The love for bread has significantly varied and changed over the past five years or so.
Some years ago, many people liked their bread pre-cut, soft and not too gooey, hence sourdough wasn’t too much welcome. Nowadays, most bakeries popping up in Brussels have at least one type of sourdough bread to offer and even people at home try to make their own.
While the list of good bakeries in Brussels is non-exhaustive, below is a short list with a few around the city that are worth a visit. Other great bakeries are: Hoppla Geiss, Matinal, Boulengier, Ginkgo, La Boule and more.
1. La Fleur du Pain
Located right next to Place Flagey, you´ll spot this little bakery easily on a Saturday morning – the line of people waiting to grab one of the delicious baguettes, brioches or savoury treats is unmissable. The French baking chef Laurent Richard is in Brussels since 1990 already, bringing the best of French baking to the European capital. I tried a very nice olive focaccia, their baguette and another savoury pastry with goat cheese and ham and I would’ve liked to buy much more. They also have a choice of breads made from different flours such as rye or spelt, different sorts of baguette, éclairs, fancy little cakes and much more you should discover.
Price Range: Baguette around 2€, breads 2-5€
2. Boulangerie Gâteau
Baptiste, who is French and the owner of Gateau, is happy to tell you his stories about bread and to introduce you into the secrets about good baking. When you enter the boulangerie-pâtisserie you’ll be greeted by a large black cupboard with a selection of different breads (with grains, nuts, dried fruit and made from sourdough and spelt, rye, wheat or other flours) and of course – baguette, either the tradition or the longer version of it, the Ficelle.
The pain au chocolat I tried here was exceptional; all buttery, very crispy and the chocolate inside was delicious. The baguette reminded me of France; all gooey and elastic inside and super crispy from the outside. If you feel like something more healthy, made from darker flour, try the Scandinavian bread, made from rye, spelt and some wheat flour with apricots and cranberries. The éclairs are equally not to miss. I tried one with a vanilla filling and chocolate glazing.
Be aware that on weekends lines become long and bread disappears quickly. So either be early, or preorder.
3. Boulangerie Charli
This bakery in St Catherine offers a huge variety of freshly baked breads made from all kinds of flours and containing all sorts of grains, fruits and nuts. One of my favs here is the Tarte Tatin. The apples were soft, almost falling apart, caramelized but not too sweet and the bottom was buttery, crumbly and delicious. They have a wide range of sourdough breads and others and I also tried their brioche, which was very fresh and fluffy even a day later.
They have two places, directly on the opposite of each other, one focussed on sweet the other one on salty things. If you’re interested, you can peak into their kitchen, where all the magic is happening.
Price Range: piece of cake 3-5€, Brioche 3,5€, bread 3-5€
4. Renard Bakery
It´s hard to pass this place without recognising it, let alone entering. Their tarts are presented right at the entry, filled with fruit, chocolate and other delicious ingredients. They sell all kinds of breads, brioche, tarts, croissants, sandwiches and even jams. I haven’t tried their cakes yet, but the artisanal baguette, their Madeleines, Croissants and one of these waffle sandwiches filled with heavy vanilla cream. Everything here looks very appealing and it is hard to resist, believe me.
Price Range: Baguette artisanale 1,70€
5. Pâtisserie Garcia
Portugal in Brussels. While you can’t travel to Portugal at the moment, you can catapult yourself there gastronomically. Pâtisserie Garcia, or Pastelaria Garcia, is a very authentic Portuguese spot in Brussels. It’s unpretentious, people are very nice, prices are more than fair and the coffee and food is great. I used to sit down at one of the tiled tables with a view facing the inside of Pâtisserie Garcia.
It’s kept in dark blue and white colours with a few traditional and nice elements such as a small fountain attached to the wall. The waiters speak French or Portuguese, depending on what you prefer and are fast and friendly. We ordered a Portuguese coffee with milk (or as they call it: Galao), two Pastel de Nata, a ham and cheese croissant and a thick piece of toast with salted butter on it. All simple but delicious and enjoyed in a great atmosphere.
Just next to it, on the corner of the street, is their bakery offering even more pastries, bread and savoury produce. The decoration is similar to the café so once you enter you are leaving Brussels and visiting Portugal. I immediately fell in love with both places and I think you will, too.