Belgium chocolate is buttery, melt-in-the-mouth chocolate with a unique silky texture and medium sweetness or bitterness. Each locality has a different chocolate culture, depending on the cultural taste preference, the local ingredients available, or the standard set by the government.
The introduction of chocolate in Europe countries has a long history dating back to the 17th century when Spanish explorers carried cocoa beans from South America to Europe. Chocolate was first introduced in France in the 16th century.
However, Cocoa was a luxury drink among the Spanish nobility that governed Belgium at the time. It was not until the second part of the nineteenth century when Belgian King Leopold II colonized the Congo, that chocolate became available among ordinary people.
Cocoa farming began to transfer from the Americas to West Africa during the age of European imperialism, providing a perfect location for cocoa production and sufficient slave labor. The History of Belgium chocolate goes back to the 1880s when Belgium brought cocoa beans from Congo. The chocolatiers in Belgium developed specialized machines to powder and mixed the beans.
Belgian chocolates filled with buttercreams or ganache, such as truffles and molded pralines, are frequently in a creative shape. The fillings are usually whisked to make them lighter and airier.
According to chocolatiers, Belgium chocolates are in the middle of the flavor spectrum, with slight variation in flavor extremes. Belgian milk chocolate, for example, has a traditional milk flavor with less fruitiness or sourness than other milk chocolate kinds.
Belgian dark chocolate usually has an earthy, fudge-like flavor with no sourness, fruitiness, or lingering flowery notes.
1. What is the most popular chocolate in Belgium?
Each brand has created unique chocolate combinations, and there is always a constant search for new ideas. It is a pleasure to discover unusual flavors constructed with excellent artistry and craftsmanship. Incredible new products are invented inspired by a fascination with a great deal of zest, yet sidelining with traditional recipes intact.
They create different shapes and fillings with beautiful presentations and fine textures. Though Praline and truffle are the most famous Belgian chocolate choices, there is a variety of them available. Some with a heavenly combination of cream, nuts like almonds and walnuts, salted caramel, and even orange filling in chocolate-coated shell.
2. What is unique about Belgium chocolate?
Belgium chocolates are rightfully called the best chocolates in the world. They maintain a set process and high-quality raw materials like cacao beans and pure cocoa butter with ceaseless integrity.
Thus yielding high-quality chocolate consistently. As most industries shifted to mass production for a cheaper cost, Belgium chocolates have stood by their small local shops and more than 100-year-old recipes.
The amount of care put into Belgium chocolates is tremendous, and the chocolatiers have remained true to their foundations. Its rank is built on its reputation, whereby when one buys a box of Belgium chocolates, they know it is worth the buy.
Unlike across the world, where the chocolates are stored in wrappers on shelves, Belgium chocolates are freshly made and assembled in a basket, and the stock does not stay for months. Chocolates are kept at ambient temperature till their life expires in about two weeks.
The cacao beans are milled 18 microns below the tongue’s taste bud. Thus the chocolate melts, and one does not feel the grainy texture while eating it. In Belgium, the composition of chocolate is strictly regulated by law. The complete process of mixing, refining, tempering, and conching is done in Belgium to make a Belgium chocolate.
Chocolate liquor is mixed with sugar and variable proportions of cocoa butter to make industrial chocolate, depending on the type of chocolate. Since 2000, the European Union has allowed chocolate manufacturers to substitute alternative vegetable fats such as palm oil or shea butter for up to 5% of the cocoa butter in their products.
On the other hand, Belgian chocolate manufacturers take pride in utilizing 100 percent cocoa butter, which improves the chocolate’s flavor and smoothness. Milk and white chocolates both have milk powder added to them. Lecithin serves as an emulsifier, making chocolate smoother.
3. What brand of chocolate is from Belgium?
There are more than 300 chocolate shops in Belgium and a wide variety of top Belgian chocolate brands.
Neuhaus chocolates are one of the oldest chocolate brands in Belgium. They offer classic yet innovative and delicious chocolates. In the 1850s, Jean Neuhaus opened an apothecary store in Brussels, Belgium.
He started coating the drug with a thin layer of chocolate to make his medicines less bitter and intrigue the patients. In 1912, his grandson Jean Neuhaus jr filled chocolate with delicious fillings in the form of pralines instead of medicine inside.
