When I started writing about chocolate places in Amsterdam I already had my two favorite spots. Until now, two things kept me from featuring them in full detail. I didn’t want to start with the greatest Amsterdam highlights. And I wanted to make sure that I spend enough time with all the other places Amsterdam has to offer (some of which I also liked a lot!). Still there’s always personal favorites. And if it comes to pralines/bonbons/chocolates1, my favorite is: Metropolitan.
Metropolitan is located in Warmoestraat which really is in the center of Amsterdam. As a consequence you will find the typical Amsterdam city center mixture of people. Tourists (city travelers), tourists (weed smokers), and tourists (shopping people). Mixed with local shopping people, and people working in the area. And then people like myself that take a deep breath when entering the city center and bike as fast as possible to one of its hidden oases.
Metropolitan was started in 2009 by Kees Raat, which is something like a local chocolate hero2. To me it looks like he took another big step with Metropolitan, going far beyond being ‘only’ a chocolatier that makes fancy flavored chocolates. The central product at Metropolitan actually is the self-made ice cream, flanked by different pastries (delicious waffles!) and great chocolates. Most striking to me was that Kees Raat and his team also make all their chocolate themselves, from bean to bar. This is VERY uncommon for a chocolatier and makes Metropolitan one of two bean-to-bar chocolate makers in the Netherlands3. It is not only notable and interesting. It turns out that by making his own chocolate, the chocolate bonbons clearly gain a very original character. Most chocolatiers tend to use well-balanced quality chocolate. You could also say: neutral. The idea is that you don’t want the chocolate shell to dominate the flavor, and since chocolatiers make many different fillings but only use very few chocolate types for makes the shell, a good well-balanced chocolate seems the best match. Kees Raat’s chocolate, however, is a typical small-scale bean-to-bar chocolate in the sense that it has its very own character which I wouldn’t describe as well-balanced. Actually his dark chocolate is strong, spicy, with pronounced tartness.
And indeed one could argue if it fits equally well to all his filling creations. In some cases it can be in a somewhat harsh contrast to the more tender ganache fillings (e.g. in the Raspberry bonbons), which might not have the well-rounded ‘finesse’ of some classical chocolates. Nonetheless, it is a great flavor explosion. Even better I would say is that it makes the ultimate pairing with many of the other fillings:
Well, there was no deception so far, sorry. Mandarin was beautifully fruity and fresh, the Ginger was great, too, with its slightly hot ginger ganache filling…
In the end it doesn’t matter if you fully appreciate his holistic approach towards high-quality candy and chocolate. What ultimately counts is that your tongue will tell you: Delicious!!
Pastries, chocolates, coffee, ice cream… no lack of delicious sweetness at Metropolitan
As usually in Amsterdam, shop and production space go hand in hand…Footnotes
- I often like English as a language, but here I hate it. Why is “chocolates” both used for the bonbon (Dutch) / Praline (German) / praline belge (French) and the plural of chocolate bars? Too confusing for me. [↩]
- He also started the still well-known chocolates at Unlimited Delicious and wrote books on chocolates, on cookies, and recently on ice cream . Oh, and he also is a key figure in the Chocoa festival that is now held once a year in the Scheepvaartsmuseum. So I guess his fame is well deserved. [↩]
- At least as far as I know! The other one of course is Chocolatemakers which are located in Amsterdam as well (and which make fantastic chocolate bars). [↩]
- See, here a mild well-balanced chocolate coating would simply taste boring. [↩]