Swatch Club invited 20 Gold
& Pioneer members from the Netherlands, Germany, France, and
Belgium(?) for a day with chocolate, beer and food in
Brussels. The reason was the presentation of the new Club
and the launch of Ketje
, the new Brussels Destination watch,
the first in a series of Destination city watches.
We met for lunch at the nice restaurant Madame Chapeau
in the Stalingrad
area in the city
center of Brussels.
Notre Dame Du Bon Secours
next to the restaurant
After a short walk, we started
with the chocolate workshop. Everything was already
prepared for us, the chocolate was heated up to 35°C.
So we first started to produce our
own cookies with chocolate decoration and some additional
almonds, sesame, marzipan, ...
Run out of space?
Afterwards, we learned about the
secrets of chocolate manufacturing, essentially, a lot of time
is required for slow cooling of the chocolate.
As it was a workshop, it was time
to produce some hand manufactured chocolates. Ellen showed
some experience and did an excellent job.
The final result, produced by another group on the day before
The workshop took about one hour
and it was a lot of fun (and we could take some chocolates home
:-) Afterwards, it was time for the city tour.
(MIM) in the in the former Old
a beautiful building in the art nouveau style
Oops, wrong city!
The walking tour finished with
three highlights: We visited three of the best
chocolatiers / pastry chefs in Brussel. We started at Pierre Marcolini.
Next stop at Frederic
Blondeel who is specialized in roasting cacoa beans
with the Santos Palace Coffee Roaster, a device from his
grandfather and dating back to 1953.
We tasted the colorful pralinés, yummy!
Brussels has a lot of comic
paintings on the walls, very nice!
Photo by Swatch
Crossing the Grand-Place
The last stop on the chocolate
tour was at Mary
in the famous Rue Royale
of the first and few female chocolatiers and in 1942, she was
awarded the title of Certified
Royal Warrant Holder of Belgium
for the first
time. Apparently, the King liked her chocolates a lot as
he travelled along the Rue Royale every day.
No trip to Brussels is complete
without a tasting of beer from Belgium. We went to the
very nice Théâtre
Royal de Toone,
a traditional puppet theater and
a typical café. We tried three different kind of beers,
two trappist and a Kriek
a cherry(!) beer.
Slightly drunk on the way to the
Swatch store for the launch, we passed Jeanneke Pis
female counterpart of Manneke Pis.
Shortly before 7pm, we arrived at
the freshly renovated Swatch store, located in a historical
building near the Grand-Place.
Carlo Giordanetti (Creative
Director of Swatch) was already present in the store and gave a
short introduction about the Brussels Destination watch and the
new Club watch. He was accompanied by the french
who had prepared a special surprise for
the Gold & Pioneer members: Each one of us received a
special artwork, a small statue of Manneken
beautifully painted and sprayed with lots of
Damien Paul Gal
Half an hour later, it was time to
the first in a series of Destination
Swatch watches with Paris, Milano, London, New York,
and Hong Kong to follow.
Carlo was proud of the watch and
the fact that Swatch was allowed to use the Mannken Pis
silhouette on the dial. The colors on the dial change on a
daily basis and once a week, the colors of the flag
Tux visits Manneken Pis
In addition to Ketje
, 40 pieces of the limited version (Stargaze
) were on
sale for the invited collectors and the Gold & Pioneer
During the evening, Damien Paul
Gal painted and sprayed another large Manneken
Pis. Looks funny!
Thanks a lot to everyone from Swatch Club for a beautiful and very
interesting day in Brussels. It was well worth the trip!
Lots of new impressions from Brussels, and a some yummy chocolate
was taken back home! Hope to see you all again soon!
Andreas Wiethoff, 14-MAR-2016.