The year was 1919 and chocolate-loving Mary Delluc was keen to spread the word about her creations. The business she created in Brussels was destined to become the Mary Chocolaterie, as a result of pursuing excellence and quality, a goal which then became a legacy.
To cater for customers eager for such quality she decided the business should be based in Rue Royale, right in the centre of Belgium’s capital. The symbolic location was established on an aptly named main highway connecting the King’s Palace in Laeken to the one in Brussels.
Mary made a wise choice, as the King travelled along the Rue Royale every day and it was in the middle of a walk that was very popular with nobles and bourgeois people hoping to meet royal personages.
The chocolate shop also became a tea room, fitted out in the art deco style of that period. The tea room offered Mary the opportunity to share her enthusiasm while discovering what kinds of chocolate her customers were unable to resist.
Keeping a sharp lookout Mary made a list everyone’s favourite chocolates and kept this in a guestbook.
The guestbook had an immediate practical application: Mary’s shop had a basement in which she created a magic laboratory for overseeing the manufacture of the luxury chocolates according to traditional methods.
Keeping a close eye on the raw materials used, she had no qualms at all about sending back a consignment of cocoa beans if these failed to live up to her very exacting standards.
She and her master chocolatier frequently dreamed up new recipes.
The hand-made and hand-decorated Mary chocolates are what can only be called little gems.
A legend grew up about the unique taste and the beautiful appearance of these oyster and snail-shaped chocolates filled with fabulous pralinés, whose secret was jealously guarded by Mary.
Caramel, fresh creams, pralinés, gianduja, black chocolates, milk, coffee, almond paste, walnut paste pistachio paste, fruit paste, liqueur, candied fruit, dragees... chocolates offering a real festival of flavours.
Brimming with boundless creative energy, Mary invented and created small flat pieces of pure chocolate, slightly rounded at the ends and very slightly curved, to produce the celebrated chocolate langues de chat (cat tongues).
Mary’s key concern may be with the quality of the raw materials and the chocolates produced but her extraordinary refinement is still reflected in the way her products are presented, from the chocolate boxes to the window displays.
Her highly sophisticated, hand-crafted chocolate boxes are real treasures, often covered with plain silk or painted, available in all shapes and sizes. Owing to their elegance, the boxes are often kept by customers even when the very last chocolate has been eaten.
The windows have not been forgotten either, as they too may be considered as real works of art: layouts carefully adapted to the seasons, invariably offering different themes, as the months go by.
To return to our taste buds: to coincide with Eastertide Mary thought about making tiny holes in the tips of real chicken’s eggs so they could be filled with highly subtle mixtures.
Mary Chocolatier enjoyed an enviable reputation amongst those keen on chocolate "sweets". Variations galore were developed and other Mary shops were opened, including the ones in the Rampe de Flandre, Ostend, Avenue de Littoral, Zoute, and, 46 Rue du Faubourg Saint–Honoré, Paris.
Mary realised her dream by becoming the supplier of the most coveted Belgian and French customers.
It was in 1942 that Mary was awarded the title of "Certified Royal Warrant Holder of Belgium" for the first time.
Mary Delluc, artist and gourmet, never got married, and decided, for the love of her profession, to spend her life in her workshops and stores.
The 21st century was in full swing and Mary still enjoyed the great honour of being the Purveyor to the Royal House of Belgium.
The title has been renewed on two occasions: in 1990, by His Majesty King Baudouin I, and in 1994, by His Majesty King Albert II.
As a reference to history the Mary parent company is still located at 73 Rue Royale, facing the Congress Column.
As part of an efficiency drive the production facility was established at the Arsenal site in 2009, where it is surrounded by other bespoke manufacturers, big names in the world of Belgian fashion.
Our small specialist chocolate makers are working day after day according to traditional methods to make Mary pralines, comprising ganaches, pralinés, caramel, fresh creams and marzipan. The hand-rolled truffles round off the range of pralines designed for connoisseurs.
Each praline is created to produce the most carefully balanced selection of tastes, flavours, textures and appearances.
Excellence, tradition and quality are still Mary’s guiding principles in the case of the selection of raw materials, paying respect to the founder’s recipes, the packaging and the customer service.
2011 was a critical year for Mary Chocolatier. The decision was taken to strike a harmonious balance between modernity and a respected past: all the components of Mary’s history can be discovered in the shops. The style of the shops draws its inspiration from art deco, elegance is driven to the furthest limit in order to set off the shine of this gem: the hammered glass is reflected in the gilded walls.
Representing femininity, the drape is repeated in every shop, and is featured in every gift box, via the carefully folded and delicately placed tissue paper.
Mary Chocolatier is paying a tribute to period boxes, such as the Rosine, the Langues de Chat and the gilded box, much to the delight of its customers.
Mary Delluc’s dream lives on insofar as the taste of a Mary praline never fails to win over enthusiastic converts.…