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What could be better than tasting a piece of chocolate in the morning? It not only awakens your five senses, but also improves your mood. Chocolate makes you happy, that is a fact. But did you know that in Bruges there is a link between chocolate, Louis of Gruuthuse and the Bruges swans?
Say: "Bruges" and everyone answers you with: "swan". There are indeed some 120 who float stately on the Bruges canals. All thanks to Emperor Maximilian “Max" of Austria who, at least according to legend, was not at all popular in Bruges. After all, he took away more and more freedoms and privileges until the Bruggeling had had enough. Max was taken prisoner on one of his visits and locked up in the Craenenburgh house on the Market Square. There he had a perfect view of the execution of his counsel Pieter Lanckhals. In the end, Max decided the conflict in his favour and forced the people of Bruges to keep “long-necks” for all eternity.
The "Brugsche Swaentje" (Bruges swans)
This legend will compel the City of Bruges to call its city chocolate "Brugsche Swaentje", with the most delicious but secret recipe chosen by the population. Put it in your mouth and bite off a bit. Sweet milk chocolate, crispy because of the Bruges 'kletskop' and filled with almond praline. You know the taste that explodes in your mouth and yet it is difficult to identify it. Is it gingerbread or cinnamon? No, it is none of this, because it is… gruit.
And so the famous Bruggeling Louis, lord of Gruuthuse, appears on the scene. That man has inherited an immense fortune that was amassed thanks to the monopoly on the sale of gruit. Now, what the hell is gruit? The base is bog myrtle, today a rather rare peat plant. You add different spices at will and you get a medieval spice mixture to flavour your beer: gruit. The fact that the beer also keeps longer, is a bonus.
The guides of S-wan also make the link between the Bruges swans, Louis of Gruuthuse and the ‘Brugsche Swaentje’ in their 'Choc' around the clock' walk. Everything you wanted to know about chocolate, but never dared to ask. And only visitors with a good mood, because you can also taste!
(The real "Brugsche Swaentje" is only available at those chocolate shops in Bruges that bear the mention of "Official Dealer").