In 1829, Jean-Baptiste Dandoy, a young baker craftsman whose brother was the mayor of Uccle, set up the biscuit firm which still carries his name today.
Originally settled in rue Marche-aux-Herbes in the heart of the old Brussels, it moved in 1858 to a nearby 17th century house, in the well named rue au Beurre (Butter street) connecting directly to the Grand Place and the Bourse (stockmarket). Jean-Baptiste was then working with his son Philippe, who succeeded him at the head of Maison Dandoy.
Settled at number 31 in the house De Peerle (The Pearl), Biscuiterie Dandoy was in 1900 one of the busiest shops of rue au Beurre, just halfway from the Grand Place to the Bourse.
The shop's reputation was already quite old, as witnessed by Charles Baudelaire who was notably known to be fond of gingerbreads and paid regular visits to Dandoy when he was staying in Brussels in the years 1860.
As the oldest and most famous biscuit shop in Brussels, Maison Dandoy was also renowned for its rusks. Their success around the Brussels area has eventually helped the biscuit firm survive the economical and financial crisis of the 1930's as well as go through the Second World War, during which Dandoy was only allowed to use flour for producing its rusks.
During the Second World War, the lack of raw materials and the food rationing imposed by the war made it impossible for Biscuiterie Dandoy to produce most of its pastry and biscuit specialties. Many businesses in the field were consequently forced to close.
Valère Rombouts-Dandoy was then running the biscuit firm, together with his wife Fernande. Temporarily having to stop baking the biscuits which had made the shop famous, he still managed to get the authorisation to carry on producing rusks, one of the rare bakery products, along with bread, that could be claimed with food rationing tickets. This decision made it possible for Biscuiterie Dandoy to survive, and its rusks' reputation hasn't faded since.
After the war, Valère and Fernande have chosen to wait for high quality raw materials to reappear on the market before starting again to produce Dandoy’s main biscuit recipes.
It is in the fifties, and especially from the sixties that Biscuiterie Dandoy went for a real rise, impulsed by Valère and Fernande Rombouts-Dandoy and by their son Jean, the only fifth generation member of the biscuit firm founders.
The products range has been widely developed by Jean, while contining the traditional specialties of the house like Speculoos or pain à la grecque. With the help of his wife Christiane, he put special emphasis on biscuits presentation and marketing, introducing a new design and modern packaging. Very soon, the house in rue au Beurre became too small for housing the shop and the workshop, as well as the rapidly expanding staff in a single building.
A new workshop, bigger and more modern, was built a few hundreds yards from there, not far from the Port of Brussels, where it is still standing today. Thanks to recent extension and modernisation works, this workshop responds to the strictest quality and hygiene standards, without changing the traditional nature of the production.
With its shop window still illuminating rue au Beurre, Dandoy made in 1984 an important step by opening a second shop in rue Charles Buls, on the other side of the Grand Place of Brussels. Strategically located on the way to the Manneken Pis Statue, famous Brussels curiosity. This new shop attracts numerous tourists visiting the Belgian capital, thus contributing to export Maison Dandoy’s reputation around the globe.
An innovation was introduced just a few years later: the shop was extended and a tea room was added on the 1st floor. Most of all, some new house specialties were presented, which took little time to please even the most discriminating gourmets. Indeed, on top of the traditional ice-creams' wide range of flavours (Speculoos, fresh pistachio, sweet almonds, etc.), Dandoy notably reintroduced the Brussels and Liège waffles, a product which had almost completely disappeared from the capital…
All those products were developed internally, thanks to the great ability of the master pastry cooks.
Some hundred seventy-five years and six generations after its inception, the same Dandoy family (represented by Christine Dandoy, the daughter of Jean and Christiane, and by Bernard Helson, their son-in-law) is still running the biscuit firm without ever having yielded to the temptation of turning to a large-scale industrial production.
With a much wider variety of specialties, its oldest and most famous biscuits are still prepared following the same original recipes once invented by the founders of Maison Dandoy. The store tally will eventually increase to a total of 7 stores with the latest one in 2010 in Waterloo.
2012 is a year during which two major changes take place for Maison Dandoy.
First, after two years of analysis and preparation work, Maison Dandoy will present a completely renovated and contemporary logo and graphic chart to the public. Secondly, for the first time since its inception in 1829 Maison Dandoy will open a store outside Brussels.
On August 22nd together with their partner company C'Select Dandoy opend its first 'concept store' in Tokyo Station's Newly Rebuilt Daimaru Department Store.