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Brussels Shopping Label rewards 80 of the city's best independent shops
If you’re someone who favours small businesses and family-owned shops ahead of giant international chain stores, then you’ll be all over Brussels Shopping Label. The quality sticker is hanging in 80 shops and eateries that have been hand-picked by the City of Brussels for their level of service and quality.
The labels have been awarded to retail shops, makers of artisanal food and drink and even a few designers. “Brussels merchants play an essential role in our city as they meet the basic needs of the citizens, influence the dynamics of the neighbourhoods, strengthen the allure of the centre of the city and create jobs,” said Marion Lemesre (MR), city councillor in charge of the economy. “These labels put the spotlight on a whole profession.”
To that end, the city has chosen not only shops that sell locally made or stylish objects or fashion but also those that represent craftsmanship or show a real passion in producing or selling a product. Hence a label went to Brussels Beer Project in Dansaert, which works with multiple breweries every year to create limited editions of new beers, and to Gaston on the Fish Market, which makes its famous ice cream – and a lot more – before your very eyes.
With 80 places to choose from, it’s rather difficult to narrow down favourites. But, in the interests of the December holidays, we found a few stand-out spots for gift buying that sport the quality label.
Le Wolf house of children’s literature includes a shop with books in a number of languages, including English, French and Dutch. It also hosts all kinds of workshops and storytelling and is just a pleasant, cheery place all the way around. Neighbourhood: Grand’Place
Icon sells women’s fashion and jewellery by established and up-and-coming designers. It’s definitely pricey, but you won’t see that gorgeous Charlotte Chasnais mixed gold-and-silver ring on anyone else in Brussels. Neighbourhood: Dansaert
Le Repaire du Sommelier (pictured above) carries as much wine as your local supermarket, but sells its bottles with advice and gift boxes. And it’s a lovely shop to boot. Neighbourhood: Rue de Flandre
Niyona is a fine leather shop that sells all sorts of things made of rawhide, from bags to keychains to knife blade covers. The staff can also work with you to create custom-made items. Neighbourhood: Rue de Laeken
Van Dael has been roasting coffee beans for more than 120 years, so they’ve pretty much perfected the process. Get beans, ground coffee or one of many, many accoutrements. It has an excellent selection of tea as well. Neighbourhood: Laeken