When you live just around the corner from Le Saint Aulaye it is extremely difficult to justify a detour to try other bakeries in Brussels given that this patisserie is one of the most well known in the Belgian capital. There is a risk of disappointment given that this bakery/patisserie sets the bar extremely high.
There is a reason why there are queues every morning and especially on the weekends. Whatever you try here is of exceptional quality. Whether you buy bread (for which he is famous for), his pastries or cakes, you will not be disappointed. He uses bio ingredients but on top of it is is obvious that the ingredients used are excellent. I have yet to come across a pain au chocolat which is better than the one of Le St Aulaye. You can actually taste the quality of the butter used.
A trip to Le Saint Aulaye is also worthwhile because of the other shops in this neighbourhood (more about that in a future post).
So my recommendations for the patisseries are what the Michelin guide would say as being ‘worthy of a detour’ at the very least.
There is little more to say about Le Saint Aulaye. This is clearly my favourite and not just for the convenience of being around the corner. Go there, buy bread, croissants, pain au chocolat for breakfast and then get one of their excellent cakes. You will not be disappointed. Their ice-creams are also worthy of a recommendation. If you plan to visit take note that it is closed on Mondays.
What I like most about their pastries is actually the complexity and depth of flavours. If you have never been, you should really pay a visit. Le Saint Aulaye is also famous for his Bouche de Noel. In the beginning of December you can try them all on the weekend before making your order.
Le Saint Aulaye: Rue Vanderkindere 377, 1180 Brussels. Closed on Mondays
2. Van Dender
Van Dender on Chaussee de Louvain in Schaerbeek also makes exceptional cakes. They are so good we transported them to Malta for our wedding (it is a long story but one which I remember with a smile given how complicated the logistics proved to be). We discovered Herman Van Dender thanks to an Italian chef and we were clearly not disappointed. When I tried his cakes for the first time, it was like tasting something completely out of this world. Little wonder that he has won a gold medal at the Coupe du Monde de la Patisserie in Lyon. Also try his chocolates for something different. They are also extremely good.
Van Dender: Chaussee de Louvain 416, 1030 Brussels. Closed on Mondays.
The shop window at Fabrice Collignon was always spectacular so when we paid a visit the first time to try his macaroons and cakes we were not surprised about how unbelievably good they were. And when I eventually bought what could be considered as the French pastry bible by Alain Ducasse, the famous Grand Livre de la Cuisine, I was surprised to discover that Fabrice Collignon was indicated as a person who contributed to the book on desserts. I was sure that it was one and the same and this can be confirmed on his website. If you have never tried his creations, then you really should go. His macaroons are exceptional.
Fabrice Collignon: Chaussée de Waterloo, 637 1050 Brussels. Closed on Mondays.
In the Sablon area, Pierre Marcolini is maybe better known for his chocolates and rightly so. But his cakes are also extremely good and on the plus side, just a bit further up from his corner chocolate shop in Sablon you can actually see them preparing their signature cakes which are really worth trying.
La Manufacture – Place du Grand Sablon, Brussels. Closed on Mondays.
Just opposite Pierre Marcolini is Brussels institution Wittamer which many would consider as the pinnacle of pastry cake shops in the Belgian capital. There is no question that the cakes are exceptional. The plus point is that you can also sit in this trendy neighbourhood and try the creations together with a tea or coffee. If there is probably one patisserie which is known even by the non-Brussels based people, then Wittamer is clearly the one.
Wittamer: Place du Grand Sablon, Brussels.
It is difficult to compete with French and Belgian pastry chefs but Yasuhi Sasaki, a Japanese patissier clearly can hold his own. It is a pity that the neighbourhood he is in is not one where we tend to go for shopping. But for anyone living in the Woluwe area or else going there, then this is clearly a must visit. The quality is extremely high and at a par if not better then some of the above.
Yasuhi Sasaki: 10 Avenue des Franciscains, 1150 Brussels. Closed on Wednesdays.
Do you know other great patisseries in your neighbourhood? What are your all time Belgian favourites? Don’t hesitate to drop me a line.