Consumers Still Buy Little Luxuries Like Chocolate Some of the world's most serious chocolate shopping takes place in Brussels, Belgium. There are elegant showrooms with specially trained salespeople handling little squares of chocolate with white gloves. Despite the economic downturn, tourists are still bringing home treats for their friends and family.
NPR logo

Consumers Still Buy Little Luxuries Like Chocolate

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/111646715/111646679" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Consumers Still Buy Little Luxuries Like Chocolate

Consumers Still Buy Little Luxuries Like Chocolate

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/111646715/111646679" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, host:

I didn't know about that. For an entirely different chocolate experience, we go now to Brussels, Belgium, where selling chocolate is anything but scrappy.

Reporter Teri Schultz sent this postcard.

(Soundbite of church bells)

TERI SCHULTZ: Across (unintelligible) in Brussels sits a church. Its bell provides a somber ambience for some of the most serious chocolate shopping in the world, a ticket to heaven for cocoa connoisseurs.

Across the square are Godiva, New House(ph) and Widimer(ph). And then there is the elegant showroom of Pierre Marcolini, with specially trained salespeople who handle the little squares with white gloves, sealing purchases in specially designed wrappers, boxes and bags.

Ms. DINA PETIT(ph): (French spoken)

SCHULTZ: Dina Petit is the manager of the most chic brand of world famous Belgian chocolates. She describes some decorated with real gold.

Ms. DINA PETIT: It looks like jewels. That's what we want.

SCHULTZ: This multi-sensory feat doesn't come cheap, Tourist Karen Greenberg found. She still bought small amounts of the highbrow brown stuff for family and friends back in New York.

Ms. KAREN GREENBERG: It's worth it, yes. It's very much is. If you like chocolate, it truly is.

SCHULTZ: Attitudes like this had traditionally helped the chocolate industry and its fans weather past crises. Market strategist Yves Vanlandogan(ph) expects there will be little impact on sales during this recession.

Mr. YVES VANLANDOGAN (Market Strategist): Indulging in the small stuff is kind of creating your own positive things.

SCHULTZ: Vanlandgome says in a crunch consumers feel less pain giving up a new car than their favorite chocolate.

For NPR News, I'm Teri Schultz on the Grand Sablon in Brussels.

Copyright © 2009 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by Verb8tm, Inc., an NPR contractor, and produced using a proprietary transcription process developed with NPR. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.