Vanden Eynden Chocolates in Magog | Versō Hotel

The Confectionary Delights of Vanden Eynden Chocolates!


For residents of Magog, Alain Vanden Eynden and Danielle Lalous need no introduction. The Belgian couple, who arrived in Quebec in the early 1980s, have been tempting customers with a sweet tooth ever since 1986!

Their first enterprise was Le Panier à Pain, where they specialized in freshly-baked baguettes and croissants, but in 2004, the couple sold their bakery/pastry businesses in order to focus on another equally delicious product―namely artisanal chocolate. Their sweet creations quickly caught on!

© Vanden Eynden Chocolates

The following is an Interview with Danielle Lalous, co-owner of Chocolats Vanden Eynden, now that the “chocolate seasons”―i.e. Valentine’s Day and Easter―are on the horizon.

Given than you were so well known as bread and pastry makers, why did you decide to become chocolatiers?

Actually, we were already making chocolate. In Europe, if you run a bakery, it’s very common to also make your own chocolate. That was the case with us. We’ve been making chocolate since 1988.

Is it difficult to make chocolate?

I wouldn’t say that making chocolate is difficult in and of itself, but it IS complex. We use only top-quality, 100% pure cocoa butter and we have to follow specific steps, in order to transform the raw material into the best possible end product.

Handcrafted chocolates
© Vanden Eynden Chocolates

You mentioned you make both Belgian and Quebec chocolate. Can you explain what they are?

We work with Callebaut, the finest Belgian brand, and we make dainty, individual chocolates known in Belgium as pralines. They have a creamy or caramel filling.

Then we have what we call the “Eastern Townships selection”. These are seven different pralines flavoured with regional products―lavender caramel pralines, apple and maple pralines, raspberry honey, vodka and passion fruit, blackcurrant and so on…

Those are our way of showcasing the flavour of Quebec, combined with fine chocolate―one of Belgium’s best-known specialties!

What’s your best seller?

I am often asked this question but it’s very difficult for me to answer, because we really don’t have only one best seller! We make so many products that it would be difficult to identify a single product above all the others. Our offerings―depending on the season―include 30-35 small pralines and more than 200 other chocolate products such as chocolate bars, lollipops…

We always say that our claim to fame is really self-indulgence!

Amaretto chocolates
© Vanden Eynden Chocolates

Do people still like to give chocolates on Valentine’s Day?

Absolutely! But our busiest time is actually Easter. When people think of a small Easter gift, chocolate is what usually springs to mind. We’re already preparing for that weekend, making miniature animals and other Easter-themed chocolates. On Valentine’s Day, people tend to first give flowers or eat out at a good restaurant. Giving chocolates comes further down the list.

Valentine's Day Chocolates
© Vanden Eynden Chocolates

That said, giving chocolate for Valentine’s Day is still popular and I would say it is becoming more and more so every year. That’s probably because giving chocolate gives pleasure to another person no matter who the recipient happens to be. For example, if you want to thank a neighbour, award a colleague, spoil the kids or surprise your significant other.

It doesn’t always occur to us to buy chocolates for ourselves. But why not? Surely it’s not just other people who deserve a treat!

To sample Chocolats Vanden Eynden’s confectionary delights, head for 1745, chemin de la Rivière-aux-Cerises in Magog (only seven minutes by car from Versō hotel!). You can also buy their chocolates online.