Flemish tales of the unexpected

So I’m with chocolatier Dominique Persoone in an 18th century Antwerp palace – once home to Napoleon – learning how to party like the Rolling Stones. Snorting chocolate powder. From a contraption called a shooter. “When the Stones were in Belgium I designed this chocolate snuff machine for the birthday party of Ronnie Wood and Charlie Watts,” Persoone says loading the tiny device with minty chocolate powder. “One, two, three…” The spring clicks, chocolate power fires up my nose and there is sudden rush. “Blimey!” nThis is not what I expected of a Belgian chocolate experience. But for Persoone, a man who creates onion chocolate, sake chocolate, chocolate lipstick, helium floating mousse and likes to build life-sized chocolate Alice in Wonderland characters, you shouldn’t expect anything less. In May he opened this, his first shop in Antwerp, off the prestigious Meir. “Why Antwerp? It’s a creative vibrant place,” he says. “And because of this beautiful renovated building. People ask if the 17th century antiques and paintings in the salon are real. They are. I never imagined a place like this.”

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