This is the love story of a Russian woman (whose name is not Becky but Julia) and her German husband (whose name is not Mike but Björn) who had a crazy dream: opening a hot chocolate café together. In Brussels. Capital of Belgium. A country known around the world for its chocolate. Right… But as it turned out, their idea was not so crazy after all.
In 2016, having spent 15 years working in and around the EU institutions in Brussels, Björn and Julia decided to open shop, under the name ‘Mike & Becky’. They started making chocolate and selling it online, then fell in love with a commercial space in the Vanderkindere area that would allow them to fulfil their dream: using the best cacao from around the world to make delicious chocolate, and then selling hot chocolate and chocolate bars at the counter of their shop. With a little help from Atrium, they renovated the place and their dream came true.
This typical Brussels couple doesn’t create fancy pralines: they make chocolate with premium and child-labour-free cacao beans produced in the respect of nature, and harvested by people working in fair conditions. ‘Chocolate tastes better when your mind is not bitter because of its origins’: this is the slow food business, a trend that has become increasingly popular in Brussels.
The slow food movement has been gaining ground these last few years in Brussels. And according to Björn, ‘Brussels is like a miniature Europe, a miniature Earth even: there are people from everywhere. That makes the people here really open to new things and new savours.’ And the slow food business is a market full of potential collaborations, like the one with the bakery that uses Mike & Becky’s chocolate to make their brioches.
Business or not, Björn wouldn’t leave Brussels for another city: ‘In other big cities I’ve lived in, you will always remain a stranger. It’s easier to feel like you’re home in Brussels: people are friendly and open-minded.’ The Bruseleirs’ curiosity for new things was no stranger to Mike & Becky’s success: even the most sceptical of their friends were immediately convinced. Well, right after tasting Mike & Becky’s chocolate, of course!