Fairfield, CT – First Selectwoman Brenda L. Kupchick welcomed Wallonia Minister-President Elio Di Rupo of Belgium to the Town of Fairfield on Tuesday, where he visited Atelier BE Chocolat located at 75 Hillside Road in the Greenfield Hill section of Town. Minister-President Di Rupo was among the foreign leaders gathering in New York this week for a session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Joining First Selectwoman Kupchick were Dustin Nord of AdvanceCT along with Fairfield Community & Economic Development Director Mark Barnhart. Di Rupo toured the Atelier BE Chocolat where Belgian artisanal chocolates are made by hand. “We are delighted to welcome Minister-President Di Rupo to Fairfield. We share his enthusiasm for fine Belgian chocolates and in celebrating small businesses, like BE Chocolat, that help make Fairfield what it is,” stated First Selectwoman Kupchick.
Minister-President Di Rupo praised the work being done by Belgian entrepreneurs in America and congratulated BE Chocolat on its success. After touring the facility, Di Rupo officially launched the Elysette, which is named after the executive seat of the Government of Wallonia. Elysette is a new box of five truffle creations using two award-winning products from Belgium: Eau de Villee, a renowned lemon liqueur, and Belgian Owl, a 3-year barley whiskey. “The Elysette box is a testament to BE Chocolat’s ethos, favoring local partnerships for our ingredients and authentic, fair trade chocolate and products from Belgium,” said Benoit Racquet, Master Chocolatier.
Partnerships with local businesses that supply ingredients come from Shearwater Coffee and Bigelow Tea, both in Fairfield, as well as Fifth State Distillery in neighboring Bridgeport. Thanks to this visit, Atelier BE Chocolat will become an ‘Ambassador of Wallonia’ and get access to a network of businesses and resources that will help them grow. Minister-President Di Rupo’s visit concluded with the inauguration of a large mural photograph "Vue du Ciel” by Belgian artist Antoine Rose, who came from Belgium for the occasion, and can be seen in the Atelier.
Prior to his service as Belgian Prime Minister (2011-2014), Di Rupo served for 18 years as the Mayor of Mons, where Mr. Racquet was born, and attended college.
“We are absolutely thrilled by the success that BE Chocolat has had, which is hardly surprising for those of us who have ‘sampled’ their handcrafted chocolates,” said First Selectwoman Kupchick. “BE Chocolat has quickly established a devoted following and represents a must-stop intheGreenfieldHillsectionofFairfield. Weareexcitedbytheircontinuedgrowthandexpansion plans and look forward to their continuing to serve the greater Fairfield community for years to come.”
About BE Chocolat
BE Chocolat is Sylvie Fortin’s woman-owned business producing Belgian artisanal chocolates designed by her husband, Benoit Racquet, a Belgian Master Chocolatier. Founded in 2017 by the two entrepreneurs originally from Belgium and Canada, the company has seen success in both Fairfield County and worldwide. Their chocolates are handcrafted with organic and natural ingredients and no preservatives. After much growth and encouragement from a fellow Wallonian entrepreneur in Connecticut, Xavier Lederer, founder of Ambrose Growth, they moved their Fairfield-based home operation to their current storefront at Greenfield Hill Commons in 2021. Created by designer Christian Arkay Leliever, the Atelier gives visitors a multi-sensorial experience when visiting similar to a store in Belgium. In addition to their retail store in Fairfield, Atelier BE Chocolat also sells their creations online and through various gourmet locations across the State. Among its many accolades, BE Chocolat was awarded Best of Fairfield in 2020, 21 and 22!