One of the most devastating moments of my recent life was when I heard that Belgique would be closing. Belgique, the place where my chocolate dreams came true and where I have had the best hot chocolate of my life. There is no where else like it. I have no other chocolate like it. That tragic day was two months ago when I read about the closing on one of my regularly visited food blogs. After being in business for more than twelve years with his wife Susan, Pierre Gilissen, owner and chef of Belgique has taken a new job working for the British ambassador in Washington, D.C. as the residence manager and comptroller.
I knew I would have to come here one more time before the end of October when the store is slated to close. That day was yesterday when we planned a wine tasting in nearby Litchfield that would be followed by a trip here – likely to be the last trip that we would make. Plans changed, as they often do, and we only had time for one of the two activities so I had a difficult choice to make: wine or chocolate? I chose chocolate.
During the drive I knew I had made the right choice, but this was confirmed when I took my first sip of the ambrosial beverage that is the Authentic Belgian Hot Chocolate. I made sure to savor each sip as I knew it would likely be my last hot chocolate from Belgique made in store, made to perfection. With each sip a warm chocolate blanket, velvet and plush, enveloped my tongue and slowly faded leaving a trace of the purist, finest, most luxurious chocolate imaginable in my mouth. Describing it as glorious would be an understatement. My tastebuds danced as a warm feeling of contentment spread through my body.
As it turns out, we weren’t the only ones who came to visit one of the last weekends they would be open. If I wasn’t in a state of bliss being in one of my favorite places in the world, and if I wasn’t spending a days worth of pay on buying everything in the store, putting together a box of assorted solid chocolates, truffles, pralines, marzipan, each piece thoughtfully and carefully selected from the gorgeous display cases, in addition to trying to decide between purchasing one or two expensive but worth it make-at-home Belgian hot chocolate – I would have been overwhelmed by the line that had developed behind me.
The woman directly behind me tried to convince the two delightful young ladies behind the counter to learn the ways of the famed chocolatier who is responsible for creating these pieces of chocolate art. I chimed in, adding my support and endorsement of that idea. Unfortunately for us, they said they couldn’t, that it is much more difficult than it seems.
As we drove away from the cheerful yellow building with the welcoming bright red awning, I wondered what would come of this building after the closing. No matter what comes to replace it, I will always remember it in my mind and heart as Belgique. As sad as I am about it’s closing, I am happy I’ve had the opportunity to experience it. For that, I am so grateful. I love you, Belgique. You have changed my life for the better and brought me to places I never thought possible. You will be greatly missed.
In closing, I leave you with this quote.
” ‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. ”
– Alfred Lord Tennyson
1 Bridge St
Kent, CT 06757