Belgium is internationally famous for the chocolates it produces. Belgium produces 270000 metric tons of Chocolates each year & has around 2000 chocolate shops. This Chocolate obsession is fuelled by 150 year old tradition of making the world’s finest chocolate which is smooth, full of flavour & melts in your mouth.
The history of Belgium chocolates goes back to 1635 when the country was under the Spanish rule. Chocolate had just been brought to Europe from South America. Spanish Upper class enjoyed having cocoa as a luxury drink especially in the form of hot chocolate. But it did not become popular with the general public till almost 20th Century. In 1857, Jean Neuhaus opened a Shop in Brussels – the capital if Belgium where he started selling bars of Bitter Chocolate. Slowly the bars became so popular he started making the bars himself. In 1912, his grandson Jean II invented the famous Praline – Hard Chocolate with Soft cream or nut fillings.
Varieties of Chocolate
Belgium is famous for the Pralines it has given the world. Pralines are also known as “Soft Center” Belgian Chocolates. There have been many variations of the Original praline, though always all of them have a top chocolate shell with a Soft filling in the center. The Top chocolate shell can be White, milk or dark chocolate with a variety of filings like Salted Caramel, Nuts, Marzipan, Liquor filled or fruity fillings like raspberry, cherry. They usually come packed in stylish box.
Truffles are Chocolate Ganache Center coated with either Chocolate, Iced Sugar, fresh Cocoa Powder or evenly Chopped Nuts & come usually in a ball Shape. Belgian Truffles are famous for its crusted form containing Wafers & coated with Cocoa Powder. They contain a Soft Ganache center which is in semi liquid state & are distinguished from the Pralines by its shape & texture.
Today Belgium is synonymous for the chocolate it produces. Cote d’Or is the largest Commercial brand in Belgium supplying chocolates to almost all grocery stores in & around Belgium. The most famous international brand for Belgian chocolates are Neahuas, Guylian & Godiva. So next time you visit Belgium don’t forget to enjoy the finest Chocolate in the world!