You may never have heard about the locality “Berneau” or the municipality of Dalhem in Belgium, so I’ll explain where it is, because there’s a place there you should absolutely check out! 🙂
Where is Berneau?! About 17km South of Maastricht, 19km North of Liège and 34km West of Aachen. Your recommended destination is “Didier Smeets Chocolatier”, a modern facility where you can:
- enjoy some delicious handmade chocolates or patisseries in their tea room
- purchase chocolate selection boxes to satisfy small or massive cravings for chocolate
- visit the chocolate workshop (booking required)
- attend a patisserie or dessert course (booking required)
- compose your own ice cream cup (seasonal: Spring and Summer only)
My discovery of Didier Smeets Chocolatier
This chocolate shop landed on my must-try list about a year and a half ago, when I was reviewing exhibitors from past editions of Salon du Chocolat, searching for good chocolate makers in Belgium that were not too far from Aachen (Germany).
My discovery of this shop and its products was very gradual…
- Digital experience – Via Didier Smeets Chocolatier Facebook page, I realised how delicious his creations looked and sounded, then last summer I found out that Didier Smeets sells ice cream during the summer months!
- First taste – The first Didier Smeets chocolates I sampled were from a small 8 chocolates box, shared between two of us. I bought it from a chocolate event elsewhere in Belgium last Winter. The chocolates I selected didn’t look particularly fancy but they were all extremely tasty! The box was already empty by the time we got back to Aachen! 🙂
- Thorough sampling – Earlier this year I finally got to try all the different chocolate flavours on offer (enrobed and moulded chocolates), when I was gifted a box of these lovely chocolates! 🙂
- Ultimate discovery – I finally made it to this wonderful shop myself & was able to try the “ice concept”.
Didier Smeets “ice concept”
Last weekend, along with a chocolate and ice cream loving friend, I set-off to Didier Smeets Chocolatier and finally got to taste some of the ice cream. They make the ice cream themselves with milk from a local farm and other natural quality ingredients. There were 7 flavours to choose from.
This Summer’s ice cream flavours:
- Madagascar vanilla
- Salted butter caramel
- Temporary flavour – “hazelnut praliné” when I was there
- Green apple
Once you have selected your scoops, choose your toppings:
- Sauces: home-made chocolate / strawberry / caramel-passion fruit
- Crispy toppings: crispy strawberry bits / hazelnut slivers / pieces of Breton butter biscuits / caramelized dried fruits / meringue bites
- Cream: chantilly whipped cream / whipped crème fraîche
I rarely eat ice cream with toppings, but I was tempted by the butter biscuits, meringues and whipped crème fraîche which seemed more uncommon to me.
My 3 scoops were all excellent! Lovely flavours and textures! With hindsight, I think the green apple sorbet would have been even better if I had ordered the butter biscuit topping! I am certain the combination green apple + crème fraîche + butter biscuits would have been perfect! 🙂
I sampled my friend’s chocolate ice cream and it definitely lives up to the standard you expect from a chocolatier! I loved the intensity of its taste.
Beside the ice cream and sorbet flavours mentioned above, you can buy tubs of ice cream desserts for 2 people. They are based on flavours such as Pear tatin / Black forest / Lemon Meringue pie / Fruit tart. I have yet to try these!
For more insights to Didier Smeets’ Ice Concept, you can have a look at their video. I really recommend going to Berneau to try the chocolates, ice cream and pâtisseries at Didier Smeets! Don’t wait as long as I did to check it out..!
Special thanks to V.P. and R. for joining me in our first failed attempt to visit this place! 🙂 & thanks for the unexpected chocolate gift! Thank you C.K. for making the trip to Berneau possible!