A Divine chocolate cruise to Bruges

Divine’s Wendy Rowan reports on a Divine Trip to Bruges:

I’ve just had the pleasure in accompanying the winners of a Divine competition for students on a mini cruise to Bruges in Belgium.

Meeting at the P&O ferry

Meeting at the P&O ferry

We all met up at the P&O ferry port in Hull and boarded the Pride of Bruges. The 3 students and their companions had made their way from Leeds, Derby, London and Cambridge.

David, the Divine chocolatier, started the evening off with a fabulous presentation telling us about the history of cocoa & chocolate – how cocoa has been around for some 4000 years but used as a currency and as a drink. It’s only in the last 200 years that chocolate has been produced in bars and individual chocolates for us to enjoy.

We were also guided through the technique to taste chocolate using all 5 senses – the look of the chocolate, the smell & feel, the “snap” and the taste. With the Divine story, the benefits of Fairtrade and farmer-ownership highlighted everyone learnt why Divine is so divine.

Discovering the chocolate museum

Discovering the chocolate museum

Next morning we docked at Zeebrugge – (I discovered that means Bruges-by-the-sea) and after a short bus ride we were in the heart of the town. Bruges is beautiful, full of character, with stunning architecture, grandiose churches, bustling market squares, and tranquil meandering canals. We all went to visit the Choco-Story chocolate museum which brought to life all the history of cocoa & chocolate that we had been told by David the evening before.  What I loved the best was the room full of chocolate drinking paraphernalia including the most delicate of bone china cups with a moustache guard to prevent the creamy froth from ruining one’s tache! At the end of the tour was a demonstration of making chocolates filled with ganache which we all got to taste.

Beautiful Bruges

Beautiful Bruges

A lunch of moules frites and then free time to walk canal side, wander the cobbled streets, visit all those famous chocolate houses and do plenty of shopping. Ever shop offered a mouth-watering selection of chocolate in all shapes, sizes & flavours. A chocolate lover’s paradise!

Back on board we re-grouped and made sure our competition winners had enjoyed themselves. “Brilliant” was the general consensus of opinion. We docked back in Hull the next morning and all went on their way home clutching a Divine goody bag full of treats and now knowing how to taste chocolate to appreciate the full flavour. Eating a bar of chocolate will never be the same again!

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