Belgian chocolate is known as one of the world’s greatest. This specialty has gained notoriety over the years thanks to the quality of products but also to the expertise and creativity of the country’s best chocolate confectioners. Belgium produces 172,000 tons of chocolate per year, most of it being exported. Delices and Gourmandises invites you to discover this gastronomic specialty.
Before the creation of the very first chocolate bar in 1840, many events occurred. Indeed, Belgian chocolate has a long history: while the Netherlands were still under the Spanish’s control, cocoa was already sold at Antwerp’s port. In 1635, monks from the Baudeloo Abbey in Ghent used to offer cocoa as a gift. At that time, only aristocrats and the royal family had the privilege to enjoy this luxury drink.
By the late 18th century, cocoa, which was then tasted throughout the kingdom, was also used to cook desserts. The first Belgian chocolate factory opened in 1857 when Jean Neuhaus decided to coat his medicines with a layer of chocolate to mask the bitter taste. Other chocolate factories quickly began producing chocolate: Adolphe Meurisse in 1831 in Antwerp, Antoine Jacques on the same year and Berwaerts in 1840.
Belgian chocolate became famous in the late 19th century thanks to the quality of cocoa produced in Congolese colonies, which beans have a more pronounced flavor compared to those that grew in South America. Cocoa beans are carefully selected to get refined end products. Moreover, the Belgian chocolate holds its quality from roasting and grinding techniques that allow preparing a very fine paste. Belgian chocolate owe their fame to the know-how of the confectioners, but also to a higher cocoa rate (43% against 35% in other countries).
Delices and Gourmandises gives you an overview of some of the specialties that have contributed to the reputation of Belgian chocolates. The praline is without doubt the most appreciated: created by Jean Neuhaus in 1912, this filled delicacy is prepared with caramelized sugar coated with dark, milk or white chocolate. The “mendicant” is also very popular: it consists of chocolate, almonds, hazelnuts and orange slices. The Charleroi Gayette has also inspired many chocolate confectioners: it is made of pure butter truffles rolled in fudge chocolate, then in sugar. If your mouth is already watering, the selection of delicious Belgian chocolates presented in Delices and Gourmandises’ catalog are definitely worth the try.