Chocolatier Dries Michels of Friandries only needed one lesson in chocolate to get hooked. Now he’s taking Tilburg by storm with his experimental bonbons and he designed the cover of our 3rd city guide.
“What inspired me was the idea of Edwin and Jolanda to blend the colorful areas and creative spots of the city, so I found a great way to mix the chocolate. Chocolate and fusion go hand in hand.”
What got you into the craft of making chocolate?
“I studied to be a chef. During my third course we got one lesson on chocolate. That was all it took. Chocolate is a really diverse product. I get to paint with colors, use different flavors and come up with interesting shapes. Experimenting is what makes it fun for me. I never studied to be a chocolatier, which actually works in my favor. Friandries stands for friandises, which is the French word for a delicacy you eat with your coffee. And that’s exactly what I offer. Chocolate treats done my own way.”
What makes your chocolate so different?
“Being a chef I know about taste and preparing food. I come up with taste combinations on the fly. I make the stuffing of my bonbons pop because I use a thin layer of chocolate. People don’t expect the ingredients I use like beetroot and basil. A while ago I took some elderflower home to make some chocolate with. That’s one of my current favorite bonbons. I’m crazy about citrus. It can be sweet or bitter when using the peel. However my absolute favorite ingredient to work with is the yuzu, a Japanese citrus. It’s fresh and aromatic. I love the yuzu so much that I have been thinking for years about getting it tattooed on my body.”
What do you love about Tilburg?
“Tilburg is my city. With top quality lunchrooms like Lunchcafé Nieuwland, underground hip hop parties and amazing concerts. When I want to relax I go to the Wilhelminapark. Just drawing, laying on the grass or sitting near the water. A lot of ideas are born here, including collaborations. I have made chocolate using ingredients of Kaaszaak, FroziYogi, Loc Brewery and others. I’m working towards getting my own shop here. One day I hope for Friandries to have stores throughout The Netherlands, but the headquarters will always remain in Tilburg.”