Fire above chocolate shop leads to Sinterklaas 'disaster'

Fire above chocolate shop leads to Sinterklaas 'disaster'
The total cost of the damage is in the thousands of euros. Credit: creative commons

A fire in the Rijselstraat in Bruges on Thursday has left a chocolate shop below fearful for the future after smoke and water damage left their stock unusable - just ahead of Sinterklaas.

"Our entire stock of chocolate has been destroyed, including all Sinterklaas statues", explained chocolate maker Alex Vanfleteren to Nieuwsblad. "An unmitigated disaster."

Sinterklaas is a holiday figure still uniquely celebrated in Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg on 6 December every year. He is said to visit every house on the night before to leave presents and candy for children who have been good during the past year.

Emergency services were called to the apartment fire on Thursday evening. Despite getting the fire under control, they were unable to prevent the extensive damage to the apartment and the Alexamer chocolate shop below.

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"Because of the smoke and water damage, our entire stock of traditional chocolate figurines, pralines, ice cream and marzipan is ripe for the dustbin", said Vanfleteren. "With the St. Nicholas period approaching, this is an unmitigated disaster. We had just spent a whole day making Sinterklaas images in chocolate, and all of these turned out to be unfit for consumption. Many hours of work have been lost as a result. Fortunately, some of our ice cream cakes could still be saved."

The total cost of the damage is in the thousands of euros, including the cost of thorough cleaning, the replacement of stock, and the time until it can open doors again.

"I estimate that the shop will not be able to open its doors again until the middle of next week," said Vanfleteren.

Jules Johnston

The Brussels Times

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