The trend these days: buying local, also known as 'shopping local'. Everywhere you see actions and campaigns about buying local, but why is it better to buy local? Below, I list the advantages for you. Afterwards, I will give you my favourite places in Leuven. Plan that day trip in advance!
The more local, the more sustainable. Transport is one of the biggest polluters on earth. By buying locally, less polluting transport is needed to get your products to you. This way, you can easily reduce your ecological footprint.
Well on your way to a sustainable and conscious lifestyle.
With a local product, you can be sure that it has been produced fairly and in a safe environment. Would you like more information about the production? Just ask the producer, who will often be transparent about this, in contrast to the big chains.
Good for the local economy
Buying locally is also good for the local economy. The money you spend when you buy locally, ends up with companies in your area. This way, you help invest in a pleasant, honest and sustainable neighbourhood.
Multinational chains often have a huge offer of the same product, which cannot be said of local traders. They often focus on exclusivity. This is how Sofie Darche makes its designs unique by playing with types of leather and colour. So everyone gets a unique item. No mass production or standardisation. This ensures that no one walks around with the same accessory as you.
Do you prefer to invest your money in something of good quality? Let that be just what you find at local traders. Why? They often make products by hand and do not use mechanisation. The focus is therefore not on making (and earning) as much as possible in a short time. The focus is on delivering the best possible product that people can use for a long time.
Moreover, this quality is also controllable. For example, you can visit your local shopkeeper and carefully inspect each product. Furthermore, your local shopkeeper will be happy to tell you how this product was (hand)made with all accuracy.
When you buy locally, the maker of your product is nearby. He will gladly repair your favourite piece. You can go to Sofie Darche for all repairs and information about proper care for your leather goods.
Local shopping in Leuven: Sofie Darche's favourite places
Curious about some trendy hotspots you should definitely try in Leuven? I'd love to help you with your local shopping and have listed my favourite places in Leuven below. Besides being trendy, these hotspots are also completely Belgian, from the idea to the realisation. All the more reason to pop in!
You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy BITTERSWEET chocolate
And it's kind of the same. BITTERSWEET is the artisan chocolatier in the heart of Leuven. Besides selling artisanal chocolate, this Leuven hotspot has another trump card. BITTERSWEET is totally on trend and innovative. Not only the traditional flavours as sold by the average chocolatier can be found there. In addition to the regular range, they always alternate with new groundbreaking realisations. For example, the extraordinary 'SMILE' praline based on lime and Thai basil, or the unique 'ETERNAL FLAME' praline based on golden Carolus whisky and gingerbread. Scoring with a praline has never been so easy.
Address: Bondgenotenlaan 108, 3000 Leuven
Life’s too short to say no to TULIPS&CAKE
If you have a sweet tooth, the following tip is for you. At TULIPS&CAKE you will find homemade and traditional desserts that will make your mouth water. In addition to the sweet classics on the menu, Kristien, the founder of TULIPS&CAKE, has also thought about people who are nutritionally conscious. So there are also many vegan varieties in her extensive range of desserts. You can order her pastries via her website, www.tulipsandcake.com
Address: Kloosterstraat 1, 3360 Korbeek-Lo
It’s okay to be a little obsessed with ASIBYISA jewellery
ASIBYISA is a Belgian jewellery label founded by Isabelle Antoon. She designs and manufactures each jewel by hand with an eye for detail. ASIBYISA distinguishes itself from the masses by working as much as possible with sustainable materials. Sustainable materials like the exclusive ecosilver and fairtrade gold. Besides these exclusive, sustainable materials, ASIBYISA also uses unworn older jewels on demand as a starting point. This upcycling of older jewels into contemporary unique pieces fits perfectly within the ecological picture of ASIBYISA.
Address: Parijsstraat 42, 3000 Leuven
Everything gets better with NOIR COFFEE
Lover of specialty coffee? Then Noir is your place! You can enjoy a delicious cappuccino or a slow brew in a relaxed atmosphere. Prefer something a bit stronger? They have a different espresso every week, so you can keep expanding your palette of flavours.
Kris' knowledge is immense so you can be sure of the quality of your cup of coffee. At this hidden gem in Leuven you can not only drink coffee on the spot, you can also pick it up or buy a tasty quality blend for at home. They have also recently started roasting their own coffee under the Tane label.
Your friends don't like coffee? No problem! There is also tea, ice tea, cake and much more on the menu. Did you bring your lunch from home? No problem! You can eat your lunch from home together with your hot cup of coffee.
Address: Naamsestraat 49, 3000 Leuven
Belgian creativity with Atelier Elph
You can score original designs and be creative yourself in Leuven at Atelier Elph. Delphine of Atelier Elph makes fun decorations that you can regularly find at markets or fairs in the Leuven area. Delphine also organises all kinds of workshops for creative people. Workshops to make your own plant hanger, leaf press, birthday calendar, photo stand and much more. Who's in?
Ice-cream at Coupe Matadi
Some know it as 'the ice cream boat', some don't know it yet. Well, I promise it is worth your visit. Not only because the ice cream is delicious, also because they use only the best and quality ingredients. Besides the classics, Coupe Matadi also has unique flavours like 'Bolleke Boot' or 'Thai Peanut'.
Delicious ice cream in a nice setting!
Address: Kolonel Begaultlaan 7, 3012 Leuven
Fair shopping at tenue préféree
My favourite address for sustainable shopping is Tenue Préférée. Tenue Préférée wants to bring sustainable and fair fashion to busy ladies who are looking for a nice AND sustainable outfit, but don't have the time or the desire to figure it all out themselves.
Tenue Préférée is a real Green Fashion boutique where you can find women's clothes, shoes, jewellery, handbags and home accessories that are sustainable and have a high Wow-factor. For this Sandra selects brands that work as transparently as possible, for example through control and certification (Gots, Oekotex, Fairtrade, ...).
Address: Mechelsestraat 47, 3000 Leuven
On a day trip to Leuven, wine is essential and for this I prefer to choose a good natural wine. Leuven is bursting with nice things to do and choosing my favourite wine place is really mission impossible. So I give you my top three. Surlie is a small, but very cosy wine bar where you immediately feel like being in Italy. For this alone, you should definitely visit. Besides a very wide range of natural wines, you will also find delicious finger food made from quality products.
Address: Wandelingstraat 5, 3000 Leuven
A newcomer in Leuven that I immediately liked is Terroir. In addition to an extensive range of natural wines, you can also find specialty teas and super-friendly service. Your wines and tea are served by Els and Marc. They give you more information about their offerings with passion and enthusiasm. Wine tasting is possible here on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings.
Address: Mechelsestraat 140, 3000 Leuven
Behind the station is another hidden gem, Bar Blom. Nice to know, Bar Blom also serves breakfast, pastries and fermented drinks. Her opening was planned at the start of the lockdown, but this doesn't stop her from already providing you with take-away and she can't wait to open the bar when the measures allow.
Address: Holbeeksesteenweg 135, 3010 Leuven