His wife, Louise Agostini, came up with an innovative, elegant gift box for these delicacies. The classic and sleek box came to be called Ballotin box, soon caught on-trend, and became a signature chocolate tradition. A patent was taken for the Ballotin box.
Traditional pralines are still available in the Neuhaus Belgian chocolate range. Still, it has also extended to include chocolate bars, BonBons, candy, individually wrapped chocolate squares named Carres, and hot chocolate. They also make truffles out of chocolate.
Pierre Draps Sr., a chocolatier, started in 1926 as a small boutique, and now they are a worldwide manufacturer. The outlet is named after the legend of Lady Godiva. Lady Godiva is well known in the Middle Ages for riding through the streets of England naked, with only her hair covering her modesty, a brave and bold soul who succumbed to an unreasonable request to reduce the taxes.
This famous luxury Belgian chocolate business is an official chocolatier to the Royal Court of Belgium. A certified royal warrant holder since 1968, Godiva has established its role as an ambassador of high-quality Belgium chocolate in the country.
Godiva’s signature chocolate truffles feature a variety of white, dark, and milk chocolate. They are widespread in over 100 countries with over 600 boutiques.
Guylian chocolate brands were established in 1958 by Guy Foubert. They are best known for their seashell-shaped chocolate with hazelnut praline filling. The roasted hazelnuts are crushed and mixed with cocoa butter to make the roast hazelnut praline, which is piped into the chocolate shells.
Guylian comes from the first name of its founder and the middle part of his wife’s name, Liliane. Lotte Confectionery, a South Korean firm, now owns the brand.
Guylian was the Guinness world record winner of 2005 for the largest chocolate easter eggs sculpture. The sculpture was 8.32 meters tall, 6.39 meters wide, weighing 1950 kilograms.
It was made by Twenty-six Guylian chocolatiers using 50,000 Seashell Bars worth of Guylian chocolate in over eight days. Over the years, Guylian has incorporated bold flavors filled with chocolate like Raspberry, Orange, Cardamom, Pineapple with caramel, and Mocha.
4. Côte d’Or
Founded in 1883 by Charles Neuhaus, the name refers to the former name of what is now Ghana, the source of many of the world’s cocoa beans. Its emblem is an ode to the country of Ghana as well, based on a Ghanaian stamp with images of an elephant, palm tree, and pyramids. Côte d’Or offers an assortment of chocolates available in individual wrappers in Belgium supermarkets.
The signature products are toffee filled with rich dark chocolate named Chokotoff, plain milk chocolate, Milk Chocolate with Hazelnuts, Dark chocolate, and Les Bouchées. This Old World chocolatier is recognized for crafting delicious and decadent chocolate that has stood the test of time.
The establishment has been sold and purchased many times. At present, it is owned by American multinational confectionary Mondelez International.
Mary Delluc launched her first chocolate shop in 1919 in the streets of Brussels. Mary made a name for herself in an industry dominated by males by relying on her unique recipes and exceptional chocolate.
Mary Chocolaterie was awarded the Belgian Royal Warrant in 1942, and she is one of only four Belgian chocolatiers to receive this honor. Mary chocolates are now one of the most well-known Belgian chocolate brands worldwide.
4. Is Swiss or Belgium chocolate better?
Swiss chocolates are the next to the most famous chocolates, and the techniques involved are more or less the same. But Swiss chocolates are more creamy and smoother than Belgium chocolates, as they are typically made from milk; the highlight is Swiss milk, and Belgium chocolates have a higher cocoa content.
Belgian dark chocolate of the highest quality is relatively healthy. Swiss chocolates are mostly chocolate bars, whereas Belgium chocolates are a sophistication of pralines and truffles.
As to which is better, it is a personal preference. Both chocolates are enjoyable, globally accepted, and famous worldwide.
Though chocolate has widespread in Europe, Belgium has managed to outshine the chocolate industry with pure integrity and consistency. An extra effort has taken the chocolates to a different level of passion.
The city of Brussels also had an important role in globalizing chocolate, and Brussels was an international hub with the European Union and NATO headquarters. The international travelers found Belgium chocolate a perfect gift for their friends and family back home.