is this shop wonderful for all your gluten free chocolate desires, but the couple that run this shop also speak english quite well! In the end you will almost certainly have no problems getting what you want and require!